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Mailbag: Romo Adjusting His Style Of Play? Rookies' Roster Chances?


Which rookies will make the 53-man roster, and do the Cowboys go with four running backs with Darius Jackson as the fourth?

Bryan:Get ready for Darius Jackson to get plenty of work during this training camp, especially in these preseason games. If Jackson can stay healthy throughout and not hit the rookie wall, I think he's going to make it tough for these coaches not to keep him. If Jackson does struggle it will likely come on the pass protection side. There is a lot for these rookies to pick up and gain the trust of the coaches. If that's a problem then things could go the other way for him.  

Rob:You're asking for a very early prediction here, without a complete training camp practice or preseason game, but my first 53 would probably include the first seven draft picks: Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper, Dak Prescott, Anthony Brown and Kavon Frazier. (Smith, of course, could very well spend 2016 recovering from his knee injury.) I think Darius Jackson has an uphill climb to beat Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris for a spot, and don't forget about Lance Dunbar returning from his knee injury, too. Rico Gathers could be a really tough call. The Cowboys invested in his development, but they already have four tight ends with experience: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar and Geoff Swaim. The practice squad might make sense for Jackson and Gathers given the numbers at their positions. Two undrafted rookies to watch in camp: wide receiver Andy Jones and defensive lineman Rodney Coe.


Anyone who has watched Tony Romo over the years knows he is incredible at buying extra time in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. I think that skill is in part what makes him a great QB, but do you think that style of play makes Tony more susceptible to injury? If so, does the burden to decrease the amount of hits Romo takes over a season fall more on him (i.e. throwing the ball away more, taking more sacks, etc.), the coaching staff (i.e. calling more run plays, or quick passes), or both?

Bryan: Like the way that your question was framed, but Tony Romo isn't changing the way that he plays football. He got hurt in the Philadelphia game on a play where he was trying to change it instead of just taking the snap and getting a no gain. Having been around him all these years, that's just not in his DNA. He is going to get every ounce out of the game that he can and let the chips fall where they may. 

Rob: Romo has made a career out of improvising and buying time in the pocket, and at 36, I don't think his style of play is going to significantly change at this point. Now, some injuries are simply unavoidable. The first time he broke his collarbone in 2010, a missed block in the backfield gave the defender a free hit on him. The Cowboys are a downfield passing team, but I do think Ezekiel Elliott and the strength of this offensive line will allow the offense to set a physical tone with the running game. That can only help Romo.

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