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Mailbag: Jaylon Smith's Optimism? Expectations For The Secondary?

SPENSER CRUZCOLUMBIA, MD
Alright guys, I know you guys are close to the team and not everything gets from your ears to ours all the time. Still, in listening to Jaylon Smith yesterday, either he's the most enthusiastic guy I ever seen or he's a kid who has a secret he can't wait to tell you. Gut feeling, is he gonna be ready for camp and do you think he's recovered enough already to where he's really going to be a major contributor with a starter's number of snaps?

David:It sounds like you just got your first real introduction to Jaylon Smith. He's the most positive person I've ever met, and he has been that way going back to last spring. If his attitude was the barometer for his level of participation, I'd project him to make 150 tackles this year. Unfortunately, I think there's a bit more to it than that. The Cowboys expect him to be ready for training camp, but beyond that it's not something I think anybody can project.

Rob: The Cowboys have said publicly they expect Smith will be ready for training camp. He says he's participating in everything right now when he is on the field. As far as being a major contributor, I just don't think we can start to project that until the pads come on in camp and we see him in an actual game setting where he has to make cuts and adjustments on the fly from the linebacker spot. I also don't want to minimize what Anthony Hitchens did last year at middle linebacker. He was pretty effective.

BRENT BILESAMARILLO, TX
Much has been made of the loss of three starters in the defensive backfield.  Given that our pass defense was ineffective the past few years, is it possible, with the incoming group, that our pass defense actually improves?

David:This isn't a knock on the guys that left, but I honestly don't expect it to be a lot worse. Yes, there's a lot of inexperience in the secondary, but you've still got veteran starters like Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll and Byron Jones. Combine them with four highly-touted draft picks, and you've got something to work with. I think this unit is going to have its share of ups and downs, but like I said – I don't think it'll be significantly worse than last year's group.

Rob: The secondary hasn't forced many turnovers in recent years, but they did limit a lot of big plays last season -- and to me, that's a concern you have with a young secondary that hasn't seen much in the NFL. I do think there's potential here and a lot of versatility, and from everything we've been told about the rookie class, it's a really smart group that can pick things up quickly.

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