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Cowboys mailbag: Questions on winning on the road, defending the run, and Brandon Aubrey

Our latest mailbag features plenty of questions about the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Every week, we take questions on Twitter and Facebook about Dallas Cowboys players and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

“Is there a reason why the Cowboys struggle on the road but are so dominant at home?”

(Riley Bragginton via Facebook)

Mike: Tough question, but one reason I can see is the age of the Cowboys team. The Cowboys own the sixth-youngest roster in the league, and when the roster is so young that means its lacks a little in experience. Playing on the road you need leadership and experience and that perhaps plays its part in the team performing away from home.

Brandon: If there were a great answer, I’m sure the Cowboys would love to hear it. Unfortunately, there’s no real reason why other than they have played four of the top ten teams on the road—San Francisco, Miami, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. The losses to the Dolphins and Eagles shouldn’t be looked at as backbreaking because if a few things go in Dallas’ favor, they win those games.

The blowout losses to the 49ers and the Bills should be the most concerning. However, if the Cowboys can show they have the capability to beat the Lions at home and win at Washington, it should be enough momentum to go on the road in the playoffs to win, at least in the Wild Card round.

“Why do the Cowboys struggle to stop the run?”

(Andrew Valante via Facebook)

Mike: The lack of a solid run stopping linebacker is one problem. The Cowboys have fine linebackers, but a guy like Markquese Bell is more nickel linebacker or hybrid type defender. Damone Clark is the only true linebacker on the roster and that is showing up on run defense. The Cowboys defense isn’t doing badly at stopping inside runs, but runs off tackle is where they struggle. If they face teams that have a mobile quarterback, things get pretty messy for this defense that’s predicated so much on the pass rush. But on the other side of this argument is this defense just showed it can stop the run. They faced Miami last week who was fourth in rush yards and just held them to 91 rush yards.

Brandon: It's unfortunate that Leighton Vander Esch and Johnathan Hankins are currently missing, as both are key contributors to stopping the run and their absence is felt greatly. The front office has made an effort to add resources to the defense to bolster this area, but the lack of proven depth at linebacker has really hurt the team. While the development of Damone Clark and Markquese Bell as linebackers hasn't been the worst, there are still growing pains.

Despite these challenges, the Cowboys' defense has been relatively successful in limiting opposing running attacks. For a long stretch of the season, they didn't allow a single rusher to go over 100 yards in a game. If the team can somehow improve in the following weeks and get more comfortable at their positions, it would help a lot. However, given how late in the season it is, it may be difficult to make significant improvements.

“If Brandon Aubrey stays perfect on the year, should he win Offensive Rookie of the Year?”

(Tony Deseria via Facebook)

Mike: It’s a fair statement since that would be a remarkable achievement. It’s rare for a kicker to stay perfect on the year and no kicker in his rookie year has done what Aubrey has managed this year. The issue facing Aubrey winning the award is obviously he’s not an offensive player (but I get the idea of a kicker being classed as one), but also the award goes to the quarterback position or occasionally wide receiver. Both those positions are well represented this year.

Brandon: I think it would be an interesting discussion, but Aubrey isn't as popular as players like C.J. Stroud and Puka Nacua. However, I believe he has already proven himself as a Pro Bowl and even an All-Pro kicker. To me, that's more valuable than winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. He has been exceptional for Dallas this season, and I hope he receives recognition for it, whether he remains perfect on field goal attempts this year or not.

Poll

How many points will Dallas score this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    0-10
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    11-20
    (19 votes)
  • 40%
    21-30
    (91 votes)
  • 50%
    31+
    (114 votes)
227 votes total Vote Now

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