Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter about the upcoming Dallas Cowboys game and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.
@CraigSykes: Are we confident that the run defense is good enough for a deep playoff run?
Brandon: Over two weeks, we’ve seen the run defense be at its best against some of the NFL’s best. Holding Dalvin Cook to 75 yards rushing and Saquon Barkley to 39 yards is something to stand on as a unit. We’re left wondering what could have happened had the Vikings decided to run the ball more. However, the Giants have been determined to run the ball all season and failed on Thanksgiving. In their defense, the offensive line was really banged up, but a victory like that against a run-first team can build confidence and momentum against more formidable teams. We’ll see some of the league’s best rushing attacks in the coming weeks to know how confident the rush defense is come playoffs. All systems go if they can hold Philadelphia and Tennessee to under 100 yards each.
Mike: Personally I think the way this run defense gets better is by the offense continuing to put up points and forcing the opposition to have play catch up and throw. A lot of people talk of how the Cowboys defense helps the offense, but what if it’s the other way round? And the way this offense is putting up points since Dak has found his form suggests this is the way forward. In the last two games, the Cowboys faced both Saquon Barkley and Dalvin Cook, two of the ferocious running backs in the league, and only allowed 111 yards between them.
@Gordonkin: Do you think our secondary is going to be good enough to take us deep into the playoffs?
Brandon: Out of the 20 years I’ve watched the Dallas Cowboys and the eight years since writing about them, this has been the best secondary the team has had in a long time. While there aren’t as many takeaways this season, I think you can see the development of the unit holding some of the best wide receivers under their usual production. The Cowboys have played Ja’Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp, Terry McLaurin, A.J Brown, and Justin Jefferson this season. The defense has allowed 22 catches for 294 yards and two touchdowns combined to those receivers. 125 of those yards came from Kupp, and 75 of those came on one play. Those are some of the NFL’s elite regarding their position, and the Cowboys have limited them to two games worth of production. A lot of that has to do with teams running the ball and the effectiveness of the Cowboys’ pass rush. However, credit has to be given to the continuity of the secondary and what they’ve been able to accomplish this season. I’d say they’re ready for the playoffs.
Mike: Trevon Diggs, Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse. That’s a great start to a list of effective defensive backs. DaRon Bland is getting his share of being picked on, which is a lot of people’s concern. But the pass rush the Cowboys posses is so scary, and causes so many issues, there is enough confidence there that this defensive back room, which has plenty of depth if the worse should happen down the line, to keep their end the bargain in the playoffs. The Cowboys right now allow 177 passing yards per game, that’s the best in the NFL. All we need is that trend to continue.
@JossyFarries: What do you guys think of us maybe signing OBJ? Is it a no brainier?
Brandon: I said this on The Writer’s Block Podcast a few weeks ago. The Cowboys want Odell Beckham Jr. other teams like the New York Giants need him. Dallas would be better off having Beckham in the building. I truly believe having him on the field for the fourth down call in Green Bay could have opened something up for another receiver to make a play, or he would have made it himself. Wide receiver is the Cowboys’ biggest position of need, but it’s not crippling their team right now. In the case of the New York Giants, having a player like Beckham could have changed the outcome of their most recent loss to Dallas on Thanksgiving. A player like him opens the box for teams that like to run the football because attention needs to be paid to the receiver. The Cowboys have found a way to succeed with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Noah Brown to allow Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott to succeed in the run game. Suppose Dallas signs Beckham, fantastic. If they lose out to another team offering more money, this team will still be in contention for a deep postseason run.
Mike: To have him would nice yes. But the way the tight ends are playing right now, I wonder how adding a guy like OBJ will upset that apple cart. The twelve and thirteen man personnel the Cowboys keep using is proving to be extremely effective and hard to defend. Adding a player that has has two ACL injuries, hasn’t taken a snap in over a year, and knows nothing of the playbook as the Cowboys inch closer to a post season is a risk for now. But is he a no-brainer for next year? Certainly
Be sure to check @kenfigkowboys and @brandoniswrite on Twitter for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag.