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Mailbag: When Will We See Bradlee Anae?


I get that the Cowboys are technically still in the division race. But a lot of young players have gotten playing time this year, so why not Bradlee Anae on defense?JOE COOK / DALLAS, TX

Nick: I think it's just a case of too many guys ahead of him that are better. There's a reason he fell down the draft and there's no guarantee he's going to be a player. I get the argument that in a year like this, why not see what he's got. I'm sure in a few weeks that might be the case but for now, he's not better than D-Law, Randy Gregory and Dorance Armstrong and it appears Ron'Dell Carter has now passed him as well.

Rob: Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was asked that question Monday. His answer: "Early in the season he was active a lot because he was (playing) in the kicking game area. And then Randy (Gregory) came back and that kind of, because they're kind of the same position, it bumped him down a little bit. But he's been doing a very good job, really has. He's doing a great job in practice. We talk about him every week with the possibility of him getting up. So there's nothing that he's done incorrectly. He's done a good job and he works hard and he hustles. Believe me, there's a lot of people in his corner each week to get him up. It just hasn't fit yet based on the numbers."

Dez Bryant wasn't the biggest guy, but he used his physical gifts to get open, particularly on the back-shoulder fades, when he played here. Is the offense's lack of success in the red zone this year due to a lack of size at receiver?GARET TANAKA / WAILUKU, HI

Nick: That seems like a good reason for it. I don't think it's the only reason or even the main one. Personally, this O-line just doesn't knock anyone off the ball like it used to. When you get down there and it's hard to pass, you have to be able to push guys back. Now, to your point, he's the lack of big-bodied receivers that just go up and win the ball is something that is missing in the red zone. Having that guy would be nice, but I don't think I'd get rid of one of the top three guys just to have it.

Rob: Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was asked about goal-to-goal situations and said he's got to do a better job as a play-caller in that area. To your question, Blake Jarwin would probably have helped down there this year, but overall I don't think it's about the receiver position. I think red zone/goal line/short yardage is where you're seeing the injuries on the offensive line show up most. That's where it comes down to getting a push up front for the running game, and that's been more of a challenge without their veteran starters. You saw it near the goal line Sunday and against the Ravens. The simple thing to do is hand it to Zeke in that situation, but they've had a hard time creating creases.

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