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Mailbag: Why Release McFadden Now? Reason For The Lopsided Losses?

MORICE WELLINGTON III
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
Why did Dallas hold on to McFadden for so long? The staff clearly lost faith in him or something way earlier in the year. They could have taken the initiative and attempted to get something for him via trade. He was on the roster for no reason whatsoever.

Bryan: I disagree with you here. I understand why they kept him - - you had to protect yourself in case Alfred Morris or Rod Smith weren't the players you thought they'd be. You look at it as taking up a roster spot, but I'd see it as protection -- especially with how the Ezekiel Elliott situation played out, as well. 

David:The reason the Cowboys didn't get McFadden onto the field is that he doesn't fill much o a role on special teams, and that's not something you can easily accommodate from a backup running back. But it is awfully puzzling to me that McFadden sat on the roster for 13 weeks, only to be released at a time when the team could have used him the most. It reminds me a little bit of the Darius Jackson move last year. You liked him enough to keep him here through training camp and the majority of the regular season. What changed, exactly?

A. KAPLAN
NEW YORK, NY
Can someone explain to me how the Cowboys are having a stretch of futility - and are playing worse and are less competitive lately - than at any time during the 2015 season when Romo was hurt?

Bryan: This offense was built with the threat of Ezekiel Elliott as its primary form of offense. The play caller needs him in order to put the quarterback in favorable down and distance situations, which also allows the receivers to have more access in routes. Take away that threat and they struggle. On defense, the most important position is the weak side linebacker and that guy is about to miss his fifth game. You haven't covered well so now you're about to replace a bunch of secondary players to see if they can do any better? Players they've counted on quite honestly haven't been very good, thus the record. 

David:It just seems like none of their fall-back options have worked out. The guys they acquired to help replace Elliott have been fine, but they aren't as explosive. Their depth at offensive tackle has looked incredibly shaky. They haven't found a viable option to help replace Sean Lee. The defensive backs they looked at to replace all that veteran leadership in the secondary haven't had good seasons. The Cowboys prepared for a lot of contingencies during the offseason. But when those contingency plans have been used, they haven't worked out as well as hoped.

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