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Mailbag: Where Has The Vertical Passing Attack Gone?



Where is the vertical passing game? With these receivers we should be attacking down the field (like the 20 yard in to Dez against SD). This dink and dunk passing attack will get us nowhere. Thoughts?

Nick: Well, that style did work for San Diego so it can work. But I know what you're saying. I think Austin's injury affects that because he's the one speed demon at receiver. I really think it comes back to running the ball better. We saw how the Rams played the run later in the game and Harris and Escobar were able to get over the top. Running the ball better and more often will drop the safeties down and open up the vertical pass. But it wouldn't hurt to chunk a deep ball every now and then to keep the defense honest.

Rowan: There's just not a lot of players on this team whose specialty is burning the top off the defense. Dez Bryant's probably the only one to be able to do it consistently, and most of his huge gains come on crossing patterns where he just beats the rest of the defense across the middle of the field. This is where having a hurt Miles Austin hurts. He hadn't had a ton of deep gains recently even when healthy, but the possibility was always there for the longer gains. The Cowboys hope Terrance Williams can eventually do the same, but we haven't seen it thus far. They'll need to get that part of their game going more to pull the upset this weekend.

PARK RIDGE, NJ [embedded_ad]

Did everyone overhype the Cowboys' defensive line? They couldn't exploit a very weak Chargers offensive line.

Nick: I think some of the hype was premature, yes. I admit I was buying into it a little bit. But I'll say this – I did look down at one point and saw David Carter and Drake Nevis at tackle and Kyle Wilber and George Selvie at end. It was only a few plays but that's not exactly the lineup that scares anyone. So the point is, they've got some issues with injuries, too.  

Rowan: It's probably been somewhat overhyped, but they've earned that. They led the NFC in sacks leading into the Chargers game, so the acclaim has been warranted. But the lack of pressure last weekend also should be noted. They should have been able to get more of a push against a banged up offensive line. Without pressure, this defense doesn't work well. Heck, most defenses won't work without pressure. They've dealt with injuries well, but you just wonder how long Rod Marinelli can work his magic if DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie are added to the injury list.

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