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Mailbag: Replacing DeMarcus Lawrence's Production?


Week 1 was a loss but encouraging nonetheless. Now it's like we can't catch a break. What do the Cowboys do regarding the pass rush for what looks like several weeks now that DeMarcus Lawrence has a foot fracture? – MIKE S. / DALLAS, TX

Rob: Tarell Basham and Dorance Armstrong are next up. Armstrong had a strong training camp and preseason, and he came oh-so-close to a sack-strip-fumble on Tom Brady last Thursday. For however long Lawrence is out – at least 6-8 weeks would be a reasonable guess – the Cowboys will rely on them more in the rotation. They'll also have an extra roster spot to potentially look for more help once Lawrence goes on IR-Designated to Return. Looking ahead to Sunday's matchup against Justin Herbert, he's a young quarterback but he's shown he can rip the ball down the field with time in the pocket.

David: Good question, and not an easy one to answer. Good pass rushers aren't typically sitting on the market in September. Maybe the front office can swing a trade of some sort, but that's usually easier said than done. If you can add someone else at the right price, I think you need to. As far as guys on the roster, this is a big opportunity for Tarell Basham and Bradlee Anae. Maybe most importantly, I think this is a situation that calls for Dan Quinn to get creative with his linebackers. Micah Parsons and perhaps Jaylon Smith can contribute to the pass rush. It might not be ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

How can offensive coordinator Kellen Moore get Zeke on track with runs and pass plays? I know it's more exciting to pass the ball and I like what they can do with ball. I still find it hard that Zeke has fallen that far from what he was a couple years ago and that he can't hit those holes anymore. Kellen Moore being a quarterback may forget how important the run is to this team. – STEPHEN GRAYSON / GREENVILLE, MS

Rob: I'll be surprised if the Cowboys don't make more of an effort to run the ball Sunday, even against some loaded boxes. The Bucs are a unique challenge. That's probably the best run defense in the league. I agree with the Moore's approach not to bang your head against the ball, but I also think it's important to get Elliott in a rhythm, let him feel the game a little bit. Even if it's not 25 carries, get him involved in the short passing game. We talk about how well-rounded he is in pass protection, but don't forget he had 77 catches in 2018.

David: I've got a story coming out about this today, actually. Respectfully, I don't agree with you. Moving the ball is important, and the Cowboys found ways to do it without bashing Zeke against the best run defense in the league. I call it progress that Kellen Moore looked for different ways to attack a defense that was trying to key on the run. There will be other opportunities to run the ball, but I applaud Kellen for not being stubborn and finding other ways to accomplish the same goal.

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