- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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We took last Sunday off, just needed a personal day, and we're back with our Cowboys weekend mailbag.
Here we go:
Q: I know Jerry Jones takes a lot of lip regarding his job as a GM (I've given some myself). Check these names out: Anthony Spencer, Orlando Scandrick, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Tyron Smith and Demarco Murray. All drafted by Jones. Are we not giving him enough credit? Second, if the Boys' stay healthy, do you think they can win a Super Bowl? Robert Smith (Austin)
A: It's the other types of picks, such as Robert Brewster, David Arkin, Felix Jones among others that don't help Jones. Yes, Jones makes the final decision on those picks, but Wade Phillips wanted Spencer drafted. Phillips also liked Chris Johnson over Felix Jones. Lee and Carter were solid second-round picks who fell because of health issues. Bryant is a talented player, but numerous teams passed him because of potential off-the-field problems. Jones should get credit but the Cowboys have won just two playoff games since their last Super Bowl. That's on Jones' ledger. As far as if they stay healthy, any NFL team, if they stay healthy, can win a Super Bowl. I don't think the Cowboys have Super Bowl talent on the roster, but good enough players to make a run in the postseason, should they get there.
Q: Calvin, I have been a Cowboys fan since I was a kid. I feel like this offseason is a catastrophe. Rather than making tough choices on fading or overpriced veterans (Ratliff, Free, Austin) they just pushed out salaries. I'm asking, is their any reason I should feel confident in what this team is doing or should I spend my fall looking for a hobby? Matt Ellison (Chantilly, Va.)
A: Take up a hobby. Seriously. The Cowboys are a mediocre franchise right now. Consecutive 8-8 seasons with no playoff berth the last three seasons back that up. The Cowboys have some good talent to reach the postseason, but for numerous reasons aren't good enough at the right moments of NFL games to do it.
A: Spears is a run stopper and Umenyiora is a pass rusher. You can move Spears to the interior of the line and I think he'll produce for you there. Umenyiora is more of an edge player who has dealt with injuries the last few seasons. While I think Umenyiora is a solid player in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, the Cowboys have better edge rushers in DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. I'm not sure if the Cowboys want to pay Umenyiora, though the market for pass rushers is down from a financial standpoint and they don't have the cap space available. Dallas has just $102,000 in cap space. Not enough for Umenyiora.
Q: Why is Dallas in the NFC East? How can Dallas address the offensive line problems with less than $200,000 of cap room?
T. Holloway (Virginia Beach, Va.)
A: I'm not going to breakdown the history of why the Cowboys are in the NFC East. But I do understand your question. The division is getting better and you have to question the Cowboys' abilities of improving. I think the Cowboys can't improve in free agency because of a lack of salary cap space. The Cowboys made significant moves in the past regarding free agents and trades. Now they can't do that because of their cap problems. If you're asking do the Cowboys have good players? Yes. Put DeMarcus Ware, Lee, Carter, Bryant on the open market and opposing teams will sign them up. Injuries along the defense hurt and an inconsistent offensive line were the biggest problems for the Cowboys last season. That can't happen again if the team expects to do anything positive in 2013.
Q: Why do you sports writers and sportcasters think they know more than the coaches who interact with players every day? They see them practice, the effort and more importantly they know about nagging injuries that can undermine confidence and productivity. If you were an athlete you know this. Do think the Cowboys staff can't recognize talent? Moy (Houston)
A: Very few sports writers I know, think they're smarter than the coaches. Same with sportscasters. The Cowboys know how to judge talent, just look at some of the players currently on the roster. However sometimes talented players underachieve and scouts miss out on some players. It's not just with the Cowboys, it's with almost every other NFL team.