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Mailbag: Jaylon Smith's Coverage Ability? Biggest Disappointment So Far?

FRED LONDONMORRISTOWN, TN
Why is Jaylon Smith considered a liability in coverage?  It certainly can't be due to lack of speed or overall athleticism. He appears to have recovered well from his devastating injury and has no problem in changing directions.  Is it primarily due to his current lack of experience and his recognition of pass plays still being a bit slow?

Bryan: I wouldn't say he's fully recovered, because the medical staff will tell you that things should be better with time. It is clear that he doesn't have the burst at times or the lateral agility. His inexperience in some cases has hurt him as has his overaggressive style in which he plays. Having Hitchens back this week will help him not to have to play so many plays. 

David:I can't say enough about how amazing it is that Jaylon has made the type of progress he has, and I think he's in a really good spot considering where he's coming from. That said, it's obvious from watching him that he's not 100 percent back to his pre-injury form. You can see it clearly on plays where he has to cover more than five or six yards at a time, and his speed and agility betray him. None of this is to say he won't be better in time. This is a long process, and he's still in the middle of it. But it should help him tremendously to have Anthony Hitchens back to help carry the load.

AARON CULLENPLATTEVILLE, WI
What's the biggest disappointment so far this year in your opinion?  For me it's the wide receiver group. I thought they would be better, especially with the teams stacking the line to stop Zeke. I know they've played some good secondaries, but they are not getting enough separation or making big plays.  Cole Beasley has been a ghost in the offense.

Bryan: Teams have been committed to stopping Beasley just as much as stopping Elliott especially on third down. The real disappointment is the number of big plays this defense has given up if you want the truth. Didn't happen in 2016. 

David:Just in general, I think I'd have to agree with you that the passing game as a whole just hasn't lived up to expectations. It hasn't been awful. There have been moments, and I certainly don't think Dak Prescott is playing poorly. But defenses seem to have done a good job of keeping them from what they want to do. Cole Beasley has been double-covered, and Dak has been unable to consistently connect with Dez Bryant. You've seen Jason Witten flit in and out of games for various reasons. It hasn't been terrible, so there's reason for optimism that it will get better. But we've yet to see the passing game fire on all cylinders, and I think it's hindered the running game as a result.

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