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Mailbag: Trying More Screens? Signing A FA RB?


The potential of the offense has been well documented, but one aspect I can't recall seeing much success is with the screen game. It seems that with an elite, athletic offensive line and running backs who are comfortable catching the ball, this area could be beneficial to the offense in certain situations. Am I oversimplifying it or is it fair to say the screen game is underutilized? — DAN ABSHER / SACRAMENTO, CA

David: I agree with you, 100%. We've seen Kellen Moore's fondness for receiver screens over the course of the season, and he's even shown a desire to use tight end screens at times – though it seems like that has gone away recently. But it really doesn't seem like they've used their running backs a lot in that regard. I don't have a great answer for why. Maybe they don't trust their tight ends to secure blocks in space? Just a guess. But I agree with you that I'd like to see them try it a bit more.

Rob: Those plays are probably easier if Zeke and Tony Pollard are playing at full strength, but both have been banged up. There's a chance Pollard rejoins Elliott in the lineup Sunday, and Pollard is terrific in space when healthy. I agree with the idea, and remember, CeeDee Lamb took a screen (or a carry, whatever you want to call it) 33 yards against the Saints to set up a touchdown. Those types of easy throws probably help Dak Prescott get into a rhythm, too.

I just saw a clip on NFL Network featuring Frank Gore, his boxing training and his desire to return to football on a team that has a shot at the Super Bowl. He looked to be in great shape. Do you think he could help the Cowboys? — ROBERT PRINCE / MOSELEY, VA

David: I'm not convinced Gore is the answer, given that he has failed to average 4 yards per carry in five of his last six seasons. But I do wonder if there's a free agent running back out there that could help the Cowboys handle these injury problems. I will say, there aren't a ton of intriguing names, outside of maybe Le'Veon Bell. Maybe that guy could be Ito Smith, who just got here last week

Rob: The running back depth has been tested lately, that's for sure. But the Cowboys are obviously confident Zeke can push through his knee injury, and he says it continues to improve. Pollard is back to practice, so that's encouraging. All that aside, the offensive line can do a better job of winning the line of scrimmage, as they've said. That's been a factor in the run game too.

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