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Mailbag: Players Bonding With New Coaches?

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Do you think special teams coach John Fassel has any core players he can count on right now? Or because of free agency, he'll have to wait until the spring to start plugging in players to fit his system. There doesn't seem to be many holdovers right now.– ALLEN LEMOND / CHESAPEAKE, VA

Rob:Your point is well taken. Jeff Heath, C.J. Goodwin, Darian Thompson, Justin March and Joe Thomas – all solid contributors last season – have expiring contracts. That doesn't mean none will return, but there will be some change in personnel. And I certainly imagine Fassel will have a voice in what he needs. The draft is really important here because you've got to find young players, particularly on Day 2 and 3, who can make the team by helping in the kicking game.

Lindsay: I love what Fassel told us about his mantra and relationship with his players when it comes to special teams: establishing their importance, and building the belief that their role on teams is just as important as offense or defense. I agree with Rob, he'll voice his plans and needs to McCarthy and work backwards from there.

In 2018 the Cowboys got a new offensive line coach and then got let go. How do you think it goes this time, with new coach Joe Philbin, scheme wise and how well he bonds personality wise?– DAN JONAS / SOUTH ELGIN, IL

Rob:You're referring to Paul Alexander, who was let go during the bye week in 2018. I think Philbin's past work with Mike McCarthy is important to note here. He coached with McCarthy for seven seasons in Green Bay. There's a built-in trust and familiarity with the head coach, not to mention Philbin's own strong credentials. I wouldn't imagine there will be a drastic change from a philosophical standpoint on the offensive line like what happened in 2018. It didn't work, and that's why Marc Colombo took over midseason that year.

Lindsay: From my conversation with Coach Philbin, he's so self-aware and noted multiple times that he plans to mesh his 30-years of experience with the phenomenal talent of this current offensive line. Philbin also emphasized trust, over and over, and had already spoken with a few members of his unit. I don't suspect a huge change – just building on what they both bring to the table as coaches and players.

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