Guys, what is the best road to take going forward to put the team in a better position looking to 2021? Should we try out the new guys the rest of the season to evaluate, or keep trying to salvage this season? — JOE GARZA / LAREDO, TX
Rob: I'm glad you brought this up, Joe. "The Break" had a good discussion about this Tuesday. The answer to your question is both, actually. They're trying to salvage this season with a lot of young players who are getting chances largely out of necessity. That's why I don't understand the whole "tank" topic from some Cowboys fans and media. Tank what, exactly? Play the young guys? The Cowboys have been so depleted by injuries that they're already playing second- third- and even fourth-string players. Looking ahead to 2021, I guess that's great for evaluation and experience purposes. But you play the game to win, and that's what they're trying to do. You don't ignore a chance to win a division title.
Jonny: I think you give young guys a chance, but their leash remains short regardless. There's no scenario where playing guys who aren't ready to compete is helpful. There's a limit to "trial by fire." Think of it this way: If a veteran is consistently outperforming a young guy then why would you bench him? The Cowboys are 2-7 for a reason; players have under-performed. But a guy like Gallimore will stay in the lineup because he cleared the bar of the veterans ahead of him.
Other quarterbacks that suffered season-ending injuries were able to watch the games from the sidelines and have said their learning curve went up dramatically because they saw the flow of the game from a completely different perspective. Do you see this being the case with Dak? — DAVE SEGNA / DENAIR
Rob: Not just quarterbacks. Last season Travis Frederick talked about gaining a new tactical perspective at the center position during his year off fighting GBS. But Dak's situation is a little different, at least to this point, because he hasn't been on the sideline since his injury. His focus is purely on rehabbing his ankle right now. I understand the question, though, and I think he'll come back next year stronger and better – but mainly because he works as hard at his craft as any player I've seen since I started covering the team close to 20 years ago.
Jonny: Potentially. But I wouldn't consider this to be a huge factor for two reasons. First, Dak seemed to already have a pretty good sense of the game's flow. I don't think this was exactly a weak point for him. But more importantly, the way so many of these Cowboys games have gone, I don't see this perspective as being a super accurate representation of the kind of game he'd typically play in when the Cowboys are serious playoff contenders. The quarterbacks have been getting hurried constantly, the defense has been underperforming, and the turnovers have been a problem. Maybe it helps to see this, but ideally he will be creating better circumstances when he's in the game.