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Mailbag: Need For Fullback? Let's Keep Everyone?


Throughout the years it seems that the Cowboys' running game performed at a more consistent level when they used a fullback. With the possibility of losing Dalton Schultz in free agency, do you think this would be a good option if there is a capable player to be found in the draft? – MIKE LUCAS / ROCHESTER, NY

Nick: I can't disagree with you there. I do think the fullback gives teams a better option to run the ball, but the argument – at least in recent years – is that it hurts the flexibility of the offense when you've got a fullback on the field instead of a tight end. I think I'd keep looking for a fullback that can not only lead block, but can help you out of the backfield as well. It might be more of an H-back type player, but I do believe it helps the offense and the running game when there is a lead fullback in front of the runner. I don't care much about giving away the game plan. Back in the 90s when it was third-and-1, everyone in the stadium knew Moose Johnston was going to block for Emmitt Smith and it was rarely stopped. So I think I'd focus more on being effective than trying to fool defenses all the time.

Rob: Not sure about using a draft pick on fullback, but Mike McCarthy does value the position as part of the offense's identity. That's why Sewo Olonilua probably would have made the team last year before his neck injury, and that's why Connor McGovern got some fullback snaps to help get a push up front. Losing Schultz in free agency would be more of a blow to the possession passing game; he's rarely been a lead blocker. But the run-blocking can improve in multiple areas, including the tight end position.

Wouldn't it be better to keep this core and go after players who could help us win now? I don't want to see Dak without Amari Cooper and I don't want to see this defensive line without DeMarcus Lawrence. Let's keep these players under contract and go after players that will work well in Dan Quinn's scheme. - ADAN VOLPE / WHITMAN, MA

Nick: I'm with you. I'm a believer in the window to be successful because most teams have a cycle of ups and downs. And right now, with this group of talent, I'd make sure and capitalize on it. The offensive line is getting older, the running back is as well. This is supposed to be Dak's time to shine so I'd make sure he has every chance to do that. And Amari Cooper makes him better and the offense better. If he's not getting the ball enough to meet the salary demands of his contract, tell the OC to figure it out. But I wouldn't cut him. On defense, I might live with getting rid of some of the high-priced guys because I think you can get by without it.

Rob: Well, right now it's only speculation that the Cowboys might have to part ways with Cooper and/or Lawrence for cap reasons. But it's a popular topic because the tight budget is a real thing unless the club does a bunch of restructuring, and I'm just not sure they're willing to push a ton of money into future years with certain contracts. The cap should continue to go up, especially with the big TV money everybody's waiting on, but will that big spike happen as soon as 2023? That's something the club has to take into consideration. But I agree with your premise: Cooper and Lawrence obviously make this team better.

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