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 (11:59 AM)
Greetings from California where Cowboys' training camp is about to begin. Let's talk some Cowboys for a little bit here. Remember, the State of the Cowboys press conference is at 3 p.m. PT where we get Jerry and Garrett. Let's go.
Tyrone (New Location Sweetwater TX) [via mobile]
Which new Cowboy(s) do you want to show up big in camp?
Todd Archer (12:01 PM)
Henry Melton needs a big season. A really big season. The three-technique is the key to the front four and he needs to be as good as he was under Marinelli in Chicago. He's coming off a torn ACL so it might take some time. DeMarcus Lawrence needs a big camp as well.
Edward davis gainesville fl [via mobile]
Mr archer i think da cowboys are a playoff team and could win da division do u think they have a chance?
Todd Archer (12:03 PM)
Sure they have a chance. I wouldn't say they're a playoff team right now in the way I think New England, Denver, Seattle and Green Bay are playoff teams right now, but in the NFC East, they can compete. I said this last week: it's not a division of juggernauts. They all have questions. The Cowboys have questions, mostly on defense, but I think they can compete for the division, which means they're competing for a playoff spot.
Hi Todd, with the Boys starting the season (first 6 games) against 5 of the better NFL defenses (SF, ST L, Seattle, NO and Houston) what will it take to be 4-2 or 3-3 when they play the NYG? thanks
Todd Archer (12:05 PM)
I don't think Aldon Smith will be playing for the Niners that day. Navorro Bowman will be out, too. I like St. Louis' pass rush, but I don't see them as the Steel Curtain. Houston has a new system. We'll see if Rob Ryan has staying power in New Orleans. I think the offense will have to carry the day early for this defense as they try to figure out what they are. We pretty much know this offense. If they can carry the burden for a bit and help the defense out, they can get to 4-2 or 3-3. If they aren't at least that, it's a long season, in my view.
R Lank, MD [via mobile]
whats up my friend. read ur article on how good romo can b or what could b. at age 34 should'nt we b pass that stage by now. i mean brady, manning, and others were all past that stage at 34. no matter how good u make it sound man 50 percent of cowboys failures have been on him being simply selfish and undicipline. im sorry if i have a bac averaging 4 or 5 yards a carry i dont just go away from it. Holla bac if u can
Todd Archer (12:07 PM)
Whenever I write anything remotely positive about Romo, this is the stuff you see: Well, he's not Brady or Manning. How many are Brady or Manning? There's four all-time great QBs, IMO, right now. Romo is in that next tier, which is fine. You can win with that. I'm not sure I'd put 50% of the losses on Romo and if you want to put 50% of them on him then you need to put 90% of the wins on him. Is he perfect? No. Is he better than people think? Yes. does he deserve some of the "stuff" he takes? No.
Raymond, Visalia CA [via mobile]
who leads the cowboys in sacks this season and how many do you think that player records?
Todd Archer (12:09 PM)
I wish DeMarcus Ware was still on this team so I could just say him since he led the club in sacks form 2005-12 (that's off the top of my head, by the way). I honestly don't know who leads the team in sacks and that's an issue. I've leaned to Henry Melton when asked about this before, so I'll stick with him. And I'll say seven. They have to hope they have a ton of guys between 4-7 sacks in order to help the secondary.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
When will the Dallas Cowboys Open their Summer Training Camps?
Todd Archer (12:09 PM)
First practice is Thursday.
Joe-Virginia [via mobile]
Hey Todd, People are pretty quick to hail the Eagles as division champs already, but our defenses two best games were against the Eagles last year. Can you speak to what we did right against them last year? I'd like to hear we just have Nick Foles number. . .
Todd Archer (12:15 PM)
Foles was awful in that first game. One of the worst games I'd ever seen by a QB. He left in the fourth quarter with a concussion but perhaps he was hurt earlier. I'm not sure. I think the Cowboys did a good job of disguising their coverages against the Eagles up-tempo offense. They mixed it up and that threw him off. He was better in the second game but not a world beater. He had an outstanding year last year, but I don't know that he has arrived yet. I want to see more proof.
If the defense can generate the same amount of turnovers as 2013, and get to the 15-20th rank range in yards allowed. Do you think that guarantees a playoff spot or at least another play in game for 2014?
Todd Archer (12:16 PM)
I wouldn't go out and say it "guarantees" a playoff spot really, but I think what you're saying is how Jerry Jones looks at it. Here's what they think: with the worst defense in the NFL and the worst defense in franchise history, the Cowboys were a fourth-quarter pick by Kyle Orton away from making the playoffs. Think about that for a moment. So if they just have a slight improvement and an offense that can put up points, why can't they win one more game?
Prediction for which 2 teams on the schedule could end up significantly worse or better then expected?
Todd Archer (12:18 PM)
I think Jacksonville could be better than people think. I think Arizona could be worse than people think. Is Bortles the guy for the Jaguars? Perhaps, but I like what Jax has on defense and what Gus Bradley did later in the year. With the Cardinals it comes down to Carson Palmer. Can he be trusted?
With the Cowboys veneer thin depth at so many positions, this is obviously where the draft has let them down. While there are some early round finds, they have had little success at finding gems later. Is the lack of draft success due to poor talent evaluation, incorrect drafting philosophies, bad luck or a combination? As all successful teams show, draft well = sustainable success.
Todd Archer (12:23 PM)
You've hit on this team's issue for the last four years. From 1-12, let's say, the Cowboys have matched up well with the top teams. From 40-53, I believe every team is about the same. They're all scraping the bottom of the barrel. The difference has been 13-39. The draft brings depth because it comes at a good price. When you draft poorly, you don't have depth. I believe the Cowboys have done a better job in recent years in their drafts, but there are some questions about the '12 draft that need answered (see Claiborne). I believe Garrett has helped bring more organization to the organization where they got off the tracks later in Wade Phillips' tenure.
Do the Cowboys really view Melton as a major addition? Or did they sign him for depth and the fans are just being hopeful? I've seen his name mentioned a lot here. He had one good year with the Bears... when the opposition was focusing on Peppers. He's no better than average.
Todd Archer (12:25 PM)
They view him as major player. He had two good years and both with Rod Marinelli as his coach. He might have been better in 2011 than '12 when he made the Pro Bowl. But clearly the Cowboys hedged their bet with the deal they gave him. If he does things he's never done before in terms of sacks and play time he can make $3.5 million this year. If he does that, then the Cowboys gladly pick up his option for the next three years. They believe pairing him with Marinelli will be a great help and get him back to the form he had in those two seasons.
R Lank, MD [via mobile]
Just a die hard fan wanting change and it always start with ur best player and headcoaching. 90 percent come on u cant b serious
Todd Archer (12:28 PM)
If you're going to be serious about 50%, I'm sticking with 90%. He has seven fourth-quarter comebacks in the last two seasons when they've won 16 games.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Is Romo really the best player? I'd say Dez definitely and maybe Demarco are better players, but Romo plays the more important position, obviously...
Todd Archer (12:32 PM)
I think their best player is Tyron Smith honestly. Then I'd go with Bryant as No. 2. But important player? It's hard to go against Romo.
Joe-Virginia [via mobile]
Any particular reason why everyone is pretty low on Selvie this coming year? Seems like his sack total last year is regarded as some kind of statistical fluke. Also, O. Scandrick is a player I respect a lot, do you think it's possible he continues to elevate his play to a tier below the Sherman's, Peterson's and Revis' of the league, or has he basically topped out at this point in his career?
Todd Archer (12:37 PM)
Is Selvie a one-hit wonder? That's the question. He never had the type of season that he had last year before. That's a question that he needs to answer. Right now last year is the anomaly on his career mark. As for Scandrick, I'm not sure he gets that high behind the guys you mention. He is what he is: solid, dependable. He doesn't get enough interceptions. He does a nice job in the slot. He's physical enough outside. He's not afraid, but I think he is what he is at this point, which is a good, solid player, and that is fine.
Almost all of the unknowns going into the season were drafted by a team 4th round or earlier and are expected to be contributors on defense this year: 1st Claiborne, Spencer; 2nd Carter, Durant, Lawrence; 3rd Crawford, Wilcox, McClain; 4th Wilber, Hitchens, Melton. So who's to blame if these guys don't play well, clearly teams thought they were talented enough to be drafted in the first four rounds.
Todd Archer (12:38 PM)
Blame everybody: scouts, coaches, players. It's on all of them. Every team - and I mean every team - misses in the draft. Many believe the Cowboys are the only ones with poor drafts. Not true. But I believe there's blame to be had on all three fronts if a player doesn't work out.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Romo is the __ best QB in the division...
Todd Archer (12:41 PM)
Tim Hasselbeck did this exercise in the division today on SportsCenter. He had it Foles, Manning Griffin, Romo. He admitted it was close all the way around and a case could be made for all four to be the best. I wouldn't put Romo fourth. The big concern everybody has is the back. I get it, but why not look at what he did in 15 games last year? He was better than RG3. He was better than Manning. Those guys have new coaches/coordinators this year. If you want to give Foles the top spot, I guess, but I'd say he's No. 2 and pushing at No. 1. I'd go Manning at No. 3 and Griffin at No. 4.
John (toronto) [via mobile]
Since ESPN rated the cowboys low over the next 3 years....where would you rate them? And also where in the division over the next few years?
Todd Archer (12:43 PM)
I did a blog post on this and I had a different view. They had the Cowboys at No. 28 in the league. I don't see it that bad. I think they've turned over the core of the team. Clearly they need Romo to play at a high level still. I think that happens. I think the OL is better. I think the offense will be fine. The questions are on defense. Because of that I'd put them in the 16-19 category. In the division, I'd put them behind Philly. I think the Giants and Redskins have questions too.
Todd Archer (12:45 PM)
Thanks for the questions. We'll do this throughout camp but we might change up the time. I'll let you guys know. Have a great day, as Jason Garrett likes to say at the end of his press conferences.