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Mailbag: Will opponents attack hybrid safeties?


I do like how Dan Quinn has used Jayron Kearse and Markquese Bell as hyrbrid safety/linebackers. They bring more speed and mobility. But it looked like the Cardinals used some size to really go after those box safeties to break off some of their big runs. Could this be how opponents now attack the defense? How do the Cowboys counter this strategy?Michael Thompson/Los Angeles, CA

Nick Eatman: Of course they will. When something works against a team, especially a team that we thought was going to be rather dominant on one side of the ball, you best believe other teams are going to use it as well. Copycat league and it always has been. That being said, the Patriots are going to play that way anyway because Mac Jones isn't the type of quarterback who can just sling the ball around 50 times and go win games. That's not the way he plays and so the Patriots are going to run the ball with a combination of Stevenson and Zeke and if the Cowboys try to use a lot of undersized linebackers in the box, it could be a problem once again. This is going to be a big week for Dan Quinn to offset what happened last week and figure out a way to slow down the running game.

Patrik: I can't tell you how badly I'm looking forward to seeing how Dan Quinn responds to this new challenge, because it felt like the Cardinals' gameplan worked to perfection against the Cowboys' defense; and while a lot of it was due to execution issues and not schematics, what you pointed out definitely jumped out at me in real-time. But if you look at the film, you'll see a couple of those big runs took place when the Cardinals (on purpose) snapped the ball before the Cowboys got set upfront. Credit to them for the savviness. I expect Quinn to harp on making sure his defensive front is set more quickly going forward, but I do not expect him to change his hybrid theory any more than Linkin Park would. I also don't think he should. Execution just needs to be better at reading keys and shedding blocks.

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