Chat with Ed Werder
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder stops by to chat about the NFL season.
Werder joined ESPN in 1998, before that he had stints at The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Send your questions now and join Werder Friday at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT!
Darrell (EL Paso)
Will JJ really listen to some of the coaches who have inquired about the head coach position? (Gruden,Billick,etc.)
Ed Werder (11:08 AM)
Good morning. Sorry I'm a few minutes late getting started. I was captivated by the internet photos of the ring Tony Romo purchased for Candace Crawford! And to think most players loathe the media. Tony obviously loves some media members. Anyway, Darrell, I think Jerry will likely promote Jason Garrett to the full-time position. But since the NFL will force him to comply with the Rooney Rule and interview minority candidates, even an in-house appointment will be delayed. So if Jerry is smart _ and I think usually he is _ I would use the opportunity to seek out the brightest and most qualified people possible _ Gruden, Cowher, Dungy, Harbaugh, Meyer _ and have them evaluate the Cowboys' personnel, coaching staff and organization. That way the Cowboys receive objective opinions about their personnel and perhaps a sense of direction. Might as well use the process for their own purposes
Ed, Wade seemed content after their playoff win last year and the team adopted that attitude. That said, do the players see JG as an extension of Wade, or has he done enough to asset himself as different than the previous regime. I ask this, because that perception will be important to decide who remains on this team and who doesn't.
Ed Werder (11:10 AM)
Tony, I think Jason carefully and wisely separated himself or at least his methods from Wade the very first day, when he changed the meeting schedule and put everybody in pads for practice. He made it apparent that Wade Phillips Era was over and succeeded in convincing the players that while he was part of the coaching staff that failed Wade that he obviously had different ideas about how to effectively run the team.
Busy at Work (Austin)
If Garrett keeps the job, what are the odds that Paul P. stays as the DC? I'd love to get Dom Capers in the building in some capacity...maybe as GM, ha ha!
Ed Werder (11:13 AM)
It is difficult to conceive of just how the Cowboys could become so bad on defense in a short period of time. They were second in the league last season and now they're challenging the franchise record for most points allowed in a season. Very few defensive players have performed as well as they did a year ago and the problems have continued even after Wade was fired. Don Capers has a history with Jason Garrett in Miami and Jerry Jones attempted to hire him previously so it's understandable people would view him as a candidate if a change were made. But Capers is contractually bound to Green Bay, and there's no way the Packers would allow him to leave for an NFC rival without being forced to do so.
Terrence (Rhode Island)
Do you think its smart to play Tony Romo again this season, and also what scenerio the Cowboys need to make the playoffs, if any thanks
Ed Werder (11:16 AM)
The Cowboys have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Since I've consistently said that Tony Romo should not play unless he's medically cleared to the point that he cannot possibly be exposing himself to reinjury and the Cowboys are playing meaningful games, then I obviously do not think he should play again this season. There is not enough to be gained. But I can see Jason Garrett wanting to do exactly that unless Jerry Jones convinces him he doesn't have to win to keep his job, and it seems Jerry wants to play Romo again because he needs to convince his season-ticket holders that the future is not as bleak as it might seem. Jerry cannot afford to be losing right now with $700 million of his own money in Cowboys Stadium.
What are the broncos going to do? They are such a mess right now.
Ed Werder (11:20 AM)
Jeff, I think the Broncos overreacted to public pressure and prematurely fired Josh McDaniels, a move I believe they will eventually regret. In my interactions with McDaniels and observing his team, I considered him to have imaginative offensive game plans and a unique way of developing quarterbacks _ an important trait with the investment made in Tim Tebow. No question McDaniels should was reckless with some draft picks and trades. People in the league told me if McDaniels failed, it would because he didn't have an experienced general manager to help him build the roster and handle the salary cap. That proved to be true. I think the Broncos should have retained him as head coach and hired a GM. I don't know whom the Broncos hire now but it almost has to be somebody who believes in Tebow _ and nobody was more committed to him than the coach they just fired.
Hey Ed..big fan...What do you think the boys will do in the draft and any idea what range their draft position will be.
Ed Werder (11:22 AM)
Paul, it's early to say whom they will draft, but it appears they will be picking early. They need offensive linemen _ guard, tackle or center. And it's apparent they lack quality safety play. I think those are two areas of concentration, although the Cowboys have never believed it necessary to spend high picks on offensive linemen. They might have to reconsider that philosophy this offseason.
Marc (Akron, OH)
Thanks for your excellent coverage Ed....What have you heard about the next coach for the Cowboys?
Ed Werder (11:26 AM)
Thanks for the compliment, Marc, it's been a strange season. The Cowboys are usually a big story but they were out of it so early this year that I've only covered two Dallas games this season, compared to 10 Minnesota Vikings games. I still think Jason Garrett is the strong front-runner, although I find it curious that Jerry Jones has remained extremely non-committal and seems very careful semantically when responding to questions about the impact Garrett has made on the team's performance. I still think Jones values continuity, and keeping Garrett allows Jones to avoid admitting he was wrong about his coach, enables him to avoid paying millions more to a higher-profile head coach who would shrink Jerry's public role and perhaps diminish his decision-making power.
Jesse (Laredo, Tx.)
Romo is out, Kitna is not our future QB. Wouldn't it make sense to play McGee for the remainder of the season? Give him some real NFL playing time, do you agree?
Ed Werder (11:29 AM)
It all depends on what Jason Garrett believes is the criteria for him convincing Jerry Jones to make him the permanent head coach. If he has to win, then it's understandable he would play Romo or Kitna. That and Jerry's need to sell the public on his team and keep his season-ticket and suite-owners in place are the only reasons I can think of not to be playing Stephen McGee. Romo has proven he is a quality starter, Kitna has reinforced he remains a quality backup and so the only one we don't know about is McGee. And there are rewards for losing for teams in the Cowboys' situation.
Once Brett Favre retires, what will you actually do?
Ed Werder (11:32 AM)
You're right. I've spent most of my season dedicated to covering Favre and the Vikings' collapse. I hope that I will return to my previous role of covering the biggest games and the best stories throughout the NFL with the usual emphasis on the Cowboys, of course! Thanks for your concern. I won't miss standing out in front of the Vikings ship at their facility at dawn in subzero temperatures, wind and snow. But the Vikings have been very cooperative _ from pr to the players in the locker room. Unusually so for a team in their predicament.
Chad (Las Vegas)
What about John Fox as D-Cord for the Cowboys next season?
Ed Werder (11:33 AM)
That's a great suggestion. Not only was Fox considered a tremendous defensive coordinator with the Giants, but he has a strong relationship with the Jones family. Smart call there.
Jason (Bryn Mawr, PA)
Ed, ESPN contributor and NFL scout Bryan Broaddus recently stated in an ESPN chat, that if the opportunity presented itself (sliding in draft) he would draft Andrew Luck and trade Tony Romo either in 2011 or 2012, what are your thoughts? With the talent Dallas currently has, trading Romo any earlier than 2012 would be hard to fathom, but I can't imagine Carolina would take anything less than Romo and Dallas's first round pick this year.
Ed Werder (11:40 AM)
This has to be my last question. First, let me say that Bryan Broaddus is one of the smartest hires ESPN has ever made. He's an exceptionally smart football man who works hard and offers a truly unique perspective. Without knowing the salary cap impact of trading Tony Romo, I think there are a lot of reasons that Jerry Jones would never consider it under present circumstances. What are the chances Luck will be as good as Romo? How long will that take? Which head coach is most likely to make it happen? Jerry knows Romo is a top 10 quarterback with Jason Garrett. To make this kind of move, Jerry would in essence be admitting the Cowboys are rebuilding. I don't think that's ever been Jerry's mindset and he cannot afford to take that approach now. Jerry admitted in the 60 Minutes special he's worried about losing his financial empire and being broke. That's because he's got so much money invested in the stadium and in the team's payroll, and he's worried that suite-holders won't renew, doesn't have a naming rights sponsor and he absolutely cannot afford to be losing football games under those circumstances in a shaky economy. The safe play for Jerry is to keep Romo and create Super Bowl expectations as he typically does. Thanks it for now.Happy holidays and all the best.