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Mailbag: In Game Decisions? Player Management?


I understand a win is a win, but I feel these questionable coaching decisions are going to bite us eventually. Did you take issue with some of the calls on Sunday, like declining the facemask penalty in the second quarter or throwing a deep ball on 3rd-and-3 in the fourth quarter? Or am I just nitpicking? – PAT BASILIO / MILILANI, HI

David: If you waited until you lost to critique your performance, you'd be in deep trouble. So I agree with your point. There were some questionable moments, but I didn't have as much issue with anything that happened Sunday as some of the decisions in the first three games. I don't have an issue with declining the facemask penalty, because a quality defense should be able to get off the field on a 3rd-and-12. I love the job Kellen Moore has done so far this year, but I really didn't like that deep throw call. Even if you don't want to throw the ball there, a higher percentage throw keeps the chains moving and lets you bleed 2-3 more minutes off the clock. That wasn't the place to go for fireworks, in my opinion.

Rob: I think we're mostly nitpicking here. Kellen Moore has been fantastic calling plays. He realizes the level of talent he's working with, and he's been patient and balanced, getting everyone involved based on the matchup. It's not always complex because it doesn't have to be when you're this good personnel-wise. I'm with you on continuing to feed Zeke and drain clock late in the game. But I didn't have a problem with the declined penalty. Last year, I would've said back them up to second-and-super-long, but clearly they feel better about the 2021 defense getting off the field on third down. (They are better, by the way. Carolina was 0-for-7 on third down in the second half.)

Ok, the Cowboys win a good game against a very talented Carolina Panther team. But it almost wasn't a victory. Even the announcers were asking where Trevon Diggs was. What was going on with that? – MILAM ALBRIGHT / TEXARKANA, TX

David: There's no other way to say it, that was kinda weird. You never want to make assumptions about injuries, because it's impossible to tell from the outside how severe the situation is. But Mike McCarthy said himself after the game that Diggs could have returned if needed. It all worked out in the end, but I wonder if they'd play that a different way if they could do it over again. They got out with the win and Diggs is fine heading into Week 5, so all's well that ends well.

Rob: I was definitely puzzled at the time, too, and yes, the game got a lot closer than expected in the final minutes. But it turned out that Diggs was dealing with a tight back since the first half. According to Mike McCarthy, it wasn't as much rest as injury management. So from that perspective, it's hard to argue with their decision to hold Diggs out of the fourth quarter.

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