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Mailbag: Who's More Important, Zack Or L'ael?

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With both Zack Martin and La'el Collins in doubt for Thursday, my question is simple. What's more important to this team's success: right tackle or right guard? — WILLIAM TROMPETER / OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

David: I know we're all scarred from watching the reserve offensive tackles last season, but I think I trust an athletic quarterback like Dak Prescott to make it work with a backup playing right tackle. Zack Martin is a rock in the middle. He keeps the pressure from running right into Dak's lap, and he gives the offense a reliable place to run the ball. It's not good to lose any starter, especially against one of the most talented fronts in the league. But in this matchup, I think I'd rather have Zack. Here's hoping Connor McGovern is up for the challenge.

Nick: While I'd like to say both, I'll answer the question. And for me, with Dak's ability to see the rush and escape when he needs to, I'll say right guard is more important. At right tackle, he can see what's coming at him and should be able to get away or throw the ball away. But at right guard, that affects so many things, including the team's ability to run. And if you consider the drop-off from Martin to McGovern is probably way bigger than Collins to Nsekhe, then my answer is definitely right guard.

Micah Parsons being a first-round pick gets all of the hype and coverage, and rightfully so. I hope he is the next Dallas great. But in my opinion Micah can flash and have growing pain moments whereas Osa Odighizuwa needs to be pro and quickly! Especially with Gallimore out. Could you argue Osa has the toughest task of any rookie on the team? — NATHAN MATTISON / GLEN FALLS, NY

David: I think you're right that it's a tougher challenge for Osa. Parsons has a lot of talent around him in the linebacker room, whereas I think we'd all have to agree the defensive tackle spot looks thin – especially with Neville Gallimore unavailable. My hope here is that guys like Parsons can generate enough splash plays to offset that.

Nick: Toughest task? I think it's Micah when you factor in the pressure of being the first-round pick and how much the team is counting on him. Plus, he's also keeping veteran players off the field as well, so there is pressure to succeed. Now to your point, the challenge for Osa to play well is greater, but I think Parsons has the toughest task because he's being asked to carry this defense from the miserable 2020 season we all saw.

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