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Mailbag: More Jabril Cox? Concerns With Carolina?


With Keanu Neal possibly out another week and Micah Parsons likely to stick it out at DE for a bit longer, can we expect to see Dan Quinn start to mix in Jabril Cox more? All signs in pre-season pointed to him as a major contributor (and possible upgrade) over last year's starters. — JOSH BACKMAN / TARRYTOWN, NY

Rob: I get what you're saying, because the defense has given up some big plays and coverage is probably Jabril Cox's best skill at the linebacker position. He did get four snaps against the Eagles, but I don't expect his role to expand this early. Overall, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have done well with more snaps. The Cowboys also have been using their big nickel package featuring three safeties, and Jayron Kearse has been effective playing in a lot of different spots. And at some point (I think) we'll probably see Micah Parsons play more off the ball than he has the past two weeks. Dan Quinn said the plan right now isn't to keep him at defensive end permanently.

David: I'd have to see it to believe it. Jabril Cox had a wonderful preseason, but I'm not exactly sure what we saw that pointed toward him being a major contributor? This is a deep linebacker depth chart, and Cox wasn't playing in most situations until all those veterans had exited for the night. It was nice to see him get some snaps on Monday night, once the game had been decided. But Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are playing fairly well right now, all things considered. I think Dan Quinn will continue to roll with the vets as long as everyone's healthy.

With Dak's return to AT&T Stadium, and all the emotion from the Philly game, do you think we need to be wary about the Carolina game being a trap game? They are 3-0 and you would think we wouldn't let our guard down, but I feel like we could come back to Earth emotionally this week and lay an egg. Hope not! — DAVE SCHRAMM / CRYSTAL LAKE, IL

Rob: How would this qualify as a trap game? Carolina's 3-0. The Cowboys are not, even though they took the Bucs to the brink in Week 1. Say what you want about the quality of the Panthers' wins, but they've got a really good defense, talent on offense (even with Christian McCaffrey hurt) and they play really hard. Mike McCarthy said he would speak to the team about the importance of handling success. After the season they had last year, with all the challenges they faced, I don't expect them to let their guard down against another good team.

David: As a general rule, I despise the idea of trap games in the NFL. Even the worst teams in the league have at least a few great players, which is what makes every week challenging. On top of that, the Panthers shouldn't be flying under the radar. They're one of just five undefeated teams left in the league, as you mentioned. If they have trouble getting up for a game like this, it'd be a pretty big failure on everyone's part – coaches and players.

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