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Mailbag: Impact Of Suspensions On Pass Rush? Franchise Tag Deadline?

MARCUS JONESMEMPHIS, TN
Over the past two years, the team has averaged less than two sacks per game. Also, last year Randy Gregory had zero sacks. With a healthy Tyrone Crawford and upgrades at DT and our DE help, do you think the suspensions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Gregory will be as detrimental to the sack numbers as everyone suggests?

Bryan:Where Rod Marinelli is going to have to get creative is with his blitz packages – especially with the linebackers and Orlando Scandrick. I look for similar game plans like we saw in Washington where you had Sean Lee attacking the pocket. It was a plan they used early in the year against New England as well with some success. On straight four man rushes – keep an eye on Benson Mayowa. I believe this is an area that he is going to be able to generate some pressure from.  

David:You raise a good point – which is that, even with Lawrence and Gregory in the lineup, I don't think this pass rush is very good. Obviously, the hope is that both players continue to grow and excel and develop into the elite talents they were billed to be. But realistically, I'm not sure the dropoff will be substantial, because I'm not sure the pass rush is that good regardless. There's a reason why I think it's the biggest problem facing the Cowboys in 2016.

AARON THURMONDLOS ANGELES, CA
With today being franchise tag deadline day, is there any chance the Cowboys pursue some of these players that aren't expected to reach long-term deals – such as Eric Berry or Muhammad Wilkerson?

Bryan:As much as I would love to see either of those players in a Dallas uniform – I don't see it happening. I believe we would have heard about that type of plan well before now.

David:This feels like a good opportunity to point out that acquiring a franchise tagged player is a highly difficult thing to do – regardless of whether he is signed or unsigned at the deadline. Given that these guys – Berry, Wilkerson, Von Miller, etc. – have been tagged, the going rate is already two first-round draft picks. And even if Dallas was willing to pay that price, I really don't see the incentive for another club to make that deal. NFL teams can use the franchise tag on the same player for up to two consecutive years, so these guys could theoretically sit out all of 2016 and wind up in the same exact scenario. The teams hold the vast majority of the power in this scenario. I just don't see any reason why it'd be likely for them to give that up in a trade.

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