KENNETH C. THOMAS
FORT PIERCE., FL
It appears that losing Spencer, Crawford, Ratliff, and the trading of Lissemore have decimated the defensive line. Do you believe that the offense is explosive enough to carry the Cowboys to the playoffs?
Nick: I think they're going have to be. The defense can be solid and patch it together, especially if Ware can come back strong. But you're right, those injuries have prevented that part of the defense from being a strength. The Denver game was probably a good indication that any success this year might have to start and finish with offense.
Rowan: Yeah, mostly because of how the rest of the division is playing. The offense needs to play more consistently, but there are more pieces there than what the Cowboys are rolling with defensively, and it's encouraging to see what Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley have done in recent weeks. Rod Marinelli can work his magic with the defensive line, but at some point one has to wonder how long the Cowboys can piece that together. We've seen the calamity that can ensue when this defense doesn't create a rush.
I'm sure we'd all like some depth on the defensive line right now, but is anyone still thinking the Cowboys should have taken Sharif Floyd instead of trading for Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams? Floyd may turn out to be a beast one day, but Frederick and Williams are both productive starters already.
Nick: I couldn't agree more. You might have some that will argue that you could've had all three, but that's just rolling the dice. I think Frederick will end up being a great first-round pick and you've got him locked up for four more years after this. Williams keeps getting better. And don't forget, the defensive line coach – Rod Marinelli – didn't really want Floyd. He seems like he knows what he's looking for.
Rowan: At this point, it'd be hard to argue they made the wrong decision. It was a highly criticized move, but the pieces the Cowboys brought in are all contributing in a big way. Floyd's a rotational defensive lineman in Minnesota, while Frederick's a starting center and Williams is practically a starting wide receiver. It's possible the Cowboys could have gotten Frederick in the second round, but they were also able to obtain a starting safety in J.J. Wilcox by having two third-round picks. So far, so good on that trade.