Thursday, June 28, 2012
Andre Holmes has edge for No. 3 WR
By Calvin Watkins ESPNDallas.com
After a week off, I've decided to give the people a chance to take over.
So here are the super seven best mailbag questions of the week.
Some highlights: I tell you Jerry Jones' worst contract since I've been on the beat. A reader wants to know who has the edge to be the third wideout. The interior of the offensive line is a concern to another reader, and the idea of trading Mike Jenkins for Percy Harvin is discussed.
Andre Holmes is emerging from a group of receivers for the No. 3 spot after offseason practices.
Here we go.
Q: Dallas still doesn't seem to have a front runner for the third wide receiver spot. Has there been any thought to utilizing Felix Jones in the slot? He's really quick and seems to have good hands. -- Brandon (Indiana)A: It's early in the summer to think about moving Jones to a wide receiver spot in certain situations. Jones is a running back who makes people miss in space, and he's good at catching the ball out of the backfield. The Cowboys are going to allow one of their young wideouts a chance to make this team as the third receiver. As of now, I'd give Andre Holmes the lead, followed by Kevin Ogletree, Danny Coale, Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway. Holmes was more consistent than his competitors in offseason workouts. I've seen Ogletree drop a touchdown pass and Radway stumble in his routes. While Holmes isn't perfect, he's been consistent, and that's what the coaches like to see. Harris hasn't been flashy and might not be fast enough to earn enough snaps on offense. It could all change once we get to Oxnard, Calif., though.
Q: I have concern with the safety position. The two safeties I feel have been a huge area of weakness for this team the last couple of years. I am not a fan of Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball or Abram Elam. So who do we have? Who are going to be [Rob] Ryan's two safeties this year? -- Thanks, Michael Coon (Carrollton, Texas)A: OK, let's go over this. Sensabaugh played through a foot injury last season, but he's an average safety. Ball moved to cornerback last season after struggling at safety in 2010. He is no longer with the team. Elam was average, and now he's in Kansas City. Brodney Pool will be given the chance to make the roster as one of the safeties alongside Sensabaugh. Barry Church and Matt Johnson are also in the mix for playing time. It wouldn't surprise me if Pool doesn't make the team. The Cowboys gave him just a $100,000 signing bonus, and he's coming off a bad year with the New York Jets.
Q: Calvin, are the Cowboys going to get veteran help on the offensive line, specifically at the center position? -- Jose Munoz (Reedley, Calif.)A: Jose, Phil Costa is going to get the chance to return as the starting center. He had some growing pains last season, and that's going to happen with young players in the NFL at high-profile spots. I don't see another veteran center coming in at this stage unless Costa and some of the other younger interior linemen struggle. Watch for Kevin Kowalski as a possible replacement for Costa at center.
Q: What do you think is more important on an NFL defensive roster: DBs who make the QB hold the ball longer or LBs/defensive linemen who make him get rid of it more quickly? I ask because we won't be able to keep an abundance of both. We've chosen the DBs and I wonder if we made the right choice. -- Franklin Jones (Charlotte, N.C.)A: I don't have a problem with the Cowboys' front seven. How could I have an issue with DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher? I don't. Now, the secondary is where there are issues. We assume Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Mike Jenkins and/or Orlando Scandrick will get the bulk of the playing time. Claiborne is a rookie corner, and it's not guaranteed he'll step in and make an impact, although I believe he will. I asked Carr a few weeks ago whether a better pass rush is predicated on the secondary's coverage or the pass-rushers laying pressure on the quarterback. It's not a clear answer, but you need at least one good player in both areas, and the Cowboys have that in Ware and either Carr or Claiborne or Jenkins.
Q: Does a swap of disgruntled players make sense for the Cowboys? Percy Harvin for Mike Jenkins. -- Kwong (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
A: Well, the Vikings said they're not trading Harvin -- and I wouldn't if I were them -- and the Cowboys are keeping Jenkins, as they should. Harvin would be a great addition to the roster but at some point you have to pay him a big salary and the Cowboys are not doing that. Health is an issue for cornerbacks at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys used five last season, so keeping Jenkins makes good business sense.
Q: Do you think there is a chance that Sean Lissemore, Josh Brent or Clifton Geathers could play some NT to allow Jay Ratliff to play some defensive end to free him up a bit? -- Ryan Beatty (Springfield, Mo.)A: There are some packages in Ryan's defense in which Ratliff moves to a defensive tackle position. I asked defensive line coach Brian Baker about moving Ratliff to end full time, and the answer was no. Ratliff wore down last season due to an injury, but he was still an effective player.
Q: I think the contract given to Scandrick is one of the worst decisions Jerry Jones has made in a while. Jenkins is clearly the better corner between the two. But it is this contract that will bring Jenkins' end in Dallas, and he would have made a great No. 2 or 3 corner. All this talk of how the Cowboys "like Scandrick's ability to cover receivers in the slot," makes me crazy. I watched the same games they did last year. He had little to no impact on this defense. His contract would suggest that he is a playmaker. He clearly is not. What do you think is the worst recent move made by the worst GM in football? -- Houston (Los Angeles)A: In my years on this beat, started in 2006, I would say the worst contract Jones gave was the five-year, $45 million deal he gave to Roy Williams with about $26 million guaranteed. The worst first-round draft pick under Jones since 2006 has been Bobby Carpenter.