FRED LONDONMORRISTOWN, TN
With Rolando McClain likely entrenched at middle linebacker, and with Anthony Hitchens excelling at all linebacker positions, which starting position is most likely in his future?
Nick: Well I don't know what the future holds for McClain, but it seems pretty clear this team will be in good shape in the middle. Whether it's Sean Lee, McClain or Hitchens, they've got it covered. Now maybe, you can go back to the defensive scheme and say this is a friendly defense for that spot. Maybe it means Henry Melton and Tyrone Crawford and those DTs up front are doing their job, too. But I still would like to see them re-sign McClain because he's got an attitude that is good for this defense. But those three LBs should have a home somewhere in the middle. In fact, if the Cowboys end up switching to a 3-4 scheme, they might have the personnel to do that.
David: All of it hinges on whether they bring back McClain, and I think they will. Ideally, what I think I'd like to see is for the Cowboys to re-sign McClain, and then bring back one of either Justin Durant or Bruce Carter – but not both. I'd leave McClain in the middle, move Sean Lee to the weak side and start either Carter or Durant on the strong side. Hitchens can be the primary backup at all three spots and provide some quality depth. If re-signing the veterans prove to be too costly, I'd have no problem with him being the starter at any of the three positions next year.
GARET TANAKAWAILUKU, HI
Is it just me or is Dwayne Harris struggling? He doesn't seem to be showing up in kick coverage, hasn't broken long returns, and got tackled for a loss on that rare end around call.
[embeddedad0]Nick: I don't think it's just you. Those punt returns the other night weren't not as effective as they could be. For some reason, it appeared as if Harris would catch the ball, then wait a little bit to see what was open and before he knew it, his 20-25 yards of space turned into nothing at all. It seems like he's banged up a little because you're right, we're not saying that burst that he has shown before. Maybe he needs the bye week as much as anyone else.
David: I'd go as far as to say the special teams, in their entirety, are struggling. We've seen two field goals blocked in the last two games, a punt was blocked back in Seattle and neither the kick or punt return games have been great. Dwayne Harris and C.J. Spillman combining to recover that muffed punt on Sunday is really the only saving grace. It's definitely something that needs to be a focal point during the bye week and the leadup to the New York rematch.