Chat with Tim MacMahon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Dallas Cowboys reporter Tim MacMahon stops by to chat about the team.
MacMahon joined ESPN in September 2009 and covers the Cowboys and Mavericks. He has covered the local sports scene from high schools to colleges to pros during his six-year tenure at The Dallas Morning News. MacMahon is a graduate of UNT.
Send your questions now and join MacMahon Thursday at 12:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Tim MacMahon (1:30 PM)
Thanks for taking a break from second-guessing Ron Washington to focus on the second most important St. Louis-Randol Mill Road resident matchup of the week. Fire away with Cowboys questions.
The Who21 (WestCoast)
Man the Giants schedule the rest of the way is brutal...... no way the Cowboys miss the playoffs... Right?
Tim MacMahon (1:31 PM)
Sorry, I'm not going to call a 2-3 team a playoff lock. The Cowboys have a favorable schedule the rest of the way, but the NFC East is wide open. The Eagles aren't done yet, either.
Ian (Atl, GA)
What has Tashard Choice done wrong to be passed on the depth chart by Murray? He has done well everytime he has started in Jones and Barber's place in the past, games vs Pitt, Baltimore, KC, and Indy over the past 3 seasons. The drafting of Murray puzzled me by taking away opportunty again for Choice, when we knew they would cut Barber. Now Murray gets more carries when Jones goes down. Can two fumbles (In Wash last season and last week) be the reason? Also, why do fans want to see Tanner and get rid of Choice when Tanner had ONE good preseason game, and Choice has had several good games when it really counts??
Tim MacMahon (1:34 PM)
Jason Garrett just isn't a fan of Tashard Choice. Garrett hasn't admitted that, but it's obvious. Just look at all the times they ran a banged-up Marion Barber out there instead of giving Choice a chance. And Choice hasn't given Garrett any reason to reconsider this season. He's averaging 2.6 yards per carry, has made mental errors and lost a fumble to kill a prime scoring opportunity last week.
Why have the Cowboys not made an effort to bring back Leonard Davis in their search for O-Line depth?
Tim MacMahon (1:35 PM)
It might be a mutual decision. I haven't talked to Davis, but a lot of players in his situation (and with his bank account) would have too much pride to play for a minimum salary.
The Offense looked so out of sync against the Patriots. Can you tell me what the problem are?
Tim MacMahon (1:37 PM)
The center and left guard are subpar. The left tackle and right guard aren't playing up to their standards. The right tackle had his worst game of his young career. The coach doesn't fully trust the quarterback. The quarterback doesn't fully trust his most dynamic receiver. The most accomplished receiver dropped two passes and let another get swatted out of his hands. And they have no running game. Other than that, things are great.
Is Tony Romo the Future of the Dallas Cowboys?
Tim MacMahon (1:39 PM)
Yes, for at least 11 more games. I'm on record with the opinion that the Cowboys need to use the rest of this season to determine whether Romo is the long-term franchise QB. If they aren't sure, draft a QB in the first round to compete with him sooner than later.
Jason (Charleston, SC)
Dez Bryant seems to be taking the bulk of the blame for why he "disappears" late in games, why are people not also looking at the QB and offensive coordinator? It doesnt appear that Bryant is even being targeted late in these games. Many of the Cowboys passes are timing routes, Romo delivers prior to the WR break, so it would be somewhat obvious in these cases if Bryant were to blame, but it is more obvious that he isnt getting the looks. Why would bad route running get him 4 catches for 78 yards in first half and 0 in second?
Tim MacMahon (1:40 PM)
I actually looked this up last night. Bryant has caught 12 of 15 passes thrown his way in the first half this season, 2 of 10 in the second half. So they aren't completely ignoring him, although one of those second-half targets is a Hail Mary and at least one is a throwaway. Bryant, Garrett and Romo all get a share of the blame for Dez's weekly disappearing act.
Is it safe to say that the season is over if the Cowboys can't beat the Rams?
Tim MacMahon (1:41 PM)
It'd be an epic disaster, but they won't cancel the rest of the season. The Giants lost at home to the Seahawks. Who knows what can happen in the mediocre NFC East?
Mason Drews (Springfield, OR)
Likelihood Cowboys retain defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after this season?
Tim MacMahon (1:42 PM)
He's done a great job so far, but I still think it's likely that he'll be back. There aren't many head coach opportunities, and most owners will be too conservative to take a chance on a Ryan.
@sbrown17 (York, UK)
Who's leading the Cowboys in carries this week?
Tim MacMahon (1:43 PM)
DeMarco Murray got the most carries last week, so he's a safe bet with Felix Jones sidelined.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Every time I read you guys writing about Dez Bryant and what is holding him back from being consistent and great, I never see specifics beyond route running and timeliness to meetings, but I always see something said to the effect of "and all the other things" or his "immaturity." Can you guys please be more specific so we can understand the finer details of exactly what is Dez's problems at practice, with coaches, with teammates, or with game day? I know you guys know more than you have told so far but the generalizations about him needing to mature get old when they are unsubstantiated other than a unpaid jewelry lawsuit.
Tim MacMahon (1:46 PM)
His fines for being late to practice, meetings and rehab sessions were well into the six figures last season. That's absolutely ridiculous. It's not as bad this season, but he still has a long way to go to become professional. Check out my column from yesterday for specifics about route running. Drew Pearson goes into detail. Bryant's knowledge of the playbook -- and adjustments that need to be made -- is also better than last season but still in the beginning stages.
I feel like Tony Romo lost confidence in himself. When Jason Garrett calls three run plays at the end of the game, a quarterback that wants to win would've changed the play based on the coverage. Do you think Romo lost some confidence in himself? I think if he didn't, he would've changed the play.
Tim MacMahon (1:47 PM)
Romo can't just change the play at will in that situation. He doesn't have that kind of veto power.
Michelle Morrison (Kansas City, Missouri)
Doug Free's false start penalties are driving me nuts! It's Flozel all over again. What's causing it, and how can the Cowboys/Free curb these penalties?
Tim MacMahon (1:48 PM)
Doug Free has one false start this season. Maybe you mean Tyron Smith, who has three. Now, if you want to complain about Free's holding penalties, have at it. He leads the NFL with four so far this season.
Is Jason Garrett's "scheme" too complex for Dez Bryant? What adjustments do you think would aid in Dez's production other than Dez memorizing the whole playbook?
Tim MacMahon (1:50 PM)
Jason Garrett's numbers-based scheme isn't considered complex by NFL standards. They also simplify things for Bryant. It's a matter of Bryant showing the concentration and commitment that's necessary. And it's also fair to question whether he has the aptitude to learn an NFL scheme. That was one of the knocks on him coming out of Oklahoma State.
Mason (Ft. Campbell)
Hey Tim, how do you feel about our safety play? Do you see us keeping both Elam and Sens, 1, or none next year?
Tim MacMahon (1:51 PM)
Both safeties have been solid this season. It's way to early to guess whether one or both will be back next season. That depends largely on the market for them. Neither wants to do another one-year deal.
Steve a (VAncouver,wa)
W hat can the boys do to improve their redzone offense?
Tim MacMahon (1:53 PM)
I have a simple suggestion: Throw the fade to Dez until somebody stops it. He's been thrown the ball twice in goal-to-go situations this season and scored both times. The Cowboys have scored on only two of Romo's other 15 attempts inside the opponents' 10. In Dez's career, he has scored on seven of 11 throws to him in the red zone. That's where he's at his best as a receiver right now.
Is there any concern about Romos arm strength? I a lot of balls being underthrown...
Tim MacMahon (1:54 PM)
Maybe the fractured rib has sapped a little bit of his arm strength, but I don't think it's a significant concern. I think if you look at his underthrown passes, you'll see a quarterback throwing under pressure.
Todd(Allentown Pa) [via mobile]
Now with Holland back you think he could be an upgrade over Nagy. Seemed Nagy was on his heels a lot n couldn't get much push in run game n what happens when Dockery comes back?
Tim MacMahon (1:55 PM)
Depends on if Holland is in decent shape. He at least shouldn't spend as much time getting pushed into the backfield as Nagy did. But I think Derrick Dockery will be the starter at left guard once he gets healthy.
Tim MacMahon (1:56 PM)
Appreciate you folks joining me. Gotta get ready for another thrilling Jason Garrett press conference.