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Mailbag: How To Replace Mo & Church? Jamie Collins' Impact In Cleveland?

With Mo and Barry Church going down, how does this affect the type of coverage and defense we have been playing up until now?  I feel like this is a much bigger blow than many fans may realize.

David:It's so crazy to think back to the offseason and reflect on this secondary. How many fans would have considered losing Mo and Church as big blows to the defense? Better yet, who would feel optimistic that the Cowboys have the depth to handle the losses? But that's where we are. Anthony Brown has proven himself more than capable, so I think he can help Orlando Scandrick offset the loss of Claiborne on the outside. J.J. Wilcox is enjoying the best season of his career and can hopefully thrive more in the box than in coverage. I do think you'll see some drop off, because Mo and Church have been outstanding this season. But I think this secondary has the bodies to handle it.

Rob: Losing Church and Claiborne for a while hurts, no question. Church has been effective down in the box this year. Claiborne has been their best corner, and at times, arguably their best defender, period. The good news is Orlando Scandrick came out of the game OK health-wise, Jason Garrett said, and he has the versatility to move outside and play the slot in nickel situations if needed. With Church out, J.J. Wilcox will start alongside Byron Jones, but unlike past years when he was the starting free safety, he can play closer to line of scrimmage where I think he'll be more comfortable. Jones has really solidified things back there with his ability to play centerfield. The main issue is depth, though, particularly at corner.

Does Cleveland trading for Jamie Collins affect our game plan against them?  Obviously, they have not won a game yet, but that does also make me nervous that we would overlook them.

David:I made the point on Monday that Collins is now probably the Browns' best player heading into this matchup. Fortunately for the Cowboys, I doubt he'll be able to play a ton just six days removed from being traded. My guess is that they'll provide him with a basic package of plays to work with – but he will certainly be a guy this offensive line will have to account for.

Rob: You can't overlook any team in this league, and the Collins trade shows the Browns are serious about improving despite the 0-8 start. It remains to be seen how many snaps he might get Sunday in his first game on their defense, but Collins can rush the passer and Cleveland is tied with the Cowboys for 21st with 14 sacks. They're also near the bottom of the league in scoring defense, allowing close to 30 per game. He could be an impact player for them at outside linebacker.

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