Friday, April 4, 2014
Chat leftovers: Changing Cowboys' mindset
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- We had more than 190 questions in Wednesday's chat, so there is a lot to pick from in this week's chat leftovers.
But first a leftover question: What's better Thanksgiving leftovers or Easter leftovers? I'm going Thanksgiving. Nothing like a cold turkey sandwich with stuffing on wheat bread.
And away we go:
Rick (San Antonio): Todd, the Boys have been one game away from advancing to the tourney. And JJ is always on cue to mention that and seems to be happy with a team that barely gets into the playoffs. Will his mentality change to form a team that can dominate?
Todd Archer: I get your sentiment, Rick, but I think the days of a team having to dominate from Game 1-16 are largely over. I realize the Seattle Seahawks were good all year, as were the Denver Broncos, but Jerry has seen teams like the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants get hot at the end of the season and make playoff runs. It's not about being the dominant team in September. It's about being ready in December. Clearly the Cowboys haven't been ready in December (or early January) with their three losses in Week 17 the last three seasons, but as Bill Parcells use to say: get in the tournament and anything can happen. Did you have UConn in the Final Four?
Roger Murtaugh (Dallas): Do we still like Tyrone Crawford? Is Crawford's return and the signing of Melton enough to deter the Boys from going D-Line in the first round?
Archer: The Cowboys still like Crawford … a lot. They believe he can play all four line spots, but that seems to be a stretch for me. He's not a nose tackle in base situations and I don't think he's a right defensive end either. He can play either tackle spot in pass-rushing spots. I think he's a left defensive end mostly but can move inside in obvious passing situations. While the Cowboys like him -- a lot -- I don't believe they should have huge expectations where he makes a colossal jump. He's not played a lot of football here lately and he didn't have a sack as a rookie. They should view anything they get from him as gravy. And as for the draft, I don't think Melton's arrival takes the Cowboys out of going defensive line in the first round at all.
Toby (Billings,MT) [via mobile]: Do you think we will see more production from escobar and or hanna this year?
Archer: They better get more out of Gavin Escobar. He has a chance to do some things in the passing game for sure. He can make some tough catches and I think he can really work the seams. Now, do I think he'll be an on-the-line tight end? Not really but that doesn't mean he won't get on the field. I think Scott Linehan will be more creative in getting more out of the 12 personnel package than what they Cowboys did last year. I like Hanna, but I'm not sure how the Cowboys feel about him. I think the Cowboys draft a blocking tight end in the middle to late rounds and if they go with only three tight ends, then Hanna could be the odd-man out.
Mario (South Carolina) [via mobile]: Is the Cowboys organization going to sign any more free agent vets to strengthen the offense and defense up a little more or is scoring high in the draft the big game plan this season.
Archer: I think they're done in free agency until after the draft unless something pop opens that is unexpected. Most of the guys available now have been available since free agency began and the Cowboys have yet to kick the tires really on anybody. I think they wait to see what they get out of the draft and fill in holes with cheap prospects in free agency. One name I'd like to see them go after is safety Steve Gregory. If we're going to play the 'better than' game, while factoring in cost, I think Gregory would be better than the other safeties not names Barry Church. Now that's just my opinion. As I've said, I think the Cowboys are ready to roll with J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath and Matt Johnson for now.
9to82 (Anywhere but here): Aren't all the additions in free agency made by Skins, Eagles, and Giants really just "march madness"? People hail DRC signing...reminder, he was terrible in Philly. Can't buy a championship folks.
Archer: I agree with the general statement, but those teams have gotten better to a degree. How much? Who knows? But the Redskins are better with DeSean Jackson. The Eagles are better with Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles. The Giants are better with their flurry of signings. Are the Cowboys better with Henry Melton, Terrell McClain, Jeremy Mincey and Brandon Weeden? I'd rather have DeMarcus Ware but I'm OK with Melton over Hatcher, even with Melton coming off the knee injury. The Cowboys have stuck to their free agency plan. They could have spent, but chose not to. They're trying to build the right way. Not that the Eagles, Redskins and Giants made any foolish signings, but I do believe we've seen a lot of times win a title in March that don't make the playoffs in January.
Bruce (Gotham): What would the Cowboys do if Manziel fell to them in the draft?
Archer: If that happened, I wish I could be in the room to hear the conversations. It's actually a conversation they should have before the draft. You have to be prepared to take any player. I don't think the Cowboys were prepared to take Sharrif Floyd last year when he fell to No. 18 and they were killed for dropping down so far. I'd take Manziel, but I'm not the general manager. I can see the Cowboys taking him, but I can see them wishing the phone would ring so they could pick up some extra picks. But do you really believe he will be available at No. 16? I don't.