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Mailbag: Key Players Down The Stretch?

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I heard you guys talking on the podcast about the “four games in 19 days stretch” that’s coming up, starting with the Giants. Obviously the focus and intensity will have to be there every week. Who’s a player who has seemingly gotten better throughout the season and you expect to give the team a lift down the stretch here? – CARL C / FORT WORTH, TX

Bryan: I have been a big fan of Joe Thomas when he’s had the opportunity to play. This linebacker group has had its share of injuries and Thomas has stepped in well. Have a feeling he’s going to make a play or two in one of these games to make a difference. 

Rob: Maliek Collins. The Eagles game was his best of the season, along with the entire defense. Collins was arguably the most consistent player in training camp and really showed that penetrating rush against Philly. The addition of Michael Bennett will help Collins and the overall defensive line rotation, whether Bennett’s lining up at end or tackle.

I'm sure I'm not alone in my thinking, but to me Kerry Hyder has been the most underrated part of the D-Line rotation. It seems like every snap that he plays he is living in the opponent’s backfield. How long do they have him signed for and do you think he is a part of the future going forward? - MATT WHITE / ELGIN, OK

Bryan: Great get by the pro department. Had an eye for how he’d fit in the rotation and he’s lived up to the billing. He’s on a one-year deal. I hope they could keep him around after that. 

Rob: Hyder is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. You’re right, he’s done a nice job supplementing some of Tyrone Crawford’s versatility at multiple defensive line spots. It’ll be interesting to see what his role and snap count looks like with Bennett in the group now.

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