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Mailbag: Time To Change Personnel? Questioning The Play Calling?

ERIC KENDIGYORK, PA
Can someone please explain to me the coaches' stubbornness with personnel?  I understand Weeden isn't making a ton of mistakes, but he's also not making plays. The same with Christine Michael -- why trade for him if you're not going to use him? I understand it was a very small sample size, but he at least showed something yesterday.  Why the reluctance to try anything different?

Rob: I get your point. Here's the problem, in my opinion: It's been hard to 100-percent evaluate and judge the quarterback without Dez Bryant and the running game without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. You just can't run the same offense without these two guys. So, that being said, they've given it three full games with Brandon Weeden at quarterback, and while the three losses certainly aren't all on him (they tried to play balanced offense to keep Tom Brady off the field, and it seems like Weeden is going out of his way to avoid turnovers) they simply need more than six points and 188 yards on 39 pass attempts. Maybe Matt Cassel can provide a spark if he does get to start in the future. As for the running game, I agree Michael has been with the offense long enough to get a shot at more than one touch a game.

David:You can call it stubbornness, or maybe loyalty – or trustworthiness. The bottom line is that this coaching staff puts a high value on knowing and trusting a guy within their system. You can see it in their decisions across the board, from the quarterback spot to their preference for Ronald Leary over La'el Collins. They put a premium on familiarity. But I don't think they're so loyal – or stubborn, whatever you want to call it – that they'll stick with something that obviously isn't working. They've got two weeks to think about it, and I won't be surprised if you see some tweaks

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DAVID FEDAKLEONARDO, NJ
When do we start blaming the offensive coordinator, as well?  Even the TV announcers were commenting on how predictable and unimaginative the play calling is.

Rob: I'll go back to the first question – Weeden has tried to manage the game and avoid turnovers, but he's missed some throws and receivers simply have to get open, especially if Jason Witten is going to get doubled all game. If that's not happening, it doesn't matter much who's playing quarterback right now. As for the play calling, it sure seemed like the game plan was balance and ball control to keep Tom Brady off the field. By halftime the Cowboys had 13 passes and 13 runs. But they only had three first downs, and it was only a matter of time before Brady got going.

David:At the risk of sounding like an apologist, I'm not sure how much explosiveness or unpredictability you can expect from an offense that's missing its starting quarterback and its top playmakers. The gameplan during Weeden's stretch as the starter has been pretty evident. The Cowboys want to control the ball, keep the other offense off the field and limit mistakes. You saw what happened when Weeden pushed the ball on Sunday – a dropped pick in the first half, and an interception in the second. It's frustrating to watch, but there's only so much the Cowboys could do. Now, it's on the coaches to determine if they can win with that going forward, or if they have to consider a change.

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