Chat with Todd Archer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPNDallas.com Dallas Cowboys writer Todd Archer stops by to talk about the NFL season.
Archer joined ESPNDallas.com in November 2010. He's covered the NFL since 1997 and the Cowboys since 2003. He covered the Bengals and Dolphins before arriving in Dallas. A Massachusetts native, Archer lives in the Dallas area with his wife and two children.
Send your questions now and join Archer at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Todd Archer (12:58 PM)
I see a lot of questions already. Can only imagine where this will go ...
Damon Santiago (Bronx, NY)
Just wanted to say that as a lifetime Cowboys fan who lives in NY it extremely painful to experience this disappointment again. Every single year I step up and represent my Cowboys loud and proud. I've even attended several Giants/Cowboys games (including last seasons all or nothing finale at Giants stadium) and to show my support. But this feeling has become way too familiar. When do you feel we will be able to turn the corner? I'm just not convinced any more that we can with this coach/quarterback combination. Am I wrong?
Todd Archer (1:02 PM)
Damon, you're not alone, which is why I picked the question first. There should be huge frustration for what has happened not only the last two years but the last 16. Jerry Jones is the one constant. He's changed coaches, schemes and players and the results are the same. He will not change his ways. That's an issue. I understand the Garrett-Romo worry, but I still believe they can do something together. Maybe I'm just being stupid but just saying I believe it will happen doesn't mean it will happen. Garrett has shown he can be a leader. I think he needs to make changes to his offense that puts up yards but not enough points. I think Romo can be a Super Bowl QB but he needs better players around him and not the flashy pieces Jerry has mostly supplied him with, but the blood-and-guts type players on both lines. I know I didn't give a concrete answer here, but if you're a fan you have to always have hope.
Kenyatta adams (Roselle, New Jersey)
Happy New Year Todd. I hope you and your family are well. I would like to know if you agree with this strategy. The Cowboys should cut Miles Auston, Doug Free and Jay Rattliff? These 3 players play has declined dramatically, since they received hugh pay increases. I would draft a OT in the second round, a DT and WR, in the Third or Fourth round to replace these declining players. I would also draft a Guard with first pick in the first round. Tony Romo and Demarco Murray would benefit the most from a offensive standtop. Todd do you agree with this strategy, what are your thoughts? Have a great day!!!
Todd Archer (1:06 PM)
Well it's easy to say cut those three guys and draft their replacements but you can't guarantee they'll get quality players at those spots. I think Austin stays for another year. As good as Bryant played to close 2012, he still has to show he can make it through an offseason without an issue. The Cowboys don't have a No. 2 receiver on the roster without Austin, whose numbers weren't bad. As for Free and Ratliff, I'm with you but Free played a lot better when they went to the rotation. Ratliff, I'm afraid, has lost the tread on his tire. They need to address both lines early in the draft.
David Haggan (hampden maine)
Will Norv Turner come to big D?
Todd Archer (1:08 PM)
I don't see it happening for a number of reasons and I'll start with the fact that Norv told the SD media he won't be coming to Dallas. As much as he admires Garrett and they have a good relationship, I don't know that he wants to work FOR Jason. He would be working for him. For those who say Jerry needs to make this happen regardless of what Jason thinks, isn't that doing exactly what everybody hates about Jerry and usurping his coach? It's a good thought but I just don't see it happening.
I am interested in your thoughts on Jerry Jones GM performance in recent years. Jerry has done a poor job throughout the past 15 years, however, I think people are so blinded by their opinion of Jones they have failed to realize that the past 3 years have brought the following very promising young players: Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. When added to core veterans Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Spencer (hopefully), Romo (hopefully with more emphasis on the running game), this is actually a very solid core roster; especially in modern NFL where even Super Bowl teams have significant holes.
Todd Archer (1:10 PM)
You mentioned all the hits lately, but failed to point out the misses. It's very likely this team will have one draft pick from 2007-09 on the roster in 2013. That's pathetic. You build through the draft and the Cowboys lack of depth is because of these failings.
Lovie Smith d coordinator and Turner o coordinator in Dallas? Thoughts?
Todd Archer (1:13 PM)
I addressed the Norv deal earlier. Let's talk Lovie. It's an interesting thought that would require a scheme change and a drastic change at that. Smith is a Tampa-2, 4-3 coach. The Cowboys are a 3-4 team with press corners. I think the move to a 4-3 can be made but there would be some personnel issues. I'm sure we'll discuss Anthony Spencer at some point, but his future could be tied to a move. They would need to overhaul their defensive line almost entirely. They would be OK at linebacker with Bruce Carter and Sean Lee. I wouldn't rule it out, but I would put the percentages very low.
Are you signing Spencer to a long term deal, i dont think its makes sense to tag him again with the cap space the cowboys have?
Todd Archer (1:14 PM)
OK, let's get to Spencer. The Cowboys want to sign him to a deal. They don't want to lose him, but I don't see how because of the cap. They could tag him and it would cost $10.6 million in 2013. That's a big number with such little space. I think another team can pay Spencer more. As of today, I would say Spencer plays elsewhere in 2013 based on a gut feeling.
Steve (Irving, TX)
If a team needs to restructure a player with a high base salary (i.e. B.Carr has a 14M base in 2013); where does the $$ go towards? Spread over future base salary or future prorated signing bonus salary?I would think signing bonus as future base salaries are not guaranteed.Help! Thanks!!
Todd Archer (1:15 PM)
The difference between the old base salary and new base salary is turned into signing bonus for cap purposes and prorated over the remainder of the deal. Hope that helps.
What do you think Jerry meant by it was going to be a uncomfortable offseason for the team?
Todd Archer (1:17 PM)
I have no clue. It certainly sounds good but means nothing, honestly. He's said some similar things before. The change has to start with Jerry but he won't change. I'm not saying he needs to give up the GM-ing but he needs to change how he does his job. I think there will be coaching changes going forward. Where? Who? I can't even guess right now.
carlos (el paso)
Why cant romo pick apart blitzes like the good quarterbacks do? we see aaron rodgers this week daring minnesota to blitze
Todd Archer (1:18 PM)
You mean like Romo did against New Orleans? Cowboys struggled vs. Washington's blitz up the middle and Wilson off the edge. They did not or could not adjust. Throws were rushed and the receivers didn't win on their routes.
Why was the cowboys trying to go down the field while the redskins were blitzing? is it play calling? romo?
Todd Archer (1:19 PM)
You have to make a team pay when they blitz at times. The receivers didn't win. Romo wasn't accurate. Checking it down all the time takes you only so far and it doesn't back the defense off. That first drive of the game could've gone a long way in backing the Redskins off, but Romo didn't get it to Ogletree on the slant or Witten on the hot.
Would the cowboys tag jenkins for depth purposes and he can play all 3 corner positions?
Todd Archer (1:20 PM)
No chance you would pay him that money as a backup. And I'm not so sure he proved he could play the slot. I like Jenkins as a corner, but he's an outside guy to me. He is a starter, but I can't see them putting the franchise tag on him.
Whats the extent of dez injury?
Todd Archer (1:21 PM)
Was told it's not anything structural. Back spasms. I've never seen a guy in such a state after a game like Bryant. He could not move. As for the finger injury, Bryant said he wasn't sure when he would get the surgery.
Everyone saying Sean Payton signed with the saints because the cowboys didnt reach and give any indication that they were interested. if thats true do you think that was a mistake?
Todd Archer (1:22 PM)
I must've missed everyone saying that. I don't think Payton was ever leaving the Saints. He used his potential to leave as great leverage to become the game's highest-paid coach.
Daryl (jersey city)
With Dwayne Harris emerging as a player, will olgetree be back?
Todd Archer (1:23 PM)
Even if Harris did not emerge, I don't think Ogletree would be back. Harris showed he can handle the stage, but I don't think that prevents the Cowboys from looking for WR help in the draft and not just late-round guys either.
Whats preventing tony from taking thats next step as a quarterback? its seems like he gives fans reason for optimism than lets them down in crucial moments
Todd Archer (1:24 PM)
If I had the answer, then I would be a very rich man. I don't think the stage is too big or that he chokes. He's shown too many other times he can make big plays in big games. I think they put too much on him because they don't have any other answers for him.
Harold (Sunrise FL)
Do you think Jerry will force Jason Garrett to give up play calling?
Todd Archer (1:25 PM)
I'm not so sure. I think he might force Jason to make some other changes on the staff, though.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Todd, will Tony Romo be a lame duck quarterback next season? Or will Jerry Jones foolishly award him with a contract extension and allow the enigmatic quarterback to break Cowboy hearts for many more years to come?
Todd Archer (1:26 PM)
Well, I don't think you'll like my answer so if you want to stop reading, go ahead. I think he gets an extension this offseason and the Cowboys go forward with him for another three years while looking for his replacement over the next two years.
Does Jason Garrett need to give up calling plays?
Todd Archer (1:28 PM)
I used to say no to this question but I'm starting to feel otherwise. I think Garrett is showing he can be a really good head coach with how he has put the program together and how he dealt with all of the adversity this year. I wonder if the job is just too big to be able to do both well. Jerry has said he doesn't want a walk around head coach, but not everybody can do it all the way Garrett is attempting to do it.
Darren (Long island NY)
Whats more of a need for the cowboys Guard, Safety, or defense linemen?
Todd Archer (1:28 PM)
Of the three you list, safety is third by a mile. Maybe more. I'd go offensive line (not just guard) and defensive line early and often.
waco Texas [via mobile]
1. Will jerry finally hire a GM? 2. Will jerry finally realize that Jason Garret will never lead the cowboys to the playoffs....forget superbowl talks? 3. The world realize Romo is a choke artist, and the record to prove it.Worked 4. The Cowboys have pasted up so much talent in the previous years draft mainly at the QB.....should the back up from A&M be given a shot, considering Romo win or go home stat?
Todd Archer (1:29 PM)
Wow, you're close to this team. Stephen McGee isn't even on the roster.
Even if the cowboys came back and beat the redskins, do you really give them a shot a against seattle with all the injuries they had in this past game?
Todd Archer (1:30 PM)
Having seen how many guys were hurt after the game, I don't see how they could have beaten Seattle. I'm not sure Washington beats the Seahawks either. But making the playoffs would've been better than missing the playoffs.
Charles (Newark DE)
Will james Hanna force John Philips out next year?
Todd Archer (1:31 PM)
I think Hanna goes in as the No. 2 tight end next year, but I can see Phillips returning in a similar role he had this year. To me, Hanna can add a dimension to this offense with his speed. He's not Aaron Hernandez but he might be able to do some of those things.
Norv Turner (In Transit)
Any chance the OC job comes open in Dallas? If not me what are the chances they turn those duties over to Bill Callahan?
Todd Archer (1:33 PM)
Thanks for checking in Norv. I'll answer the Callahan part. Callahan is a West Coast offense guy. That's his passing game history. He doesn't have the history with how the Garrett passing game works. I would think after a year in the scheme, he would know it, but it just doesn't sound like Garrett will go that route. It's clearly an coordinator title in name only.
Todd (Pa )
I don't buy into the QB, Coach or play-callers O and D need change. Some of us and from your posts seems your one of them believes this teams' deficiencies now and past years fall on the Offensive and Defensive lines and the ignorance to develop and draft both early in past drafts minus Tyron Smith pick of course. Truly believe with better Oline takes more pressure off Romo and opens up play book as well making both JG and Romo even better. And of course on the Defense side of the Ball better pass rush n better Dline depth will cause the now improved Secondary to cause more turnovers so feel like been saying this for 2 years now Cowboys need to improve Oline and Dline, the schemes are fine IMO and Trenches personnel is the problem and what needs the common fan or some media cries of "Change" Thoughts?
Todd Archer (1:35 PM)
Sounds right to me.
I think the 4-3 is the way to go to stop this spread offense, in the 3-4 they option the OLB and there is nobody else out there except the CB, so the OLB has to choose vs the 4-3 they option the DE, but there is still an OLB to take the RB, so the DE doesn't have to make that choice....just saying, even if we don't switch to it full time, would be a nice wrinkle
Todd Archer (1:36 PM)
Cowboys actually played a lot of 4-3 this year but just didn't put Ware and Spencer's hand on the ground. It was a 2-5 look in some ways.
I still say Dallas will cut/restructure/extend Romo enough $$ to resign Spencer and land 1--just 1--high end "new" free agent. RT Loadholt or Vollmer? FS J.Byrd or Kenny Phillips? Thoughts?
Todd Archer (1:38 PM)
I wouldn't bet on any "high end" free agents this offseason right now and I wouldn't say the guys you named are "high end." They're solid and good players, but not blue-chippers. And I'm confused why there are so many people saying safety is such a huge need. To me, it's not an impact position. Draft and develop there, IMO.
I am as mad at Romo as almost anyone, but don't you think JG's game plan was absolutely brutal? the middle of the field is wide open and we run all of 2-3 crossing routes the whole game...
Todd Archer (1:38 PM)
Have you seen crossing routes in this offense the last six years? It's not that kind of offense. It's vertical and intermediate. Not a lot of crossing underneath.
Ender (Knoxville, TN)
Every time I watch a Cowboys game, the thing that strikes me as horrid is the middle of the line...both offensive and defensive. Even healthy, Ratliff is a shadow of his former self...Brent still isn't as good as that Ratliff shadow when he plays. As for the offensive line, we have so many stop gaps in the middle of that line. Livings and Bernardeau didn't do terrible, but I don't see them as the future. Cook's a waiver pick-up that resulted from Costa's perpetual injured state. This, naturally, hurts our tackles, so I can't blame them too much. All that said, with what we can probably assume will be a pick in the teens barring trades...what talent do you think we can pick up on either side of the ball on the line?
Todd Archer (1:40 PM)
I can't sit here and give you names of guys two days into the offseason. I haven't really studied it. But I'd think you can find interior linemen around No. 18 and there will be some DL types there too. They just can't miss on guys this year. And I wouldn't move up and give up picks because this team lacks depth.
Jeremy (Sweetwater, Tx)
Is Garrett not wanting playing calling help, a pride and ego issue, or does he really believe what he's doing is going to eventually work?
Todd Archer (1:42 PM)
Clearly he believes what he's doing. Yes, he has an ego. Everybody does. It's easy for all of us to say put aside the ego and do something else when we wouldn't change what we do if somebody told us to change.
How do you see the OL looking next year? That was obviously the weak part of the team, but will they overhaul it or keep it with basically the same guys and hope for improvement?
Todd Archer (1:44 PM)
They ended the year with 11 linemen on the 53 and I see only four locks to return in 2013: Tyron Smith, Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Jermey Parnell. They need to re-vamp and re-tool. They have been bad at drafting guys there, so they must evaluate how they are evaluating, if you know what I'm saying. I don't think the answer is a big-money FA. They need to find players in the draft from big-time schools ready to play.
John (New Jersey)
TA - Happy New Year - if you can see that Jenkins isn't an inside cover guy (I agree), shouldn't the GM see this as well? And shouldn't the GM have tried to get something for a potential F/A instead of letting him walk for nothing?
Todd Archer (1:45 PM)
I had no problem with Jerry keeping Jenkins this year. You need protection from injuries and the guy can play. There was little trade value in Jenkins because he was hurt and going into the last year of his deal. It made sense to keep him. He only had to play inside because Scandrick got hurt and they didn't have anybody else. He wasn't making a ton of money that made it foolish to keep him as a backup.
John Hazel (Richmond, VA)
What do the Cowboys plan to do with the anemic run game. A serious stud RB is needed, and it's not deMarco Murray
Todd Archer (1:47 PM)
Completely disagree. They need stud linemen or a stud scheme. Not a stud back. You can find backs. Just ask the Redskins, who got Morris in the sixth round out of Florida Atlantic. Shanahan's scheme is genius to me and I don't know why more teams don't use it. But what do I know? But RB is not the problem. Blocking is.
Will Rob Ryan still be the defensive coordinator here next year and should he?
Todd Archer (1:49 PM)
Took awhile for this question. Thanks, Mike. I'd put it at 50-50 based on nothing but my ample gut. Yes, they had injuries, but before guys got hurt this defense was only OK. And, yes, I know they were in the top five in yards, but they rarely made game-changing plays. Ryan has never had a defense that has scared people. He struggles in getting the right personnel on the field. He lets his emotion get he best of him.
Justin (Ft. Worth)
Do you think Jerry will do the non-splash draft and take an OL or DL will the 1st three picks?
Todd Archer (1:49 PM)
It's so un-Jerry like, but maybe that's the "unconventional" that he talked about on how radio show.
How do Compensatory picks work with the possibility of Spencer and Jenkins leaving?
Todd Archer (1:50 PM)
Wouldn't affect the team until 2014 draft. It's all based on how much they play and what the Cowboys did in FA as well.
Have players voiced there support for garrett coming back? i know players backed rob up
Todd Archer (1:51 PM)
Yes. Nate Livings was especially strong on Garrett. He played for Nick Saban at LSU and put Garrett in that category.
I understand what your saying cap wise about keeping Spencer, but if he leaves aren't you just creating a massive hole on the roster? Now, we are talking about spending the 1st rd pick on an OLB and not addressing OL or DL.
Todd Archer (1:52 PM)
Absolutely but if you can't afford him, then what can you do? It's a cap league.
Ian (Atl, GA)
What do you think the pulse on guys like Sterling Moore and Peprah returning next season? Moore can be a very good 4th CB and Peprah can add good depth with Church and Johnson at Safety next season.
Todd Archer (1:53 PM)
Moore is signed through next year. He's back. I like him as a sub package guy. I don't think he's an eventual starter, but he's a guy who can play a role. Peprah could be back but he's just a stop-gap guy. Remember, they do like Matt Johnson's potential.
What was your assessment of Claiborne's rookie year and do you think he can develop into an elite CB?
Todd Archer (1:55 PM)
I thought he was OK. It's hard for a rookie CB. I get it. I wish I saw more ability to make a play on the ball. And I wish I saw him be more physical shedding receivers outside. I'm not convinced yet but I know there is talent there.
John (New Jersey)
If Stephen Jackson becomes available do the Cowboys take a look?
Todd Archer (1:55 PM)
Not sure that would help much. He's older. And I don't think he's leaving St. Louis.
People are focusing on this playoff game and not making adjustments, but it's more than that, he never puts Dez in motion to get him away from double teams or jams, which is what most OC's do with elite WR's. TO was a nut case but he was right about Garrett not using WR's correctly
Todd Archer (1:57 PM)
Do you ever wonder why he didn't put Dez in motion? Maybe that's a Dez issue and not a coach issue. But we're going to quibble with that after the numbers Dez put up? I'll take that kind of season from Bryant every year.
Should the cowboys put there focus on there defense in the offseason because it obvious tony cant win big games on his own?
Todd Archer (1:57 PM)
They should put their focus on the whole team. They need help everywhere.
How high are the Cowboys on Crawford and Matt Johnson? We saw a little of Crawford this year but none of Johnson so do they think either has starter potential?
Todd Archer (1:58 PM)
They like Crawford a lot and I think he was doing some good things by the end of the year. I can't give you an opinion on Johnson because I never saw the kid play. But the team clearly thinks there's something there with how they kept him around when he was hurt. Big offseason for him.
John D. (Tulsa, OK)
Do you ever look back at training camp and try to identify what you missed from attending the practices? Clearly, the offensive and defensive lines were deficient. Do the scouts actually evaluate themselves?
Todd Archer (2:01 PM)
The scouts do get evaluated. Their reports serve as their grades. If they are wrong on players, then they get dinged for it. At least they should. I do wonder just how much the Cowboys look at their scouts' work though.
I thought about it being a Dez issue, but he didn't do it with TO either and TO may have been crazy, but he was able to do it to great success in Philly and San Fran, and I liked Dez's numbers too, but he disappeared for long stretches because JG makes it easy to take the WR away, if he didn't Dez would have had even better numbers and our offense and most likely team would have been more successful.
Todd Archer (2:02 PM)
Maybe it was a TO issue too. There are a lot of moving parts when you send a guy in motion that he needs to adjust too. I'm sure it's a Garrett thing too. Not absolving him, but it's not like Bryant didn't produce. Or Owens.
Morice (Virginia Beach)
I remember tim macmahon i believe talked to jj about his gm duties and jerry mentioned he won three super bowls his way and wanted to do it again. My question is with another 8-8 season, failing to win the divison and once again leave us heartbroken, will this get him to realize the 90's have past and see there has to be a culture change in Big D?
Todd Archer (2:03 PM)
Let's end with this one. And it'll be a simple answer: No. He's not changing. Sorry to end on a downer.
Todd Archer (2:04 PM)
Thanks everybody for all of the questions today and throughout the year. It's been fun and I'm sure we'll do this some more in the offseason. If you have more questions, send me an e-mail. Check out our blog for all of the updates and you can follow me on Twitter too (@toddarcher). See you guys soon. Have a happy New Year. Courage.