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Mailbag: Projections For Injured D-Linemen?; Why Did Romo And Murray Sit?

DAVID BROWNLAPLACE, LA
There has been a lot of talk on the shows about defensive line. Do you think that Chris Whaley and/or Amobi Okoye can get on the field and help the defense next year?

Bryan: Whaley was a guy that they had a plan for when they signed him. He was an extremely productive player while at Texas, so the hope that he can carry that over to his NFL career. I think there is a better chance for Whaley over Okoye, but let's not also forget the help that they might receive from Ben Gardner as well. Gardner has been in the weight room all season and I am hearing more positive news on him than any of the other players that missed the season.

David:Throw Ben Gardner into the mix, and we've definitely gotten a lot of questions about those fringe defensive linemen hanging around this roster. My answer would be that it's reasonable to have hope for them – after all, the Cowboys wouldn't be keeping them around if they didn't think something of them. But it would be a mistake to count on any of them to be a game-changer. If those guys can give you production, or even blossom into stars, that's fantastic. If you want to definitively fix the defensive line, though, you have to invest more than that – whether it's free agents, draft picks or both.

DONALD STUBBSTATUM, SC
Why didn't Garrett let Romo and Murray play longer than one measly drive? What's the use of even going to the Pro Bowl to play one single drive? Was looking forward to at least half of a quarter.

Bryan:I have no problem with the way that the coaches played both Romo and Murray -- it was a long season for them both. Romo probably wasn't into his normal routine and I promise he didn't take a shot, so why risk it? Murray is in a contract season and they were most likely doing him a favor by not exposing him to hits.

David: I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet Romo and Murray had a lot of say in that. If they had wanted to play more, I'm sure they would have. Murray just finished a contract year that saw him tote the rock 430 times and break his hand in the process. Romo played through a broken back. Obviously, your risk of injury is small in a game like the Pro Bowl, but both guys have earned a well-deserved rest.

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