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Mailbag: Navigating A Tough Schedule?


What are your thoughts about the schedule being part of the current losing streak by the Cowboys? Three games in 11 days, two of which were on the road and one being late afternoon in horrible conditions would seem to take the energy out of a team. The initial burst on the first drives then seem to lose their energy. Am I off base with this? - DAKOTA HURST / RAPID CITY, SD

Rob: Head coach Jason Garrett was asked that question last week on The Fan and he didn't use it as an excuse. They've been playing this Thursday-Thursday stretch after Thanksgiving for a few years now. Now, can you argue the Cowboys may have looked fatigued in the second half against Buffalo after playing in that mess four days earlier? Maybe. But the bottom line is they've played three straight good-to-very-good teams and haven't played well enough to win. Period.

Lindsay: No doubt it's a tough schedule. But it's been this way for the Cowboys for years and years. The short turnaround on Thanksgiving against the Bills? Buffalo had the same short week after playing Sunday, and had to travel to Dallas.

With Leighton being out the last few games, are the missed tackles a by-product of missing him and noticing more, or with practice restrictions from the CBA, do the Cowboys just not practice tackling? With all the talk about getting better the tackling seems to have gotten much worse. - STUART BEAUCHAMP / SPRINGFIELD, IL

Rob: It's really the same answer from above. This issue isn't specific to the Cowboys. No teams in the league are tackling to the ground in practice. It makes it harder to sharpen your technique, but it's been this way for years now. I do think a healthy Vander Esch, particularly in pass coverage, would definitely help them right now. But he's still week to week with the neck injury at this point.

Lindsay: They don't 'practice tackling' but I do think missing both Leighton Vander Esch and Jeff Heath out there quarterbacking the defense probably contributes to something. I've said it before and I'll say it again – this defense is a more simple one, based on simply sticking to your assignment, and guys have strayed from doing that.

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