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Saturday, July 26, 2008
Mosley's Weekend Mailbag

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley 

I just read through 113 of your questions. You guys are prolific. If you can keep up this pace, I'll try to dip into the mailbag at least two or three times a week.

Today we begin in El Paso, where Josh has a question about the Cowboys release of wide receiver Terry Glenn.

Q: With or without Terry Glenn, do the Cowboys need to get a veteran wide receiver or do they have enough in house? I am not sure Patrick Crayton or Sam Hurd are ready to take on the No. 2 spot behind Terrell Owens.

Mosley: Josh, as you've probably heard by now, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reneged on his offer to Terry Glenn and released him Friday. Jones has spent part of the offseason openly coveting the likes of Roy Williams, Chad Johnson and Anquan Boldin. But even though Boldin's now saying he won't re-sign with the Cardinals, the Cowboys aren't going to land him. Crayton proved last season that he can be a reliable No. 2 receiver and self-appointed team spokesman. With the possible exception of Jason Witten, Crayton has the best hands on the team. He had nearly 700 yards receiving and seven touchdowns in the absence of Glenn. That's why I've never understood why the Glenn story has received so much attention. The guy played four snaps last season and he has a bum right knee. Barring an injury to T.O. (doomsday scenario), the Cowboys should be fine at receiver.


Patrick from the the University of Virginia has a lot on his mind: Scouts Inc. had the Cowboys ranked in the top ten at almost every position. I do not see eye-to-eye with these rankings -- especially at the running back position. Their two backs include one that has never been a full-time starter and an unproven rookie (who everyone assumes is going to be great). How do these two running backs get ranked ahead of the Giants running backs with Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward. All three of them proved that they can be successful in the NFL (Jacobs went over 1,000 yards in 11 games while Marion Barber did not and has never reached that total). Also, I am wondering whether you think Marion Barber will be able to make the transition to an every-down back in the league. With his physical running style and the drop in his production in the second half of last season, it appears to me that he will not be able to carry the load -- especially in late November and December.

Mosley: I'm not cracking down on length since this is our first mailbag, but let's try to limit questions to 1,000 words or less. No, you're welcome here anytime Patrick. I don't think the tandem of Marion Barber and Felix Jones is better than Jacobs-Bradshaw. Jacobs loves to punish defenders and then Bradshaw gives them a change-of-pace. In the NFC title game, it was Bradshaw who carried the load in the fourth quarter.

Regarding your other question, I don't think Barber will be an every-down back. You don't draft Felix Jones in the first round if you're not going to feed him the ball 12 or 13 times a game. Barber will be the starter, but he won't be anything close to an every-down back. Unless you're Larry Johnson or LaDainian Tomlinson, you don't have every-down backs anymore. Even Purple Jesus has a wingman in Chester Taylor.

The Eagles have to limit Brian Westbrook to about 15 carries per game, and he's the best back in the division.


Sam from Knoxville, Tenn., now has the floor: First, I would like to say that I loved your columns while you were with the Dallas Morning News. I became a Cowboys fan in 1977 and have been TrueBlue ever since. Now that the Terry Glenn trade has gone down, how about Eric Parker from San Diego? Based on his numbers, I would sign him now and let him recover on T.O.'s sideline excercise bike.

Mosley: Sam, you're off to an amazing start in the mailbag. You just seem so perceptive. At this point, the Cowboys don't have any interest in Parker. Pretty nice player, but they don't want someone nursing an injury. Jerry would love to somehow land Boldin, but he'd have to give up a lot. It looks like you're stuck with Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd -- and that's not an awful thing.


Eric from Charleston, S.C., thinks the Redskins have karma on their side: Matt, do you believe in my superstition that the Redskins will win the Super Bowl this year due to the fact that after the Giants' previous Super Bowl victories ('85 & '90), the Redskins won the following year?

Mosley: Eric, at this time, I'm choosing not to believe in that particular superstition. I was aware of that situation, but I think the Redskins will have to overcome long odds to make a Super Bowl run. First, you have a first-time head coach working with a relatively inexperienced quarterback. You definitely upgraded the defense with Jason Taylor, but I still don't think the defensive line is a huge strength. And you're hoping one or both of the rookie wide receivers can make an immediate impact. Did I mention the intense punting battle going on? (Don't sleep on Frost) ... Could the Redskins make the playoffs? Absolutely. Can they make a Super Bowl run? I think it will take a lot more than good karma to make that happen.


Nick from Connecticut checks in: Winston Justice has taken snaps at guard in practice. Is he still the left tackle of the future or even the right tackle? Or is the Osi Umenyiora game going to follow him around? (For the record, they didn't have a single back or tight end who could help out active for that game).

Mosley: Nick, unfortunately that game will follow Justice around until he gets another shot. On that September evening, I believe Umenyiora had six sacks. Upon further review, only four of them were a direct result of something Justice did wrong, but it was still an awful night. Justice, a second-round pick in 2006, was supposed to be the future left tackle for this team. But if they can plug his 320-pound body in at guard, maybe that's a better fit. Sure seemed to work for Leonard Davis in Dallas last season. Justice added some muscle during the offseason and he's at least sounding like he's confident.


Put your hands together for Brian from Point Pleasant, N.J.: Matt, huge Giants fan (Excuse me Super Bowl Champion New York Football Giants). Will a contract extension get done soon with Plax? No need to create a huge distraction.

Mosley: Brian, Plaxico Burress will get a new deal, but it might not happen before the season. GM Jerry Reese knows that Burress is going to show up and play. With Jeremy Shockey, you didn't know what he was going to do. The Giants believe that Burress will put his pride aside and have a strong season. I think they'll get the contract done in September or October. Even with the release of his new book and all the sniping he's been doing, the Giants will take their time. Reese and Tom Coughlin don't mind letting Burress blow off steam at management.

I'll try to check in again from Southern California on Sunday. I'm headed there for a few days of Cowboys training camp and then I'll make my East Coast swing. Great questions, folks. Keep 'em coming.

Have a nice weekend! And someone tell me if "Step Brothers" is any good.