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Mailbag: Predicting Andy Dalton's Future?


Having Andy Dalton here this year as Dak's backup is maybe the single saving grace of this season. Is there any chance in the world he would be willing to stick around and be Dak's backup again? And any chance the salary cap will allow Jerry to pay him enough to keep him here? — RUSS WHITE / ORANGE CITY, FL

Nick: Two great questions. I think it will come down to what he wants to do. While it's easy to say that other teams might be interested and will pay him more, he's got to evaluate the entire situation. Do these teams just want him to be a bridge player and wait for their young stud to develop? Or do they really want Andy Dalton to be the quarterback and lead them? And then, he's got to decide if any of that is worth leaving this area, which is probably the main reason he signed with the Cowboys in the first place. So this isn't a black-and-white situation at all. Honestly, I feel like Dalton is on the team next year.

David: You never want to say never, but I think it's going to be difficult. Dalton has played very well, and good quarterback play is expensive. There are bound to be a handful of teams who will pay him to compete for the starting job — and remember, the salary cap is not going to grow this offseason, which will make the Cowboys' finances even tougher than usual. Perhaps Dalton likes being back home in Texas so much that he's willing to stay, but I'd be very surprised if it happens.

The Eagles seemed to go away from a very effective run game, even before they were 13 points down. Did you see that as being because of our improvement against the run or some other reason on their part? — STU ANDERSON / UNITED KINGDOM

Nick: I think what hurt the Eagles the most was penalties. If you go back and look at some of their drives, they were killed by either delay of games, false starts or holding calls. Many times, it put them behind the chains and forced them to pass. I can't say the Cowboys' defense just changed the scheme and put an emphasis on the run, but I do know the Eagles were in too many passing situations.

David: I think at least part of that might be due to the success of the Cowboys' sub packages. We've already talked a lot about using C.J. Goodwin as a spy, but just in general I thought the defense did a good job of not letting Jalen Hurts scramble for big yardage. Without that element of the offense, it seemed like the Eagles were forced into more passing situations.

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