Chat with Matt Mosley
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com NFC East blogger Matt Mosley stops by to talk about the NFL offseason.
Mosley, an award-winning writer for The Dallas Morning News for seven years, joined ESPN.com in January 2007 and writes columns, features and blogs about the NFL.
Send your questions now and join Mosley on Tuesday at noon ET!
Mosley (12:00 PM)
Allen: If you'll shoot me an e-mail offline, I'll provide you with some better excuses for Romo. I'm afraid the thin air had nothing to do with him missing receivers. I do believe he has a small margin for error these days because he doesn't have receivers who are able to get open on a consistent basis. That's the best I can do for you at this point. And thanks to everyone who's joining us today. We especially want to thank our friends at ESPNDallas for linking to us today.
Mark T (Mansfield, Tx)
Hey Matt, I think Jerry has manuevered himself into a tight spot regarding his coaching staff. Even if the Cowboys continue this uninspired play, Jerry can't fire Wade Phillips this season because he would also lose his defensive coordinator. What do you think? Could Campo take over a 3-4 defense if a mid-season becomes necassary?
Mosley (12:01 PM)
Phillips is in the final year of his contract. It won't be hard for Jerry Jones to fire him at all if things continue to go south. Campo would certainly be in the mix, but I'm sure that either Mike Shanahan or Mike Holmgren would also have some candidates in mind.
Hey Matt,First I wanted to commend you for being the only one from GAC with real perspective. I had a question for you regarding our Boys. When does culture trump talent? I can't remember a time in my life watching the Cowboys where I have heard so many people say we have better personel and we should win yet the results always seem to point in the opposite direction. I have never seen a team with less leadership starting from the head coach all the way to the starting QB. What is frustrating with this team is yes they do have the talent but they don't have direction. No one who wants to be accountable and no one who wants to stop making excuses.I am convinced that we could point out every flaw of this team, secondary, QB play, lack of a #1 WR, health at RB, lack of coaching i.e penalties/turnovers, offensive play calling etc.... We will have new circumstances each week.I want your opinion on the culture of this team specifically around the head coach Wade Philips. I have never seen a head coach more accepting of mediocrity in my life! After a Panthers sloppy win, he goes with a "wins a win" We need better than that. We need a coach that holds his team accountable. Look at what San Fran is doing witth less talent and incredible coach.Thanks! Patrick
Mosley (12:05 PM)
Patrick, I can't disagree with any of your points -- especially the one about GAC! But the culture starts at the top. Jerry Jones is an amazing businessman, but part of being an owner is hiring the right people. It doesn't matter what collection of talent you have if you have a weak head coach and an offensive coordinator who has as much power as the head coach. This all starts at the top. But let's not overrate the talent. Go one by one at receiver with the Cowboys vs. the Broncos. Would you take Williams over Brandon Marshall? I wouldn't in terms of talent. Patrick Crayton over Eddie Royal? No. Sam Hurd over Stokley? Nope. Flozell over Clady? Nope. See where I'm headed with that?
Jason B. (Philly)
Matt: If McNabb isn't sharp in his return this week, do you believe we'll have a QB controversy here between Kolb and McNabb, given how well Kolb has played in McNabb's absence?
Mosley (12:06 PM)
I think it's a little soon for a QB controversy. And fortunately the Eagles are playing a bad Bucs team. Andy Reid knows that McNabb will have to shake off some rest. I don't think we'll see any controversy this early in the season. Just give it time, Jason.
Do you think Steve Smith's emergence as the #1 receiver is more his talent or one on one coverage? It looked like KC was sticking 2 on Manningham a lot of the game.
Mosley (12:07 PM)
I think the emergency of Mario Manningham in past weeks certainly helps Smith's cause. Manningham wasn't good on Sunday, but he's put up some good numbers this season. Part of it is that Steve Smith runs really good routes and he just gets open. I think he's becoming a legit No. 1. And by the way, watch out for Hakeem Nicks. He's on his way.
Jim Fassel,, (Whereever, USA)
I coached the Giants and the Ravens? Wii either or both get to the Super Bowl? If they both got there who wins and why?
Mosley (12:08 PM)
Jim, my money would be on the Giants. If you agree that both teams have excellent defenses, then you go to the offensive side of the ball. Giants have a better running game -- and give me Eli over Joe.
Joey, (Atlanta GA)
Do you think the Giant WRs are as competitive and athletic as the other contenders Minn, GB, New Orleans, Denver, Baltimore, Pitt and the Jets? Will they be a true strength come December and January?
Mosley (12:10 PM)
Are we really going to keep doubting these receivers? I think they have better receivers than the Vikings, Broncos, Ravens and Jets. And it's not even close with the Jets, Ravens and Vikings. Do we think Bernard Berrian's going to be an All Pro this season? Because I think he'll fade.
Matt (Weatherford, TX)
Matt, I am of the mindset that the greatest problem on offense should not lie with Tony, although he has to start practicing what he preaches. But rather with Jason Garrett and maybe Wade Wilson. It just appears to me that they are making the worst mistake any coach could ever make and that is changing Romo via changing your play calling and game planning. Am I off the mark here?
Mosley (12:11 PM)
Matt, I think Romo's in a bad place right now. He's thinking too much instead of trusting his instincts. Jason Garrett doesn't seem to be helping him. I'm not sure how much influence Wilson actually has -- but that's worth me exploring, too.
Joey, (Atlanta GA)
The Giants are better than the Saints and Vikings because.......
Mosley (12:14 PM)
I like what Gregg "The Hammer" Williams has done on defense, but the Giants still have better and deeper personnel. I also think they have superior linebackers and defensive backs to the Vikings. And I'll take Eli Manning over the course of a season to be better than Favre. Drew Brees is probably a better quarterback than Manning at this point, but he doesn't have the running game the Giants have. Someone will slow Brees down -- and it might be the Giants in a couple weeks.
If the Cowboys don't make the playoffs this year is Wade Phillps gone? If he is fired, do you think the Cowboys will go after Jon Gruden for their coach?
Mosley (12:15 PM)
I think Gruden would love to coach this team, but I don't think that's the direction Jerry would go. He's close to both Shanahan and Holmgren. I think it will be one of those guys. Shanahan's replaced Phillips before.
kenneth missouri [via mobile]
if you could be jerry jones for a day and you could bring in one guy from any team and swap him for a cowboys starter who would it be and why
Mosley (12:16 PM)
I'd swap any wideout for Larry Fitzgerald in a heartbeat. That one doesnt' require much thought.
Are the Redskins really as bad as everyone says they are?
Mosley (12:18 PM)
Ryan, I don't know how you could argue otherwise. A win over Philly in a few weeks could certainly change the perception of this team, but that seems like a stretch. This was supposed to be a dominant defense, and that's not happening. We were supposed to see more from Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. And that's not happening. I'm sure Vin Cerrato and company would like to pin this on the loss of Randy Thomas, but that's a WEAK excuse.
Andy Trus (Fair Lawn, NJ)
When will the Cowboys start using Martellus Bennett more? He looks better than any of our receivers other than Roy Williams, I wish we'd throw him the ball more!
Mosley (12:19 PM)
I'm with you. The guy's 6-6 and he can run. Honestly, I think he disappears sometimes. As long as the game plans were VERY basic in the preseason, he was dominant. Now that things have been expanded, it seems like he's thinking too much. And I'm not the only one making that observation.
has celek earn your respect as being one of the top tes in the league or does he need more yrs for you to say that
Mosley (12:21 PM)
I've been on the Celek bandwagon for quite a while now. He came up big in the '08 playoffs and now he's following it up with a strong '09. I think he's taken notes from Jason Witten and Chris Cooley on how to run deceptive routes -- and he'll soon be considered a top-tier TE in the league. Not sure he's there yet, but he's gaining on it.
keith davis (baltimore)
Why does no one give trent cole respect
Mosley (12:23 PM)
It's tough because he plays in the same division as DeMarcus Ware, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. If Cole played in the AFC West, maybe he'd get more attention. But he's considered the fourth-best pass-rusher in the division. I think Cole's a fantastic player. I'll try to write more about him.
Morgan (Brooklyn, NY)
How many wins do the Eagles take from TB, Oakland, and Washington before facing the Giants?
Mosley (12:24 PM)
I think they'll win all those games. By the way, what an intimate gathering we're having today. We usually average over 500, but at least everyone will get there questions answered today. Anyone know what happened to our usual crowd?
Chris (Lynchburg, VA)
Matt there's been reports in the D.C. media that Portis is out of shape, and he seems slower than last year and it's not just his ankles, the horrible OL and Zorn's crazy playcalling. What do you think?
Mosley (12:26 PM)
Portis is almost always banged up, but it normally doesn't affect his production. He's off to a slow start this season, but part of that has to do with Zorn not committing to the running game. Joe Gibbs will tell you that Portis was one of the most fearless players he ever coached. Is he out of shape? No one's told me that.
Just saw that Boley is out for up to 2 weeks. Shouldn't NYG worry that they can't seem to get a healthy defense on the field and it's only week 4? Can you really have this much bad luck with injuries year after year, or does the training/conditioning staff need to be put under the microscope?
Mosley (12:28 PM)
Honestly, I wouldn't worry that much. The Giants always do a good job managing injuries. They won the Beast last season without Osi Umenyiora. Injuries are going to hit you at this point. Better to recover from them now than during the playoffs. Boley will be back. While he's out, Chase Blackburn will step in and play really well. That's the way the Giants do it. If Bradie James got hurt in Dallas, the Cowboys would replace him with Bobby Carpenter. It would be a HUGE dropoff. That's not the case with the Giants.
Matt, are there any QB options out there that might be a better than David Carr if the worst case scenario comes to pass? Perhaps via a trade?
Mosley (12:28 PM)
I'd rather have Garcia starting.
Morgan (Brooklyn, NY)
Is McNabb going to be 100% this week? If not, why play him against TB?!
Mosley (12:29 PM)
He'll be close to 100 percent -- and you have to work him back in there at some point. Why not do it against a struggling team?
If Eli is out, does Bradshaw see more touches?
Mosley (12:30 PM)
OK, I knew something weird was going on. We just jumped up to 236 people on the chat. Whew! I was starting to worry. OK, let's get it to 500 in the next 30 minutes. I don't think Manning being out will increase Bradshaw's numbers, no? The Giants would stay with pretty much the same game plan. David Carr would have to make plays -- and I think he's capable of doing a nice job for a week or two.
james (los angeles)
do the redskins take a qb in the draft? with zorn out that spells the end for campbell right?
Mosley (12:31 PM)
Little early to start talking draft, but I'm sure the Skins will be looking at quarterbacks via free agency and the draft. But let's Jason Campbell a chance to pull himself together and see if he can get on a little roll before we completely write him off.
Hey Matt, who are your wild card picks for this years playoffs if you assume the giants, vikes, saints, and niners are your division winners? I would think Philly and Atlanta. Would you agree?
Mosley (12:32 PM)
actually eagles and packers are more like it for me. Aaron Rodgers will rally this team.
Hey Mosley, when will the NFL wise up and get better officiating? A good suggestion would be getting younger officials instead to those old buzzards! Ron Winters and Walt Colemans crews need to be fired, deported, or something!!!
Mosley (12:34 PM)
I think the NFL values the wealth of experience some of those guys have. But you're starting to some younger guys work their way up. At this point, Goodell isn't looking into deporting any of his officials.
JerseyGiants (T-Fly, NJ)
Hey Matt, your articles get me through a very busy tax season (part II). I'm getting a little sick of the Giants injuires, but none seems season-ending (other than Mr. Phillips of course). Whats going on with the injuries and how much better do you see this team when everyone comes back healthy. Thank you sir.
Mosley (12:35 PM)
The Giants seem to almost embrace adversity. They lost Kenny Phillips, but the secondary is still among the best in the league. Other guys step up. It's the Giants way and it's the Coughlin way. I need major tax help, by the way. Should I have submitted my documents for '07 by now?
Not EVERYONE is getting their question answered. Hook a SoCal'er up. With Donovan's return this week, how do you see the Birds incorporating Vick into the offense? It was one thing to pull Kolb out 10 or so times a game, are they really gonna disrupt McNabb's flow and take the ball out of his hands that often?
Mosley (12:37 PM)
I think they'll actually expand some of the Wildcat plays a little bit. Should be a relatively easy win at home, so you won't see the kitchen sink. But Vick will throw the ball downfield a couple times -- and he'll get some looks in the red zone. Maybe nine or 10 plays. And Andy Reid won't worry about "disrupting Don's flow."
Dave (Charlotte, NC)
Would you go back on your comment from thisd pre-season where you said the redskins should cut their losses with JT Tryon and just let him go? He seems to be doing pretty well as a nickelback.
Mosley (12:38 PM)
Dave:Stop bringing up my past. It's not relevant! No, I was impressed with the way he played Sunday. I don't think he'll ever start in this league, but it's nice to see him making a contribution.
Andy Trus (Fair Lawn, NJ)
If Barber wasn't hurt for the 2nd half, do you think the Cowboys win? Choice wasn't getting a lot of help on the line, but he didn't look good at all.
Mosley (12:40 PM)
Don't forget that Choice had a really nice 17-yard gain called back early in the fourth quarter on a highly questionable holding call on Bennett. I thought the Cowboys were too cautious with Barber. If he can pound away in the first half, then he probably could have played through some "tightness" in the second half.
tomwit nj [via mobile]
Personally, I think the Giants went from having one great WR to having one very good and 3 good WRs. Wait til its Smith,Hicks and Bardem. What is with Tynes inconsistency and weak KOs?
Mosley (12:41 PM)
I think they tried to change a couple of things with Tynes on his kickoff -- and it may be affecting his place-kicking as well. You definitely don't want your kicker making swing changes during the season -- but that's what's going on. It could come back to haunt the Giants. Hey, wasn't Carney pretty accurate?
Ian McClintock (Colorado Springs, CO)
With there being 5 4-0 teams and no one looks like they can stop anyone of them, who do you think will fall first, and why?
Mosley (12:42 PM)
I'm afraid your Broncos are going down this weekend.
Chris (McAllen, TX)
It seems as though the Cowboys offensive playcalling has become very conservative. What worries me as a Cowboys fan, is that if you look at Romo's body language, it seems that it is affecting his psyche. I'm afraid this will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of "bad" Romo all year. 3rd and 6 - handoff? 3rd and 14 - screen to Witten. Their play-calling seem to have no faith in Romo. What do you think?
Mosley (12:44 PM)
I always take question from the Valley. Say hello to the John Simpson family in McAllen. But I think you bring up some good points on Garrett. If Romo's being handcuffed by his offensive coordinator, that's not a good thing. Romo has an excellent mind and great instincts. You start taking away his improv skills and you're going to have problems. He's afraid to make a mistake right now -- and that's a major problem for a QB.
Mike (Girard, PA)
Where was Barber in the second half on Sunday? Had the initial adrenaline worn off and he was really banged up or is Garrett just that stupid? I'm leaning toward the latter.
Mosley (12:44 PM)
Mike, let's not call the Princeton man "stupid." I think the coaches were overly cautious with Barber. I certainly don't think anyone on the medical staff told them to back off on Barber.
Damian (Boulder, CO)
Hi Matt - Thanks for all your coverage of the NFC East. You were in Denver this week. Will you travel for other NFC East match ups? The Giants vs Saints game is going to be huge - and right around the corner from you down there in TX.
Mosley (12:45 PM)
I'll be in Philly this weekend and yes, I plan on being in New Orleans for the Giants game. Thanks for asking. Where should I eat in New Orleans?
Jon (Utica, NY)
Your last chat ended in a Thunder Storm where my question was posted but not answered, so how about atoning for it? How many games will the Giants win the division by?
Mosley (12:46 PM)
The Giants will win it by two games.
Cliff (Wilmington, DE)
How has Dawkins been playing? And how much to the Eagles regret letting him go?
Mosley (12:46 PM)
I saw Dawkins for the first time Sunday. He was as active as always. He saved a touchdown on the long pass to Sam Hurd -- and he brings a ton of emotion to that defense. The man can still play. Sure, the Eagles miss him.
Dmyth12 (getting ready to nap at work)
Romo goes at Champ Bailey 2 consecutive plays. What happen to Witten,Bennett or a screen pass to Choice? They were their advantages. Bailey holds all advantages on those plays.
Mosley (12:48 PM)
Bennett wasn't even on the field. They kept Choice and Witten in to block. You're options were Hurd, Austin and Crayton. I agree. You have to do better. Get Witten in the route. With the game on the line, you have to be able to get Tony's favorite target open.
MJ Gill (Boston)
I think Romo's accuracy is gone....he missed a lot of opportunities for big plays with poor throws. They love that delayed draw, and it works sometimes...Romo needs to make some plays in the pocket with his arm....
Todd (Fort Worth, TX)
Matt, love your work on the blog and local radio. Question, your the Cowboys and the 2010 first round with your choice to take Sam Bradford; do it?
Mosley (12:50 PM)
If Bradford's the best player at where you're picking, then sure go ahead and do the deal. I need to find out a lot more about Bradford's injury before I consider taking him in the first round, though. He may have hurt his draft stock. Romo's the $30 million (guaranteed) man, though. Jerry Jones will ride with Romo.
Jon (Nation's Capital )
Bruce Johnson has played quite well for the G-Men. What do you see in his future with the Giants?
Mosley (12:51 PM)
He's played remarkably well. Tom Coughlin will always find a spot for a guy like Johnson. Lots of natural ability. He'll eventually replace Dockery as the full-time nickel guy. And that could happen soon.
Hi Matt - Do you think Jerry Jones will fire Phillips during the season if Phillips keep losing? I've heard that Shanahan has a deal to take over the Cowboys.
Mosley (12:52 PM)
Really? Put me in touch with your sources, Matt. That's a story I'd be really interested in posting. And no, Jerry Jones doesn't fire coaches during the season. And he's not going to start now.
Its pretty obvious that all doubts for the Giant's WR issues are gone. Who do see as the starters for the next few weeks? I know Smith is a shoe-in, however Manningham played horrible againest KC and Hicks had his TD. I still see Manningham as a starter but if he has another performance against OAK he wil knocked down to #3. Thoughts?
Mosley (12:53 PM)
Russ, Nicks will be starting by the end of the season. You heard it here first.
Paul (Bozeman, Mt)
Does Dallas have enough depth at the saftey position for that unit not to be a weakness?
Mosley (12:54 PM)
Paul, there will be some fall off with Watkins replacing Sensabaugh this weekend. But Watkins played really well in the preseason. Maybe he'll step up his game Sunday.
Mike (Atlanta, GA)
Something needs to be done to change the dynamics on the Cowboys. How can they do this? A trade? Bench Romo when he's playing bad? Have someone like Barber completely blow up in front of the media? Bring back T.O.? Nevermind that won't happen, Barber never talks to the media.
Mosley (12:55 PM)
You can't change the culture in the middle of the season. They just need to start stacking up some wins. Then everything else will take care of itself. And Barber's not going to say anything.
Jake (VA Beach)
If it turns out Eli's injury will linger all year, how much will that hurt their season/chances?
Mosley (12:56 PM)
That would be a huge blow. He makes that offense go. Manning needs to be at full strength. If he's hobbling around the whole season, it will take away from the team. I personally think he'll play through this thing and do fine. It might affect the team a little bit, but they'll still win the Beast.
Why didn't the Cowboys target Dawk in coverage? It was like they forgot who Dawkins is because he changed uniforms.
Mosley (12:56 PM)
Why would you throw at a 36-year-old man when you can fire away at that bum Champ Bailey. Oh wait...
Martin (Blacksburg va)
Hey Matt! Love the blog.... I was wondering what your thoughts one the health care issues in this country are?
Mosley (12:57 PM)
Martin, check out my all-new Obama health care plan blog. Release date TBD.
MJ Gill (Boston)
you take a WR with their first pick...they're 3rd, 4th and 5th recievers were never drafted...that catches up to you...they need a play maker besides "MR. Glass" aka Felix Jones
Mosley (12:59 PM)
I hear what you're saying MJ, but it's not that easy. You don't draft a guy and have him automatically become a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver. Just ask the Skins about that. And Jeremy Maclin and Hakeem Nicks will eventually be really good, but these things take time.
CJ (At Work in NY)
Are you kidding me!!! I ask serious questions about the Giants that have never been posted and you post a BS question about health care
Mosley (1:00 PM)
Oops, a swing and miss, CJ!
Carlos (Tucson, AZ)
Do you think the fact the Giants are in an easy stretch of their schedule ( @ TB, @KC, vs Oak) influnces them on whether to rush back guys like Ross and Canty?
Mosley (1:00 PM)
It might figure in a little, but that's not really how Tom Coughlin operates. If Canty or Ross is ready to go, he'd like to work them back in the rotation before you get to the New Orleans game.
Jason (Calgary, AB)
How do you see the Trotter experiment playing out?
Mosley (1:02 PM)
You know, I'm pretty interested in this one. Trotter's almost been out of the game for two full season. He's apparently in excellent shape, but it's hard to start taking the pounding again after a long layout like that. He'll contribute some, but I'd be really surprised if he returns to his '04 form.
Who is the quarter season BEAST MVP?
Mosley (1:03 PM)
Let's go with Steve Smith
Chris (Denver, CO)
Isn't the only way that you test Dawkins is when the WR's beat the DB's, which they didn't in that game? Denver's DB's didn't let the Dallas receivers get behind them.
Mosley (1:04 PM)
Yes, the Broncos did a great job of running their corners out on a consistent basis, which means they basically backed way off the line of scrimmage and only allowed the underneath stuff. I think it really frustrated Jason Garrett and Tony Romo. It's the same thing the Steelers and Ravens did last season -- for the most part.
sharon (miami, fl)
Any chance the Oakland game is a trap game for the giants?
Mosley (1:04 PM)
Coughlin doesn't allow traps. That's why he may use an old Parcells tactic and put out some rat traps around the building. The message is "don't eat the cheese."
Jimi (Oakland, Ca)
Why did the cowboys get rid of Ellis for Spencer who hasn't did anything this season. Also would you agree that the cowboys would be a better team if they had a head coach that rule with an iron fist sort of like how Singelarty is doing in San Francisco?
Mosley (1:07 PM)
Guys, we're in the overtime period. My editors are summoning me back to the NFC East blog. This may be the longest I've ever been away from it in the past two years. You guys have been awesome -- as always. Last answer: Getting rid of Ellis is looking pretty bad right now. Anthony Spencer is bringing almost nothing to this defense. He missed on an INT opportunity near the goal line and he's not helping out Ware in the pass-rush. Ware has ZERO sacks after four games -- and Spencer's not helping his cause.
CJ (not the one in NY) (Jacksonville, FL)
What do you see as the top 5 in the power rankings looking like?
Mosley (1:08 PM)
I'm pretty sure the power rankings were just released. I'm racing over to the blog to analyze them. Hopefully the Giants are in the lead spot. You guys have been awesome. We surpassed the 600-question mark. No other division blog in the country can do that. All my best!MM