Kristi Scales, the sideline reporter for the Dallas Cowboys radio network, recently took to answering questions from readers of the Dallas Morning News.
Question: Why isn't Taco Charlton seeing the field? The young man has been invisible.
Scales: Taco Charlton has three tackles through five games. He's seeing the field as part of a rotation, he's just not making an impact. Entering Sunday's game, he was on the field for 36 percent of defensive snaps through the first three weeks.
In the box score from Sunday's loss to the Packers, he was not credited with a tackle (the statistic could change when we get results of coaches' film). Even if he gets an assist, it's still a very slow start for a first-round pick through the first five games of a season.
The team knew they would have to be patient with him and develop him, but you need a bigger impact from a first-rounder, especially when the biggest question mark for your defense over the past few years has been pass rush.
He's not seeing as much of the field as other rookies in his draft class because he hasn't earned the playing time. It's very simple. Both head coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli have been blunt when asked about Taco's production. They say they need to see more from him. To which Cowboys Nation adds an "amen." He needs to show the coaches more to earn additional snaps in the rotation on game day.
Question: In your mind what is the No. 1 concern for this team right now?
Scales: The defense needs takeaways! Three takeaways in five games is not cutting it. So far, there are two interceptions (one each by Anthony Brown & Jourdan Lewis) and one fumble recovery (Maliek Collins). The Cowboys offense has scored following each of those takeaways (two TDs, one FG), so that's an average of 5.7 points per takeaway.
Question: Where do you think an Irving-Lawrence duo ranks among the NFC's best pass rushing duo?
Scales: Irving has not shown enough consistency yet (unless he's playing the Packers) to put a Lawrence-Irving "duo" among other established duos in the NFL. When Irving is on, he's terrific. He can really disrupt the offense. But he needs to do so on a consistent basis. That's not a slam, just a fact. He's got the physical talent and size to be a dominating player; now he needs time and experience and consistency to reach his potential. He's also a fun, engaging young man with a bright future if he can stay the course.
Question: Do you think Chidobe Awuzie can excel as a safety if Dallas wants Jourdan Lewis to play CB?
Scales: Chido Awuzie practiced at safety leading into the Green Bay game and, before re-aggravating a hamstring injury, was rotating into the game at safety...especially with Kavon Frazier inactive. Awuzie was the primary backup at safety last Sunday, and playing in the sub-packages.
Lewis will continue to play cornerback; the coaches love what he can do in the slot so he'll continue to get tons of playing time. With the impending release of Nolan Carroll, will that mean that Awuzie has to get some practice reps during the week at cornerback so that he can be a backup at both CB and S?