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Mailbag: Why The Lack Of Takeaways On Defense? Coaching Decisions?

JOSH BACKMANBALTIMORE, MD
It's unfathomable that our defense only has four takeaways all season. We were pretty good at generating turnovers last season, and we are running essentially the same scheme with the same players this season. Is it merely bad luck or is there more to this drought than meets the eye?

Bryan: I felt like I have answered this question a hundred times so what's one more time? This team has had opportunities to turn opponents over but just haven't finished plays. Atlanta, New Orleans, New England and New York Giants all come to mind as games where they have had their hands on the ball but whether it was a drops or penalties they have struggled. If they just would have made those plays we wouldn't be talking about this at all.

David: This question is one of the two biggest reasons why the Cowboys don't have a win since Sept. 20. This defense is nowhere near as bad as the unit the Cowboys trotted out in 2013 – in fact, they've played pretty well during most of this losing streak. I'd say the loss to the Falcons and last night's game against Philly have been their two biggest no-shows. I don't really have a great answer for why they can't seem to make plays. They just seem to be a half step away from making plays, all the time. They get to the fumble a second too late, or they miss catching the tipped pass by a fingertip. I think the unfortunate truth is that the majority of the guys on this defense are decent or good players – but the Cowboys just do not have many playmakers in the lineup.

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ROBERT CLOSNERMERCEDES, TX
The Cowboys are the only team in the NFL not to have at least one win in their last six games.  Every team has had injuries and/or some kind of setback, and have still been able to have at least one win in their last six games. How much do these losses have to do with coaching?

Bryan: Jason Garrett likes to talk about the team and in this case the team includes the coaches. I have no problem with this type of thinking but when these coaches do call good plays – it's the players' job to execute them and unfortunately when you are the losers of six games in a row – there are probably going to be some really poor execution.  

David: Nobody escapes blame when you've lost six games in a row, so you can absolutely assign some to the coaching staff. I'm not sure the Eagles game is something I'd put so much on the coaches – I thought their game plan was solid and fairly well executed. But we can go back to the games against Atlanta, New Orleans and Seattle and point to more obvious coaching breakdowns. It all goes hand-in-hand, and it's magnified when you go 50 days without a win.

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