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Mailbag: SF's D-Line? Coordinator Speculation?


The 49ers' defensive line is really good and I worry about Dallas' offensive line protecting Dak against them. We've seen the Cowboys use Connor McGovern as a fullback many times this year. Do you think they would be willing to use him more as a 6th OL in this game, especially to help out in the interior? — MICHAEL ANDERSON / OLD BRIDGE, NJ

David: I love the outside the box thinking, and I think the Cowboys need to be mindful of pressure in this game. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead have the potential to wreck this game, and Kellen Moore needs to come up with concepts to help the offensive line out, as well as get the ball out of Dak Prescott's hands quickly. I don't know that I'd use Connor McGovern a ton, as I still would like to have speed on the field. But I do like the idea of using more 21 personnel in this game. It might even be worth a shot to have Zeke and Tony Pollard on the field at the same time, with Zeke as a blocker and Tony as the back.

Nick: The best offensive coordinators are the ones who can figure out how to do a lot of things. And yes, I like your idea. It's something they can do a few times with an unbalanced line. Sometimes the sixth OL could be McGovern. Sometimes it can ben Terence Steele. But the Cowboys are going to have to keep the 49ers guessing all game. They need to use 12 and 13 personnel. They'll need to use Tony Pollard and Zeke together in some formations. They have to be able to mix it up and have success doing it. That to me, is the best way to keep a defense off balance.

After the season the defense had and the fact that Dan Quinn is already being talked about for head coaching opportunities again, do you think there is any chance Dallas would bring back Mike Zimmer to be the DC if Quinn leaves? He should have been promoted to be Dallas' head coach instead of Gailey or Campo. — NICK RICE / STRATHAM, NH

David: I completely understand and appreciate the question, and I think it makes total sense to connect those dots. Mike Zimmer has a ton of great relationships inside this building. I just think it's unfair to everyone to speculate about that before anything has even happened. Dan Quinn talked Monday night about how focused he is on this game against the 49ers, and how he'd rather avoid job speculation for the time being. If he does wind up leaving, there'll be plenty of time to worry about who they hire when the season ends – whenever that might be.

Nick: Personally, I see Zimmer having a better chance of waiting out a season and maybe getting back next year as a head coach. I think he's got enough skins on the wall to be a coach again, but who knows what he wants to do. Obviously, the Cowboys have a DC right now and so it's very premature to assume anything. I'll say this, the next time the Cowboys have to get a new DC, they need to make sure they know what to do with Micah Parsons. And playing multiple looks in the 3-4 and 4-3 is always a bonus, considering how many formations we're seeing out of these offenses these days.

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