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Mailbag: Keys To Stopping The Run?

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What are you guys seeing from the Cowboys' run defense after one game that needs adjustments against the Redskins? Was there something specific that led to problems against the Giants? I still think all the pieces are there to be stout against the run like they were most of the year last year. - MATTHEW K / PLANO, TEXAS

Bryan: When they got bodies to the ball they didn’t tackle well enough. Saquon Barkley can make you look bad, but there were several times where they just didn’t wrap up. Also have to do a better job of getting off blocks. The Giants did a good job of getting a hat on a hat, which allowed Barkley the space he needed to work. Washington can do the same thing with their line. 

Rob: There was also some miscommunication before the snap, like on Barkley’s big run. I know they had problems against the run late last season, but I still think this will get tightened up. They were too productive for most of last year. Barkley was a tough draw after limited tackling chances in preseason, and you’ve got a few key players working their way back to normal play counts.

Last season, Dak got hit a lot in the pocket and frequently held the ball too long which led to several sack/fumbles. It was only one game, but the plan seems to be he gets the ball out quicker and the O-Line is more consistent. Do you think this will serve him and the receivers well this season? - DOUG MCBROOM / RED SPRINGS, NC

Bryan: Pocket awareness was a problem for Prescott last season. I think he held the ball because his receivers weren’t as good separating, but that has appeared to have changed for him. He’s also done a better job anticipating throws, which he also didn’t do last year. Throwing before the receiver is out of his break is tough to defend. 

Rob: Zack Martin made a point to give Prescott credit for their solid pass protection in the Giants game. On a lot of plays the ball was out so quickly that they didn’t have to hold their blocks long. There are some tough matchups ahead for the offense, including this Sunday, but I do think it’s the sign of receivers getting separation and a young quarterback seeing the field better.

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