SAN DIEGO, CA
With Jason Hatcher needing surgery, does this show that management made the right choice moving on from older players?
David: I'm not going to write the guy off because he had a small, offseason procedure – especially since the expectation is he won't miss any time. But in general, I do think it underlines the point: youth is less expensive, and it's less likely to get hurt. That said, Hatcher's replacement on the defensive line, Henry Melton, hasn't practiced a down this year.
Rowan: It's way too early to make those judgments, but the more time missed by veterans who went elsewhere, the more letting go of them or not renewing contracts makes sense. The Cowboys chose not to pay age this offseason, and at this point, until those players miss games or have down years, it's a little too early to determine which choices were best.
With the majority of the coaching staff in a "make or break" season, do you see more proven and safe veteran players being kept over younger players with more potential? I believe Brian Billick once said, "Son, your potential is going to get me fired!"
David:This coaching staff speaks in clichés, so forgive me for adding to the pile, but I honestly think the best players will play – regardless of experience or potential. My reasoning is simple: on the defense, at least, there isn't much of a pecking order anyway. Everyone is either young, new to the team or new to the scheme. There's no incentive to start incumbents because there aren't that many. I [embedded_ad] think there's going to be an interesting mix of youth and inexperience with some veteran savvy when it all shakes out.
Rowan: It's an interesting question, but I don't think the "make or break" season will stop the coaches from taking the players who can help them most. A lot of the younger players with potential are guys who won't be starters to begin the year, so they can be groomed and if they make the jump during the season could provide a spark midway through the year. The coaches would rather young guys with potential than veterans who start and can't play, so I don't think they'd steer completely clear of young players who haven't totally proven themselves, particularly if they can really help on special teams.