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Dallas Cowboys mailbag: Question on kicker and wide receiver worries, and fewer interceptions in 2022

People have questions about the Cowboys, and we strive to provide the answers.

Dallas Cowboys v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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

“How many kickers have the Cowboys had in to try out?”

(Submitted by Keith Hopkins via Facebook)

Mike - As of yet it’s still just Tristan Vizcaino that’s an option for Dallas. Since John Fassel said before the draft he wanted to “bring in anyone on earth”, the front office has not budged one inch in finding someone else. The assumption is someone will come in before training camp, and most are calling for San Francisco’s ex-kicker Robbie Gould. He comes with problems like age and also not being someone you can rely on for kickoffs, so the team could look elsewhere. Keep an eye on kickers from the XFL and USFL right now, that is something Mike McCarthy has talked about in past press conferences. As weird as this feels to not have a kicker ready for the season, remember that last year the team didn’t sign Brett Maher until mid-August.

Brandon - At the beginning of the month, the Cowboys held a workout with seven free-agent players, and none of them were kickers. The front office and the coaching staff are comfortable going with Tristan Vizcaino as their only kicker heading into training camp. To my knowledge, the team has not had a kicker in yet for a workout, but I expect that to change once they head to Oxnard in July. Special teams coach John Fassel spoke about not having a kicker take unnecessary reps during OTAs and minicamp to wear down their leg. When the Cowboys head on the bus to the airport in late July, I think another kicker will be on the bus with them.

“Any word on Dennis Houston’s second-year development?”

(Submitted by Big Lebarski via Facebook)

Mike - So far apart from his private workouts with Dak there hasn’t been much reported. Houston flashed in camp last year but fizzled out quickly during the regular season. In part that was due to his biggest strength, his connection with Dak, getting cut away from him in Week 1. But more to the question for Houston is was he just a one-camp wonder, or does he have something to offer toward the offense. Let’s see how he does in training camp and during the preseason games and revisit the question as to his development.

Brandon - Along with the rest of the receivers, Dennis Houston has been present for almost every off-the-field workout with Prescott. That will go a long way into building their chemistry before the long road ahead of him to make the team in 2023. Not only will he be battling Jalen Brooks, the Cowboys’ seventh-round draft pick, but he could compete with a fourth tight end, a fourth running back, or another depth piece on the roster. To answer the question, Houston’s been doing all the right things, but we won’t know how his development looks until training camp.

“What happened last year to the ball hawks we had in 2021?”

(Submitted by @k5stkDonny via Twitter)

Mike - I somewhat disagree with the idea the Cowboys defensive backs failed to get takeaways. It’s true the number of interceptions were down from the previous season, but the team still finished with the fourth-most, and DaRon Bland had the second-most interceptions by a rookie cornerback. What made the numbers look so different was the Trevon Diggs effect. Every week Diggs was coming away with a takeaway so fans just felt like that trend would follow the next year. Instead. he was more cautious and took fewer gambles, and in my opinion, played better last season than he did in 2021. The interceptions will come, and with a guy like Stephon Gilmore that’s no stranger to catching the ball, expect the Cowboys interception numbers to be one of highest as a team this year.

Brandon - I agree with Mike on this one. The Cowboys’ defense led the NFL in takeaways in back-to-back seasons and was the first team to do so since the Steelers’ “Steel Curtain” of the 1970s. Sure, Trevon Diggs didn’t have 11 interceptions, but DaRon Bland showed he’s capable of being a ballhawk, and with the addition of Stephon Gilmore, I think there will be more to have. The cornerback position in the NFL is so volatile that the league leaders can change almost every season, with Jalen Ramsey being the only exception to the rule. As long as they continue to shut down offenses and help create turnovers, there’s no need to put pressure on just one player to do so. If the entire team is contributing, then that’s an elite defense.

Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag, we asked which offensive linemen will breakout for Dallas this year. Here are the results and our take on the poll.

Mike - All I’m saying is don’t sleep on Chuma Edoga. The guy is actually sneaky talented, he just hasn’t the chance to prove it due to injuries. But I would go with who the majority picked and select Waletzko to breakout this year also. I had high hopes for him last year, it’s just unlucky he got the injury before getting to prove himself. If he stays healthy this year then I have no doubt he will be the backup right tackle, and if Steele has to take an extra week to ready himself from his injury and miss Week 1, I’m not upset at the idea of Waletzko being the starter.

Brandon - In lockstep with the poll, I think the two players with a guaranteed spot on the roster will be Matt Farniok and Matt Waletzko. Farniok is someone the coaching staff loves because he can play almost every position on the offensive line. Not to mention he’s the team’s backup center and potential left guard. If Waletzko can take a year-two leap as the poll expects, it could create a scenario where the team decides to move on from Terence Steele in 2024 if they can’t come to a contract agreement, and Waletzko becomes the starting right tackle. The final spot in the o-line room might come down to Edoga and Ball. The veteran presence of Edoga could be something the team covets, but they also love to protect their draft picks. If it were a coin flip, I would say they give Ball one more chance.

Be sure to check Blogging The Boys as well as @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter and also Facebook for the weekly post, asking for your questions to include in the weekly mailbag. Also, check for the Poll of The Week on Twitter. Many thanks to everyone that sends in your questions and votes.

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