PRINCE GEORGE, BC
There has been a lot of talk about Jaylon Smith playing strong side backer. With the defense playing mostly two linebacker formations, and Sean Lee's injury history, would it make more sense to have him rotating with Lee, and Leighton Vander Esch as well, not only to reduce Lee's wear and tear, but to see how Smith plays the position as a possible replacement for Lee in the next season or two?
Bryan:It's a good question but Smith's body type is better suited playing either the MIKE or SAM, where he can use his strength. I believe you want to put him at the point of attack than off the ball having to run to it.
David:I will say this: the Cowboys have a pretty well-established track record of cross-training their linebackers so they can handle multiple jobs. I think you'll see Vander Esch working on the weak side, given his abilities in coverage. As for Jaylon, I think he's better off in a role that has him moving toward the line of scrimmage.
Who will the Cowboys miss the most out of the released veterans? My guess is these younger players are every bit as good as Orlando. Witten carried players all over the field. Dez might take some getting used to.
Bryan:I think you'll miss Witten the most, especially on third downs and in the red zone. There is something about having a guy that can make reliable plays down after down. Going to be hard to replace that.
David:I know he had a bad season last year, but I'm not ready to say the Cowboys aren't going to miss Dez Bryant. For all his flaws, the guy left Dallas as the franchise's all-time leader in touchdown receptions. He finished with six last year -- which is more than any Cowboy not named Dez Bryant has managed since 2014. Hopefully, these young receivers are up to the task of replacing him. But they haven't proven it yet.