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Mailbag: Is O-Line Or D-Line More Critical For Success?


Is the offensive line or the defensive line more important to the team's success this season?

Nick: I don't really know if there's a good way to answer that specific question. They're both important. If you can't block anyone, you can't score. If you can't stop anyone, it doesn't matter either. I think because of the current makeup of the squad, the way I'll answer it is which side needs to improve the most. In that case, it'd be the O-line. They're not proven and have question marks across the board. On defense, you know Ware and Spencer are going to be good. I don't have much doubt Hatcher and Ratliff will be better than solid up front, too. So for me, how the Cowboys get past 8-8 will depend more on the offensive line's progress.

Rowan: I'll go with the offensive line. I'm more confident right now in the combination of options on the defensive line than I am on the opposite side. Finishing 31st in the league in rushing isn't acceptable for a team with playoff aspirations, and everything seemed to be looking better until further injuries hit the line during the preseason. I think that's the biggest question mark entering the year, and it's also one of the most important factors that will determine how the season goes.

Do you think if Murray can stay healthy he can get close or over 1,000 yards rushing this year?

Nick: Yes, if Murray is healthy, he should be well over 1,000 yards. He started only seven games in 2011 and rushed for 897 yards. Last year, he started just 10 and went for 663. So if he gets a full 16 games in as the featured back, anything under a 1,200-yard season should be disappointing.

Rowan: No question he's capable of that. I'd be surprised if he didn't if he played in all 16 games as he thinks he will. Even with a suspect offensive line, 1,000 yards is certainly within reach for Murray.

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