Friday, June 03, 2016

Cowboys Mailbag - June 3

It is Friday, so as we reach the end of my work year of Cowboys writing (the new year begins in late July in Oxnard), let me offer you one last mailbag before I shut it down for about 7 weeks.

They will still offer you various things from the last year for you to read again (or for the first time), so hopefully we won't be too far apart for long:

Q: Let's say the offense is what we hope it is with Zeke, healthy Romo and Bryant and it averages 30+ points a game. Let's also say the defense is an average defense. That should mean there should be some blow outs during the season. Which QB (Moore or Prescott) should get those garbage time snaps since you are going to want to get Romo out as soon as you can?

This is a fantastic scenario that everyone can get behind.  The team just absolutely kills everyone in 2016, so let's sort through who will be mopping up, right?  I love your optimism.  OK, let's explore this idea and I will say that it is absolutely going to be a job for Kellen Moore.  I don't think he is the most complete and capable QB ever seen, but he should be perfect for this job.  Dak Prescott's #1 job will be to figure out what he can do in the NFL, wow us in the 4th Quarter of preseason games, get hazed as all rookie QBs do, and basically learn and learn some more.  He shouldn't be asked to be active on gameday, nor should he be asked to play a single snap.  If the idea is to get Prescott ready to be the #2 by 2017, then this year should be treated as a training red shirt year.  Nothing more.  Give the mop to Kellen Moore and pray neither of them have to start a single game.

Q: Who would you say has been the most underrated player for the Cowboys over the last few seasons?

Well, that is a tough question because "underrated" can mean many things.  So, underrated in the media?  Well, Brandon Carr shows up for 1,000 snaps a year and hardly gets burned for big stakes.  People want more and should expect more for $50 million, but I do think it is comical to demand he is cut on blogs and newspapers.  Underrated in the public?  Travis Frederick is amazing and I don't see many jerseys out there because centers don't sell jerseys.  Underrated by the coaching staff?  I wish I knew what James Hanna had to do to get more chances and snaps.  Underrated by the rest of the league?  Hmmmm.  Well, let's say Tyrone Crawford.  But, obviously, 2014 was his great year.  2015 must be better.  

Q: Do you think Rod Marinelli is going to have to change some things up in the first four games scheme-wise with so many dudes out?

Not really.  That is the thing about Rod.  He isn't worried about the guys he has.  He is worried about everyone fulfilling their obligation.  He will trust those he has and not "baby" anyone.  He demands the most of his players but actually enjoys people saying his guys aren't good enough.  Pound for pound, there aren't many I would rather have than Rod Marinelli.  The guy is certainly a great defensive mind who trusts his experience.  

Q: Biggest concern for Zeke going forward?

The same concern for every RB that plays in the NFL.  That his body is shown mercy from the collisions that shorten careers and zap explosiveness.  Most RBs who are drafted are not given a 2nd contract by the team that drafts them because they view RBs as disposable and high-risk.  The Cowboys obviously disagree (even though they seemed to agree 18 months ago) and were willing to pay Zeke huge amounts of money before he ever carried the ball once.  He is being paid to be elite.  He needs to be elite and offer longevity.  They are betting he is a real outlier.  We shall hope and see.

Q: How do you think the Cowboys will handle being loyal to Jason Witten/phasing him out of the offense when he starts to decline even more than he has?

Great question and not really something that you would suggest is their specialty.  The idea of making a rough decision on when someone they really like is not what he once was is something that I am hesitant to suggest they have done well in the past.  They elected to say goodbye to DeMarcus Ware because of the cap number and Jay Ratliff over his health.  But, Witten may be 2nd only to Romo (and maybe even with Romo) when it comes to the beloved son of the franchise.  I would wonder when the time comes that they will hope Witten makes the first move. This is one worth following as unfortunately, the finish line approaches.

Q: Do you think it'd be a good idea to sign someone like Dwight Freeney now that Maliek is hurt? I'm worried about that DLine

I understand the concern, but I don't want to make too many decisions based on 4 weeks.  When Lawrence returns the DE position will look ok with Charles Tapper, Benson Mayowa, Ryan Russell, Lawrence, and probably David Irving.  As far as I am concerned, I think I like that.   Freeney was great last year at times in ArizoI keep seeing rumors that the Cowboys might trade a back. Which one do you think is first out the door?na, but we should remember who he was surrounded by and understand that this is not similar to here.  I think the Cowboys should see what they have here with the new group.  

Q: I keep seeing rumors that the Cowboys might trade a back. Which one do you think is first out the door?

This often upsets people, but when you look at Zeke, Alfred Morris, Lance Dunbar, and Darren McFadden, the one that seems to be the odd man out remains DMC.  He doesn't run the zone scheme well and the others are tailor made for what the team wants to accomplish.  He is very good, but is not a good fit here.  I don't know if you could get much in a trade, but I think that is the possibility in August.

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