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Mailbag: Putting The Denver Game In Perspective?

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Do you think that the loss to the Broncos is a blessing in disguise? It seemed like to me this kind of loss should bring the team back to Earth. It seemed that everything was going the Cowboys' way during the six-game winning streak and now the law of averages is starting to even things out? How will they respond to this against the Falcons? —  GARY LEHMKUHLER / COPPERAS COVE, TX

Rob: Losing is never a blessing in the NFL. There are only 17 games and only one bye in the NFC. If there's a silver lining, it's that this happened in November and not January. I agree about the law of averages in the NFL, but the Cowboys also didn't give themselves enough of a chance to win that game because of their own mistakes and lack of physical play, as they've acknowledged. You can't do that against any team in the league, much less the other heavyweights in the conference moving forward.

David: Eh, that feels like a step too far for me. Positive things can come out of a setback, but we don't have to try to spin this loss as a good thing. Mike McCarthy said the same on Monday, when he noted that there are ways to re-focus without losing a game. I agree with your overall premise that losing to Denver could be a useful wakeup call, but you'd prefer that a team full of professionals wouldn't need to get embarrassed in order for that to happen.

With the development of our kicking situation, hopefully limited to this week, how do you believe this impacts/alters our offensive game plan, if any? While McCarthy and Co. have proven their aggressive nature week after week, the lack of recent success on fourth down causes some concern if there isn't as much confidence in the kicking game. — SEAN CUNNINGHAM / FARMINGTON, NY

Rob: Eh, maybe. I think they've been pretty aggressive on fourth-and-short regardless of who's making the kicks. At this point, Greg Zuerlein (COVID protocols) hasn't been ruled out of Sunday's game, but if he is, I still think they'll rely on Lirim Hajrullahu if the situation calls for it. If they feel good about a particular down-and-distance, they've shown they'll be aggressive because they have confidence in the talent on offense. I can't blame them for that.

David: I'm not sure it will affect it at all. McCarthy and Kellen Moore have proven themselves to be very aggressive on the opponent's side of the field – and that was when they had Greg Zuerlein available. Without Zuerlein, they might be even more willing to go for the gusto. Personally, I'm all in favor. The fourth down performance hasn't been amazing this year, but there's too much talent on this offense for them to not be able to improve that. Keep plugging away and let the kicker stay on the sideline.

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