EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FL
I know a couple weeks ago the Cowboys signed Sam to the practice squad, how is his production going and do you think we will see him on the field here soon?
David: There's a limitation on how much Sam can actually show in practice, since he's a practice squad player and his primary job is helping the active players get ready for Sunday. Rod Marinelli said as much on Thursday when he was asked how Sam is coming along in his defensive scheme. That said, he's going to have chances to show what he can do in both individual drills and some scout team work. I won't be stunned if he is eventually elevated to the active roster, but I think it's going to take an injury. The Cowboys seem happy with the rotation they have available to them right now.
Bryan: As a member of the scout team there is really only so much that you can do to impress the coaches. Running cards of the other team is totally different from what they could have seen in practice games and practices. Where Sam can catch an eye is how he is battling these offensive tackles and how much success he is having against them. Sam also will get work in the one-on-one drills where he can show Marinelli and these defensive coaches whether the technique work he is getting is actually paying off.
I know that the Niners had a very early lead and were most likely playing conservatively, and the Cowboys defense was far from stellar but they did get some good stops. That said, if the defense can raise their level of play a little and build cohesion as a unit throughout the season (assuming the offense bounces back too) could they prove the experts wrong and make the playoffs? The NFC East seems pretty weak after all.
David:You just outlined the best-case scenario for the Cowboys this season. Build enough chemistry and cohesion on defense that you can get stops when you absolutely have to, improve the performance on the [embedded_ad] offensive side of the ball and fight your way to nine or so wins – which could be enough, given that this looks like the worst division in football after Week 1. I'm going to need to see more before I believe it. This defense needs to find some playmaker who can force turnovers, because I'm not sure they're talented enough to get to that point on stops alone.
Bryan: The defense played well especially in the front seven. If Rolando McClain and Bruce Carter can continue to be physical at linebacker that will help this defense greatly. I also liked what I saw from Jeremy Mincey playing at that right defensive end, but this group sure could use a Anthony Spencer or DeMarcus Lawrence off the edge here soon. I agree that this division is clearly up for grabs, but if your quarterback is going to make mental mistakes on a weekly basis then all these things that I just said will not matter one bit.