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Mailbag: Improving Pass Protection? Weak Spot On The Roster?

JENNIFER ROMAGEREDLANDS, CA

After giving up 40 sacks in 18 games last year, 10 of those coming in the two playoff games, why does everyone keep saying this is a "great" OL?  Clearly pass protection needs to improve, yes?

David:That's a fantastic point. The praise this offensive line gets is largely for its ability in run blocking, which you have to admit is fantastic – the Cowboys bullied their way against several of the best rushing defenses in the league last year. The pass protection needs to improve, but when you consider the fact that four of the five current starters are 26 or younger, there's every reason to expect improvement.

Bryan: I agree with your point that the protection needs to improve. I will also say too that there were some sacks where Romo chose not to force the ball and just went to the ground. Sacks are also on the receivers for their routes and winning on the outside and the tight ends working inside. Sacks are more than just the offensive line when you really break down the play - that is a point that Jason Garrett makes all the time to us. 

DAN RITCHAEO, AE

For the first time in many seasons I feel like the Cowboys have enough depth to go into the season where, if they had an injury, they would be able to plug in a viable backup. The only exceptions, I feel, are QB and WR1. Is this an accurate assessment?

David: I think that's probably fair. There's obviously a significant drop off between Tony Romo and Brandon Weeden, and I don't like the looks of this receiver corps without Dez Bryant. The linebacker corps has enough depth to absorb one injury, for sure – but I worry about the potential for multiple injuries, as both Sean Lee and Rolando McClain have histories with that. The depth at safety is also concerning, given that J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church are really the only reliable starters. Byron Jones may help with that, though.

Bryan:My number one concern which I voiced on Monday was backup quarterback. I am not going into this season with the same confidence that I had last season in Weeden. I honestly thought that with different players around him that he would preform better and that just wasn't the case at all. You even have to throw in all the extra work that he received at practice and that wasn't much of a help either. On other side, I do like Terrance Williams and I would consider him in his 3rd season to be more than what you are willing to give him credit for. 

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