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Mailbag: More Slants To Dez? Impressed With The Defensive Tackles?

TIM SHUMATEFULLERTON, CA
Why doesn't Dallas run the slant with Dez? That was a route Irvin ran to perfection. Dez is big and strong, but it seems that all his routes are down the sideline.

Bryan: I tend to ask myself the same question when I studied the film Monday morning. I have always believed that Bryant's best routes are those ones that take him inside to the ball. His big body makes it difficult to run through him, plus he is outstanding at making the contested catch with strong hands. I'd like to see more of what you've asked for like we saw in the Washington game, but it hasn't been the case.

David: No argument here. How frustrating was it watching Philadelphia run those types of routes down after down? The only reason I can think of why the coaches wouldn't call more of those types of plays is that they don't want Dak Prescott throwing the ball into traffic too many times per game. I don't think I agree with that logic, though, since we've seen him do it successfully against teams like Washington and Chicago.

ANDREW GORMANPHOENIX, AZ

Do you agree that It seems that the interior part of defensive line has improved greatly with the additions of Maliek Collins, Terrell McClain (who was injured last year), Cedric Thornton, along with the development of David Irving and the inside/outside flexibility of Tyrone Crawford provides? Given this, do you think Terrell McClain should be a priority to re-sign at the end of his contract this year?

Bryan: I have gone on record coming out of Oxnard that the strength of the defense has been these tackles. I would strongly agree with you about trying to extend McClain, but he's like Morris Claiborne to me. I want to see him play all 16 games before I make a significant contract offer. But what I've seen I have seen so far I am encouraged.

David:I could go on and on about how surprisingly solid this defense has been, and I think the defensive tackles have probably been the most impressive position outside of the secondary. That said, I'm just not sure I'm rushing to re-sign any of these guys ahead of time. It's been a great start, but Sean Lee is just about the only guy on this defense with a proven track record. I think the Cowboys are content to see how these guys finish out their contract years. If that means you have to pay them a little more in the spring – or let them walk – that's just the cost of doing business.

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