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Mailbag: What's Ailing The Offense? Is There Still Hope To Win The Division?

ROBERT GOSHOPSACRAMENTO, CA
Lesser teams are able to score TDs and even win games with lesser talent and lesser QBs, so where is the problem? Is it coaching, play calling, play design, execution, or all of the above? Seems this team is playing too careful, or it just looks that way with their lack of execution.

Bryan:It would be easy to just throw a big blanket over all this and say all of the above but I don't believe that's the case. I am putting this on the players and say it has been a lack of execution. Rod Marinelli calls a defense to carry the tight end up the seam and the safety doesn't do it. Scott Linehan calls a crack toss that goes for over 25 yards but the motion man starts up the field too early. Rich Bisaccia calls for a normal kickoff coverage but three guys get blocked on the play and it's returned for a touchdown – you understand my point here?

David:I think it's a combination of a lesser quarterback, combined with a conservative approach. There's no doubt in my mind that the Cowboys played very cautiously against the Seahawks, but that's to be expected against a defense that can exploit the shortcomings of a backup quarterback. The gameplan in New York wasn't very conservative, and it led to three interceptions and a minus-four turnover margin. So it's a bit of a double-edged sword. You're not going to win many games without scoring a touchdown, and you're also not going to win many games with four turnovers. Ideally, one of these backup quarterbacks would have shown an ability to overcome these obstacles, but it just hasn't happened.

JAMES MITCHELLINDIANAPOLIS, IN

With the Giants losing this week, the Cowboys only have one more loss than each team in the division. Am I terribly naive to think that there's still hope for them once Romo returns? The defense is playing probably the best it ever has since Romo became the starter and the offensive line has looked more like what we expected these last two weeks, which leads me to think that even while Romo knocks off the rust for the first couple games, they can still pull this off and win the division, maybe more.

Bryan: Chaos…continue to hope for that in this division. The defense is playing well and the offense is running the ball again but you need to win a game or two along the way to give yourself a chance.  

David: You're not naïve, you're just optimistic – and there's nothing wrong with that. I completely agree with you that the Cowboys are still – miraculously – in contention. The problem is that they still have to play two games without Romo, and the results of the past five games don't give me a lot of reasons to believe. If they're 4-5 or 3-6 when Romo returns, they have somewhat of a shot. But if they're 2-7, I'm not sure even he can help them dig out of that hole.

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