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Mailbag: Update On Injured Players? Was Fatigue A Factor In Week 13?

DOUG MCBROOMRED SPRINGS, NC

Dallas was much more sloppy on Thursday than in previous games. I wonder if Dallas was just tired. Usually after a Thursday game, the team gets about 10 days to recover, but after Thanksgiving, they had to play in a week. I am hoping that the game was more of a fluke than things to come. Either way, it was a wake-up call. What are your thoughts?

Bryan: They had a full week to prepare for the game. I have to give the Vikings a ton of credit for what they were able to do against this Cowboys offense. We knew that was going to be their best chance to win the game and if not for a fumbled punt return, they might have done it. It's never easy to win on the road and especially at that place in front of that crowd.

Rob: My, how expectations have changed. To a large degree, that's warranted when you've won 11 straight and clinched a playoff berth with four games to go. No question three games in 12 days was a grind for both teams. I think Minnesota is a tough place to play, and I think the Vikings have a really good defense, and I think the Cowboys' struggles on offense shouldn't really surprise anybody, no matter how good they've been this year. Fans should be encouraged that the defense and special teams stepped up, and that's what a good football team does when one phase is having a tough night.

RANDY SNYDERNEWALLA, OK

Are there any new reports on the progression of Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper? What looks like a good timetable for their return?

Bryan: Nothing new on either guy. Both continue to work out with the trainers and strength coaches. Next week, I believe that we will see Smith go on season-ending injured reserve, which was the plan all along in hopes that things will be different for him in the 2017 NFL season. They will have to make a decision about Tapper and La'el Collins here shortly. My guess is that they would like go with Collins, who has actually played in games this season.

Rob: The more likely scenario for Jaylon Smith's return to action has always been the 2017 season. Even if Tapper were able to return from his back injury this season, I'm not sure how quickly he could make an impact after missing the entire preseason and regular season to date. If La'el Collins can be back this season, he's the more proven player, even if pass rush is a greater need right now. If there's a choice between those two regarding the injured reserve recall, that might be the difference for me.

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