by Dallas Cowboys Mailbag, Nick Eatman & David Helman
The recent injury to Dak, fortunately not considered serious, reminds us that the "one play away" theory is so true. But isn't it smarter to stand pat with the current three backups and allow us time to evaluate their play in practice and in the upcoming preseason games? And then depending how they do, we can explore the waiver wire as the preseason winds down for possible upgrades, if need be? - JOHN WALKER / AUSTIN, TX
Nick: Yes. And that is pretty much what every team does at every position. You sign players in the offseason and teach them the scheme. They go out and practice and in most cases, get to play in the preseason games. If at that point, you don't think the position is good enough to enter the season, you go on the outside and look for help. At quarterback, this injury to Dak will give Gilbert and Rush and even DiNucci more reps to show the staff what they've got. So that is a silver lining because it's not a major setback but enough to give us a better idea for the No. 2 spot.
David: I think that's a good point. These three guys who have been here all offseason have a better understanding of the offense and what the coaching staff wants. At the same time, you can't replicate NFL experience, and a guy like Blake Bortles has a lot more of it than any of the backups in this camp. Ultimately, I don't think it's a huge issue either way. But I'd love to feel a bit more confident in the backup situation.
From what I have read and heard, Dan Quinn brings a lot of energy and passion to practice. Is his presence noticeably different from past coordinators? And how is he being viewed by players and staff so far? - NATHAN MATTISON / GLENS FALLS, NY
Nick: That's like three different questions all rolled into one, but they have different meanings to me. First of all, the energy and passion is somewhat irrelevant to me. Rod Marinelli had passion. Rob Ryan had passion. Kris Richard had it, too. That doesn't always translate to the players on the field. But from what we've seen out of Dan Quinn, he seems like he's got that good mix of teacher and motivator. I think the biggest challenge that any coordinator has, is finding ways to simply the scheme enough for the players to grasp, without making it too vanilla for opposing teams to figure out, too. So far, it seems like Quinn is doing a good with that. But like with anything, we will see.
David: I'm not going to generalize too much, because Rod Marinelli was one of the most passionate and energetic coaches I've ever seen. But there is definitely more energy and involvement with Dan Quinn than we saw last year with Mike Nolan. This defense is much more talkative, communicative and maybe even confident, and I think that's a reflection of their coaches.