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.
“Where do the coaches carry three defensive tackles? At the nose or three-technique?
(Ed Ricks via Facebook)
Mike - Neville Gallimore is the biggest question at the 3-tech position and Quinton Bohanna is the biggest question at the 1-tech position. Personally I think Gallimore will be a struggle to make the final roster since he’s looked the least effective out of the interior defensive linemen. If they played him more as a 3-tech as opposed to trying to make him play more as a 1-tech then he could look much better, but that’s the coaches decision. If there’s any player that could be used as trade bait this preseason it could be Gallimore, so be on the lookout for that. On the 1-tech side, the addition of Mazi Smith puts Bohanna’s role in jeopardy.
The question really becomes which side on defense do they feel least concerned about, pass rushers or run stopping. If they want to cover the run more then Bohanna stays to cover fatigue and injury. If they decide they want more pass rushers then Gallimore stays to add more pressure. If I’m making that decision then I would keep Bohanna and go long on 1T/NT players. The Cowboys pass rush is extremely effective where the run stopping had moments of struggle last year.
Brandon - The question is more about which defensive tackles make the roster. Four wild cards are at the position with Chauncey Golston, Junior Fehoko, Neville Gallimore, and Quinton Bohanna. Golston and Fehoko are “tweener” players that can take snaps inside or outside at edge, but where will they be playing most of the time? I believe both will be playing primarily at defensive tackle.
If both tweeners make the roster, and so do Mazi Smith and Johnathan Hankins, that leaves Bohanna or Gallimore to make the final cut. Gallimore gives more upside as a pass rusher but seemed out of the coach’s favor last season. Bohanna could get the upper hand to be a security blanket in case Hankins misses time due to injury, which means Gallimore is off the roster.
“Which player will be better this year, Jalen Tolbert or KaVontae Turpin?
(James Caery via Facebook)
Mike - If it’s based on total work, then Turpin wins this race. He gets time off after a super long season when you look at his time going directly from one league (USFL) to another (NFL). Some rest time will help him focus on his role at Dallas more and be less gassed late in the season. He’s solidified his position on kick and punt returns, and he did a good job last year. What he does on special teams helps swing momentum in a game and that can’t be underestimated. Will Tolbert take a jump? Probably and he should be better than last year, but that bar is low.
Brandon - Jalen Tolbert might see more opportunities on offense than Turpin, but if the former Pro Bowl returner can house a few touchdowns, he’ll be getting more of the spotlight.
Tolbert has been attached to the hip of Brandin Cooks, training with the veteran receiver almost all offseason. They’ve been doing speed training and getting in the ring to work on boxing. There is no better person to hang around than Cooks, given he’s been in the league for almost a decade.
Poll Of The Week: Finally on the Mailbag, we asked you which of the defensive position coaches makes the biggest impact to the Cowboys defense. Here are the results and our take on the poll.
Mike - The strength of this team. especially on defense, is the pass-rushing ability and speed to the ball carrier. Durde has a big say in how that’s improved and become such an effective part of the defense. Any team he’s been a part of that’s always been the case, and that’s going all the way back to his days coaching in the British leagues. Even those teams dominated in the trenches with speed and physicality, so no wonder we see the same effect happen in Dallas when he arrived.
Brandon - It’s a shame Scott McCurley didn’t get any votes for the exercise. When speaking to the media at the charity Home Run Derby, Leighton Vander Esch talked about how this year’s linebacker group is younger than last season. The average age of the room is 24 years old, and 2.5 years of NFL experience, which doesn’t include the rookies. Speaking with former Cowboys linebacker Justin March-Lillard this week on The Writer’s Block Podcast, he talked about his time working with McCurley and how he can be a resource to the youth of his unit.
He talked about how McCurley is a great teacher and could be the difference in mitigating the lack of experience with the rookies who could play an essential role on this team, like DeMarvion Overshown.