Chat with Todd Archer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN NFL Nation Dallas Cowboys reporter Todd Archer drops by to chat and answer all of your Cowboys questions.
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 Wednesday at noon ET!
Todd Archer (12:00 PM)
Hi, folks. Lots of questions already. Let's get going.
Tyrone (Stephenville TX) [via mobile]
What type of abilities does Ha Ha Clinton-Dix bring to the table? And how much of an upgrade would he be over our current safeties?
Todd Archer (12:02 PM)
He would be a Day 1 starter, as Jason Garrett likes to say. The Cowboys need safety help but it was interesting to hear Jerry Jones not put it at the top or near the top of the list, which means they like J.J. Wilcox. Clinton-Dix would be a good fit opposite Barry Church to me. This is just a guess right now, but I don't get the sense the Cowboys go safety in the first round.
Stephan (Brooklyn NY)
Will the new cap expansion help the cowboys sign some moderate free agents?
Todd Archer (12:04 PM)
It will help, and I think you used the right term: moderate free agents. The Cowboys will not be big players in free agency. Even if they have all the money in the world to spend, I don't believe they would be big players in the market. You can find players to help with moderate deals. I'm setting myself up for failure here, but I think the Cowboys are mostly done with big-money on free agents because you rarely get your money's worth.
if Jason Garrett was the offense coordinator last year why were there reports that callahan was upset about his diminishing role?
Todd Archer (12:06 PM)
Callahan is upset because he's no longer calling plays. Jerry was as confusing as ever in explaining the playcalling situation to us on his bus on Sunday. Garrett was still in the game planning. He devised the passing game last year. Callahan did the running game. Callahan called the plays on Sunday. Did Garrett make suggestions? Sure. Did Romo run some of his stuff? Sure. But Callahan is upset because he's no longer calling any plays. He's just setting up the run game again.
Romo is good enough to get the cowboys 7 to 8 wins by himself, so what do the cowboys need to get them to 10-11 wins?
Todd Archer (12:08 PM)
Find a defense that can make plays when it matters most. It's been too long. And I don't want to say Romo and the offense have been blameless. Obviously they haven't, but the Cowboys haven't had a defense rise up and make big-time plays since 2009 (and that was at the end of the season).
Do you trust ware or spencer more to return back to form?
Todd Archer (12:09 PM)
I do. Maybe I'm being foolish. I understand he can't make $12.25 million this year in base salary from the Cowboys.I get that. But I think there will be a motivated Ware in 2014 like we haven't seen and if he goes elsewhere he will have 12-15 sacks in 2014. That's what the Cowboys have to figure out. I'd give him a Terrell Suggs like deal - $16 million guaranteed the next two years. He is scheduled to make $26 million the next two so that's a good cut. I'd keep him.
Ray (From Southside)
Everyone is killing hte boys for being over the cap, but in a way dont u think its a blessing..dont overspend in free agency, utilize the draft, and use that extra cap to take care of tyron and dez..thoughts??
Todd Archer (12:11 PM)
The Cowboys have managed the cap fine, but they have spent the cap like they have been a Super Bowl contender. That's been the problem. To your point, I agree in a sense, but I don't think you can see it's been a smart way to go about business. If they spend big it will be on Tyron and Dez and nobody else.
Why are the cowboys trying to get Ware to take a paycut when for years he was incredibly underpaid? think about all he's done for the franchise over the years, i think he deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Jone's should be more concern about sean lee than ware
Todd Archer (12:12 PM)
It's all about age. Ware will be 32 in July. He's had declining numbers. Is it age or injury? I've already covered my thoughts on this, but how the Cowboys are doing this is how every team in the NFL is doing this stuff. The team always holds the cards. Always.
Why does jerry think there ok at corner and safety? the secondary full of underacheivers and guys who can play
Todd Archer (12:13 PM)
Because he has to think that way. He made huge commitments to Carr, Claiborne and Scandrick. Carr and Claiborne have yet to pay off. Scandrick has played like a No. 3 corner should play and his pay is commensurate with a third corner. He can't go add more money to that spot because it just wouldn't make sense from a cap standpoint. They need Carr and Claiborne to play a lot better. A lot better.
Do you think the cowboys need speed on offense, i think its bad that murray and clowney run the same fourty
Todd Archer (12:14 PM)
You have to look at Clowney as the exception not the rule. How many running backs in the league run a 40 that fast? We're talking every-down backs like Murray. There's not many. I don't think speed on offense is an issue.
Will (west VA)
Are you ok with the cowboys getting a guard in the first round to put between fredrick and tyron?
Todd Archer (12:16 PM)
If that guard is Notre Dame's Zack Martin, I'm OK with it. I'd let Martin, Leary and Bernadeau fight it out for the two spots. In 2015, I could move Martin to right tackle with Doug Free in the final year of his deal this year. But I don't think there is a true guard (Martin is a tackle prospect who could play guard) in the first round like recent years.
Raul rio grande city [via mobile]
Todd, is Jeffcoat a fit In Dallas?
Todd Archer (12:17 PM)
He had a really good combine with all the drills, but there's an injury history there that needs to be watched. I had some people say he did not play as fast in the games as he timed. But if we're banking on family genes, then I'd give him a look. Maybe not first two rounds, but something after that if the medical stuff checks out OK.
Do you think the cowboys should go best available or for need?
Todd Archer (12:19 PM)
I think you always go with best available but there are exceptions to rules. Everybody wants things to be black and white when it comes to the draft and grades when it's all really a shade of gray and perhaps charcoal. For the Cowboys if there is a clear difference between players, then go with the higher graded player. If there is not so much of a difference, I might go with need this year because the defense needs so much help.
Jonathan Dowley (Shropshire, England)
If we turn back the clock 14 months how many other teams would have switched to the 4-3 defense given the same circumstances? The main consequence seems to have been to negate the play of our star player. Given that Ware was given a long-term contract surely you build around his strengths. I can't believe someone like Bill Parcells would have allowed something like this to happen. See you at Wembley!
Todd Archer (12:21 PM)
Yeah, I hear you, but how many times did people complain about Ware dropping in coverage and not rushing the passer? In reality, Ware had his hand in the ground a good amount of time as a 3-4 outside backer. And there were times last year he did not put his hand on the ground in the base defense. With Parcells it wouldn't have been an issue because he wouldn't have switched. Looking forward to London. Save me a seat at Craven Cottage.
Will the cowboys address linebacker in the draft so we dont have to play enerie sims this year?
Todd Archer (12:22 PM)
I can't see a way in which Sims returns. They like DeVonte Holloman. They like Kyle Wilber. They're OK there. But I can see the Cowboys looking at linebackers because of Lee's injury history and the fact that Bruce Carter is going into the last year of his contract. That wouldn't be a complete surprise.
TW (St Lucas)
Man I wish I was a Giants fan. At least they win the big ones instead of just being 8-8 every year. I should jump ship...
Todd Archer (12:23 PM)
There have been a lot of down times here lately, but if you're a fan, you're a fan. You stick with the team.
Ray (From Southside)
Looking back, do u think the boys couldve restructured T-New's contract and kept him as opposed to giving Brandon Carr that large contract?? I think BC has been very solid as a cowoby but obviously not the 50 mil he got in free agency..thoughts
Todd Archer (12:25 PM)
I don't think so. Age was the concern with Newman too. They didn't want to push more money out on an older player. I don't begrudge the Cowboys paying Carr. At the time, that is what the market called for. But if you miss or at least don't hit yet is maybe the best way to put it with Carr, then you're out there against the cap without any chance to make a move. That's what the Cowboys are facing now. It's also why I don't see them restructuring Carr's contract this year too.
mike (tampa fl)
If ware is healthy is he still a double digit sack guy?
Todd Archer (12:26 PM)
Yes I do. Spencer had one year in which he had more than six sacks. Hatcher had more than one year in which he had more than 4.5 sacks. Ware has a down year and it's six sacks. I'm repeating myself here, but I'd bet on Ware. He was too good last summer to think that player isn't around anymore.
Who's needs to have a big year Mo or Carter?
Todd Archer (12:27 PM)
Good question, Shane. I'm going with Mo. The Cowboys gave up a lot to get him and he's not lived up to being the No. 6 pick in the draft. Carter needs a big year too, but Claiborne needs a bigger year. I'll ask this question: Is he the worst first-round pick the Cowboys have had in the last decade or so because of what they paid to get him?
John C. (Tulsa)
When will we see the loss of Alex Tanney come back to haunt the Cowboys?
Todd Archer (12:29 PM)
About the same time they rue the day they let Matt Moore go. Look, I like what Tanney did in the preseason here, but I think his ceiling is to be a No. 2 quarterback. I know they wished they had him at the end of the year when Romo got hurt, and I think they'd like him now with Orton's future uncertain. But I don't see him as a future starter in the NFL.
John C. (Tulsa)
The Cowboys seemed to have missed so badly on BW Webb. Can anyone explain that? Comments have been made about failures to draft Sherman and Chancellor. What is missing in evaluation?
Todd Archer (12:34 PM)
I think it's two different questions. The first is Webb specific: Right now the jump in levels of play looks to big for him. It was too big for him the entire season where it was not too big for J.J. Wilcox, who came from Georgia Southern. He fit in better but still has to grow. As for Chancellor and Sherman, let's not just kill the Cowboys for passing on these guys. Kill every team. Even the Seahawks. If they were gurus, they would've picked both of those guys a lot sooner. I don't think people understand just how much of a role luck plays in a draft. You really have to be kind of lucky despite all the money you throw into this.
no ones worst than bobby carpenter todd as far as first round picks. but do you think like trading back to the late first and getting a guy like aaron donald who tore up the combine
Todd Archer (12:36 PM)
I'll grant you Carpenter was a bad pick, but you got him at the end of the first. This was a top-six pick. They had to give up a second rounder to get there. And they've got little in return. He was a guy they called the highest rated DB since Deion. Have you seen that guy? I haven't. I don't think they can trade back to get Donald. I think if they stay at No. 16 they can get him. Donald has been pegged to the Cowboys by a lot of people already.
With still so many needs, is it still draft best available or is there defensive line need so bad they they just have to take one?
Todd Archer (12:37 PM)
That's the balance, Joey. Let's say they take a D-lineman and they pass on a great receiver. What are we going to do? How could you pass on that guy? Did you learn nothing from Randy Moss? So there's a balance they have to play here. If the grades are separated by quite a bit, I'd go with the best player available. If it's close to even, go with need.
John C. (Tulsa)
Todd, I always like to gig you on Alex Tanney. Thanks for answering my question.
Todd Archer (12:37 PM)
Anytime, John. Love your city.
Keith H (Seattle)
I think the difference between the Seahawks and Cowboys in evaluating players is the Seahawks have a specific profile for each position and get players whose skill sets fit the profile (i.e. Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor, etc.). I'm not sure what the philosophy is with the Cowboys for acquiring talent. Your thoughts?
Todd Archer (12:40 PM)
The Cowboys have specific profiles too. Well, I think they do but after the Sharrif Floyd deal last year it's all up for debate. When you get into Rounds 4-7 you're looking for specific skills because it really is a crap shoot. In Rounds 1-3, it's easier to get a feel for a player and know what his role can be. I can't give Seattle credit for selecting Earl Thomas, but they deserve a ton for the other guys. When the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls they had those types of guys too (Leon Lett, Brock Marion).
R Lank, MD [via mobile]
mathew stafford's a better qb than romo and megatron's the best receiver n the game and they had no succes at all. what makes garret think this newhire from detroit will help us. 2 me it looks like he's just bringing n a guy that does the same type of playcalln thats lead 2 no success exspecially with romo as qb. ur thoughts
Todd Archer (12:42 PM)
Linehan's background goes back further than Detroit. He ran it well with Minnesota with Michael Bennett as his running back. He ran it when Steven Jackson was healthy in St. Louis. He ran it more in Detroit when he had Reggie Bush. I like the Linehan hire myself. I think you'll see more variation in the offense. Of course, I'm not one of these run the ball and stop the run kind of guys. You've got to pass to score.
Ed (Queens Village)
This week is 25 years since Jerry Jones bought team. Favorite memory or moment covering Jerry?
Todd Archer (12:44 PM)
Well, I've been around for one playoff win, so I can't go on and on about the success Jones has had. But I do appreciate Jones' willingness to put himself out there time and time and time again. It takes some level of guts even if you're the dude who owns the team. Jerry is a very personable guy. I don't know any other billionaires, but Jerry is as down to earth as one could be, I imagine.
So follow-up....If Donald is off the board by pick 16...then trade down (just not too far down) some spots to pick up and additional second and possible other picks?
Todd Archer (12:46 PM)
There has to be someone there another team will want to trade up for to get. I wouldn't trade back just for the sake of trading back. They kind of got lucky last year with their move back. I wouldn't want to bank on that again.
Do you like timmy jerigan? he shariff floyd clone to me
Todd Archer (12:47 PM)
That seems to be a good call, Quinn. Here's what I would say in general about one-technique defensive tackles and the Cowboys: they won't take one in the first round. There's just not enough value. He wouldn't play enough. You're talking about a two-down player. You can find those guys in the later rounds. The first round has to be an every-down player who will mostly start for five years and be a guy you want to keep when the contract expires.
I don't get the whole need or best player available argument? Shouldn't need be factored into the grade a player gets? For example, let's say the scouts think Johnny Manziel is better than Jadeveon Clowney but realize that DE is a much bigger need than QB. They feel the players are close enough that after factoring in that need they rate Clowney ahead of Manziel on the draft board. Following this method you can always take the highest player left on your board and not have to worry about the need issue.
Todd Archer (12:49 PM)
I think you made my point. Now the question comes in the grading. If Manziel is higher by a significant margin, then take Manziel, if I can use your example. If it's close, you go by your need. The Cowboys had a chance to take LeSean McCoy, who had a first-round grade, but didn't. Did they need a running back then? No, but would they like him now? Yes.
TY (From Wrk)
If donalds the guy the cowboys want, why not trade ahead of chicago to get him him?
Todd Archer (12:51 PM)
Do you know for sure Chicago wants him? They'll have until May to figure this stuff out. And I don't know the Cowboys want Donald. He's the guy we're saying would be a good fit. We don't know what they think of him.
ben (los angeles)
todd, any thoughts on the Miami dysfunction called the Dolphins?
Todd Archer (12:52 PM)
It's not good obviously, but I think they can be in a position to win games, which would make things a lot better. But the stories you hear behind the scenes are crazy. And I'm not talking about only the Incognito-Martin stuff. I still know some people down there and hope the best for them.
True or False: Whoever Dallas drafts in the first round, the national media will label it a reach or lack of value pick?
Todd Archer (12:53 PM)
True. Absolutely true. If the Cowboys took Justin Pugh with the pick right before the Giants picked him, Dallas would've been killed. The Giants do it and they're smart. Hey, that's the lack of a benefit of doubt for poor drafting over the years.
Can you clear this for me. the cowboys tend to overlook players with injury history in college but dont take guys with character concerns, why is that?
Todd Archer (12:55 PM)
You hear Jason Garrett always use the term, "right kind of guy." With the injuries, you have to wonder if it's a one-time thing or if the player has a body type that won't hold up. Sometimes you hit on a guy. Sometimes you don't. But character never fails. If he's a bad guy, he's a bad guy. Now, you can have some bad guys on your team, just not a ton of them. I do wonder if the Cowboys have red-flagged too many guys in this area the last few years.
outside of healthy whats mo's biggest weakness he needs to work on?
Todd Archer (12:56 PM)
I wish you could see the ball skills that the coaches and scouts raved about coming out of LSU. He has had a hard time finding the ball since he got here. That's more of a skill you're born with. You can't be taught that stuff. Some guys are just natural with it. The Cowboys thought Claiborne had it but he's not come through with it. I'm not just talking games. We haven't really seen it in camp or practice either.
Rex Rice (OKC)
Todd what is the highest seed do you think that highest seed that the Cowboys will be in the tournament. Thanks.
Todd Archer (12:57 PM)
You talking Oklahoma State? They still have to play their way in but they could be a dangerous seed anywhere from 8-10.
Todd Archer (12:58 PM)
Thanks for the questions folks. We might have to change the day we do this next week because of a meeting I have. If you have more questions, send me an e-mail or hit me up on Twitter (@toddarcher). Those questions could appear on Friday or Saturday. Thanks again. Courage.