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!
If Sean Payton has major interest in coming to dallas, do you think jerry wonder consider making a deal and do you think sean can come in and solve the cowboys woes?
Todd Archer (1:04 PM)
Might as well dive right in to the Sean Payton stuff. That's a big if because we don't know Payton's intentions. What this will do, however, is drive up his price and make him the highest-paid coach in the game. The only way Jerry can fire Garrett is if he knows - absolutely knows - he is getting Payton. I don't think the Cowboys will even be able to get into the chase. I think Payton stays in New Orleans. As to the second question, I think Payton can help the Cowboys problems but I don't know if he solves them. Bill Parcells couldn't solve them. Why would Payton?
Stephon (St Paul MN)
How did the cowboys go from having the best offense in team history last year with the same cast, to struggling to move the ball and scoring points this year?
Todd Archer (1:05 PM)
Be careful how you rank the offenses. That stat is just yards. I think the NFL is flawed in how it ranks offenses and defenses. Forget yards. Go with points. The Cowboys were middle of the road last year and for a few years. They are still putting up yards. They rank Np. 6. In points they are 26th.
WIll Matt Johnson Get on the field this year?
Todd Archer (1:06 PM)
Clearly they're waiting for him to get right. I would've made the move already because I just don't see how he can help. He's already making a jump from FCS to the NFL and now he's doing it without any real offseason, preseason or regular season work. I think he plays, but I don't know how much we'll be able to tell if he's a keeper or not.
Mike (Saratoga NY)
Do you have any information on how far Anthony Spencer and the Cowboys were in negotiations on a long term deal before the franchise tag was applied? Was Spencer looking for Ahmad Brooks money (6 yrs/42M or so), or way north of that? Do you think they are willing to give him something similar to the Brooks deal based on his production this year, which has been excellent when healthy?
Todd Archer (1:08 PM)
They really didn't have any talks with him in the offseason. I think Spencer was north of the Brooks money, but I don't know that for sure. I think the Cowboys would be wise to keep him but it will depend on the price. The structure of the Brooks deal seems fair but I haven't studied other OLBs.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who does the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving Day?
Todd Archer (1:09 PM)
Eric (Long beach)
Did you See Bruce Carter catch Julio Jones from behind down the sideline?!?! i see why the cowboys drafted him. Can he be as good as lee?
Todd Archer (1:10 PM)
That was impressive. I remember another UNC linebacker doing something like that years ago and that was Brian Simmons in Cincinnati. I felt Simmons was a little underrated before injuries slowed him down. Carter and Lee give the Cowboys a backbone for the future, for sure.
Chris (Willis TX)
Why did The cowboys Move Dunbar ahead of tanner on the depth charts? and did you like what you saw from dunbar?
Todd Archer (1:10 PM)
They wanted more quickness on the field. Tanner does not have that much speed and his vision is in question after that third and 1 run vs. Atlanta. I like what I've seen from Dunbar but I don't look at him as some long-term answer. He's a niche player, IMO.
How do we contain MCCoy this week? he killed us last year
Todd Archer (1:12 PM)
They did a much better job in the rematch, holding him to 35 yards on 13 carries. He is tough to stop but it looks like Andy Reid does his best to keep McCoy out of the game, which should make the Cowboys happy. The game at Philly last year, McCoy was unbelievable and the Cowboys were unbelievably bad.
The cowboys have been in every game this year outside of the chicago game this year, which leads me to believe that there prepared well for each game. So Why do they struggle to take over games or make game changing plays?
Todd Archer (1:14 PM)
I tend to agree with you on the preparedness overall, but why do they struggle with game-changing plays? They don't have enough good players. They need more.
Hows Ratliff, Romo, and Murray doing with there injuries?
Todd Archer (1:15 PM)
Romo is good to go. Ratliff and Murray are not practicing. Nothing official here, but I think Ratliff plays vs. Philly and Murray sits. Call it a gut feeling.
Ok the Eagles have offically lost every member on this o-line now that Herremans out for the season. Do you think Rob Should have an aggressive game play this week?
Todd Archer (1:16 PM)
Hopefully he doesn't have to bring guys to get after Vick and the front four can do it by themselves. That's the dream of every coordinator. If he attacks, there are holes and the Eagles can make big plays.
Jean (Miami Fl)
The Cowboys Signed Church and Gerald long term, and they have matt johnson. Does this mean the cowboys dont want to invest a high draft pick in a safety? because i think Kenny Vaccaro from texas would eb a good fit here
Todd Archer (1:17 PM)
It looks like the Cowboys are picking their spots on the positions they will pay. I don't think safety is one of them. Honestly, I don't blame them. In the draft, they need to focus on the lines and find pressure players.
Lex (Calgary, AB)
I see this team winning 5 in a row. Thoughts?
Todd Archer (1:17 PM)
You are an optimist, Lex. I don't see that happening. In fact, I think the NHL gets a deal done before the Cowboys win five in a row.
Daryl (Jersey City)
Why didnt the cwboys play press coverage during the game, it look like the falcons were getting free release and catching balls in there zone
Todd Archer (1:19 PM)
Great question, Daryl. I don't know why. Atlanta has big, physical receivers. Usually guys like that don't like press coverage. But the Cowboys played softer than they did vs. NY. It's something I have to ask the coaches this week. Check out the blog and I'll have an answer at some point. It seems like the strengths of Car and Claiborne are mitigated when they don't play press.
TRINIDAD (OLYMPIA WA)
Will Lissermore be back this week?
Jump balls to dez in the redzone has been money in the past for the cowboys. so why havent they gone to the last couple of games?
Todd Archer (1:20 PM)
Oops. Firs the Lissemore question - He's not back this week. Now to the fade to Dez. It's not a high percentage throw. I wouldn't rely on it as the No. 1 option down there. I do think the red-zone plan is bad. They need to come up with something new because just working harder at it is not working.
William (WEST VA)
Do you think Jason should have been more agressive and put the ball more in tony hands in the second half of that game?
Todd Archer (1:23 PM)
I wrote about this after the game and yes, I put the ball in Romo's hands more. They don't need to go hurry up all the time, but I'm going 11 personnel, spreading the field. It makes for some easier lanes in the running game. The Cowboys best runs vs. Atlanta came in 11 personnel. They just can't line up and overpower people. It's proven. I'd go more spread and see what happens, not necessarily hurry up.
CowboyRT (Atlanta, GA)
Archer, is there the slightest chance Garrett would consider letting Callahan call plays?
Todd Archer (1:23 PM)
No. He doesn't have a background with this passing game. He's a West Coast guy and just got here. I don't see that happening at all this year.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
Thoughts on Jimmie Johnson quote about Jerry Jones' control during Cowboys' Super Bowl era: a??Jerry started putting all those titles on himself after I left. He didna??t call himself general manager and president and all that stuff when I was there. He was just the owner. Because it was in my contract that I had total responsibility for all football decisions. It was in my contract, and he didna??t allow anybody to have that in their contract after I left.a?ý
Todd Archer (1:25 PM)
Check out our blog. I have a post up on this. Jimmy is flat wrong. Jerry has had the GM title since he took ownership. It's in the 1989 media guide. Now, did he have control? That's a different issue that is a he said, he said deal. Jimmy believes he did. Jerry says no. If they can't figure it out, how can I?
Do you think the current players feel the pressure of playing for the Cowboys and the baggage of 15 years of disappointment? I'm sure they try to block it out but there is just so much noise and drama surrounding the Cowboys.
Todd Archer (1:26 PM)
I don't think there's the baggage of disappointment holding this team back. I think there's something to them getting overrated annually by prognosticators and fans that lead people to think they're overly talented. They're not so talented as people think. They have good players 1-10 but then it drops off too far. They don't have enough depth and that goes back to poor drafting.
Do you think Jerry is even more unwilling to cede any control because he did so with Parcells and it resulted in 0 playoff wins? We can debate the job Parcells did but in Jerry's eyes, it has to be considered a disappointment and I doubt he enjoyed it all that much.
Todd Archer (1:27 PM)
I think there is an element of that, yes. Jerry can point to the Parcells' years and say, Hey, I tried it and it didn't work. Now we're going back to my way. Well, that hasn't worked either. Good point, Mark.
Do you think Cole Beasley is going to get more action as the year goes on? He looks like he can be a real weapon out of the slot.
Todd Archer (1:28 PM)
I don't know about a "real weapon," but he can help. I wrote this Tuesday that I think the No. 3 WR role will be more of a committee look in the coming weeks. Beasley will be in that mix, but I don't think you'll see him pull down 35 snaps a game.
juanito juanito (chihuahua mexico)
do you belive that if the cowboys select a off tackle, in next draft, doug free could play guard ?
Todd Archer (1:29 PM)
I can see them tackle a tackle, guard or center. But, no, I don't see Free as a guard. He doesn't have the strength you need to play well in there.
What is the Cowboys defense lacking? It seems like they are pretty good at every level on defense but they can't make any big plays. Do they need a real stud on the DL instead of just the solid rotation guys they have now?
Todd Archer (1:31 PM)
The Cowboys went with the theory that a secondary can make a pass rush. I'm now convinced it's the other way around. They need to find a 3-4 defensive end type that can rush the passer. Hopefully there's another J.J. Watt out there somewhere.
I know Romo is completing a very high % of his passes this year, but does it seem like he has missed on more throws this year (especially down the field) than in year's past?
Todd Archer (1:32 PM)
He's completing 66.4 percent of his throws this year, but you're right it seems like he's missed more throws this year that he normally makes. Sometimes pressure and even the threat of pressure can do that to quarterbacks. You're so hurried to get the ball out that you squeeze the throw trying to be perfect. I think that's been some of the issue this year.
Here's a rarity - a punter question ! Mooreman seems to have done quite well. Is he a long term solution, or just a stop gap ?
Todd Archer (1:33 PM)
I love punter questions. Moorman has done a nice job, but I think he's a stop gap guy. Chris Jones is their long-term plan, in my view. He's got a stronger leg and he's younger.
T.A. I believe dallas should make their run now beating the eagles, if they could sweep the eagles and skins beat the bengals and browns they could be right in the hunt agree.....
Todd Archer (1:34 PM)
It's now or never, especially with how the schedule is shaping up. But guess what? Every team is saying the same thing about seeing the Cowboys on the docket.
Does it seem to you that Romo gets unfairly killed by the national media but the local media by and large protects him? I think he's a good QB but this has to be the only city in America who blames every Int on someone besides the QB.
Todd Archer (1:35 PM)
I wouldn't say he's been protected here locally. He still catches a lot of flak, As far as every interception being blamed on somebody else, well, I don't agree with that. He has made poor throws and he has not gotten help from his pass catchers when he's needed it.
John (New Jersey)
Todd - any thoughts on what Jimmy Johnson said regarding his time in Dallas and who had the "power"?
Todd Archer (1:36 PM)
I'll answer this question with a question since I answered a similar one earlier: Jimmy didn't have the same success in Miami. Did he miss Jerry?
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Any chance Jason Garrett is let go, and Rob Ryan is giving a chance to see what he can do as the head guy?
Todd Archer (1:37 PM)
Derring, you must be listening to Ben Rogers too much. There's no chance Ryan becomes this team's head coach this year. That wouldn't solve anything.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will DeMarco Murray ever stay healthy enough to be the RB the Cowboys need him to be, and the one he is very capable of becoming?
Todd Archer (1:39 PM)
I said this during camp and in the offseason that we needed to tap the brakes on the Murray talk. All he accomplished last year was what Julius Jones accomplished in 2004. I think he can be a good back, but he was not off to the start many thought he would have before getting hurt. The offense misses him, but I don't know if his return - whenever that happens - will be enough to get this team winning.
raul (rio grande city)
Do u agree that Arkin should be released to make room for Kowalski? Do you think Dallas is going to be active in the draft looking for Gs or Cs?
Todd Archer (1:40 PM)
Until they know Kowalski is healthy and strong enough to play, I don't make that move. Remember, Kowalski has had one practice since last season and he was an undrafted guy. We're not talking about Larry Allen here.
Jack (San Jose, CA)
Todd, love your insight. Has any one ever asked Jerry point blank: "When you say this organizational structure has worked in the past, please explain when and how it has it worked since 1996?"
Todd Archer (1:41 PM)
Tim MacMahon basically asked it after the Atlanta game. Jerry's answer was the same as it ever was.
I know Jerry won't give up control until he drops dead, but when Stephen takes over do you see him hiring a GM?
Todd Archer (1:41 PM)
Hmm, I don't know. I know that's not a good answer, but I do think Stephen would be more open to having a non-family member in a position of power on the football side of things. Does that mean one person to call all the shots? I can't say that for sure.
Todd, Is there any reason that Cowboys fans should feel optimistic? From here, the short-term - this season - looks bleak. And the long-term - same ol' same ol - with Jerry looks bleak.
Todd Archer (1:43 PM)
Billy, I guess the best reason for hope I can give you this season is the schedule the rest of the way. It's not that strong and if the Cowboys can cobble together a couple of wins, then maybe they can get on a run. As for the long-term, I don't have a good solution for you on that.
Question about the offensive line signings. It seems like Jerry tried to sign guards on the cheap and hope for the best at center. That hasn't worked. Now what?
Todd Archer (1:46 PM)
I think they should look to the draft for players. But that means they need to revamp how they evaluate there as well because they've missed on too many guys.
Todd, You mentioned a big dropoff after the Cowboys top tier players. Can you list 3-5 Cowboys you think are overrated by fans and or the national media when they pump up the Cowboys' talent level?
Todd Archer (1:47 PM)
Jay Ratliff, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray. Not that these guys aren't talented, but I don't think they are as good as people think.
Kurt (St. Louis)
If the Cowboys continue to lose games like this, do you see any situation (other than injury) where Romo is benched for Kyle Orton?
Todd Archer (1:47 PM)
If Garrett laughed off the question after the new York game, then I just can't see it happening at all.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
After Jason Witten's contract is up he'll be 34 I believe. If he hasn't won anything with the Cowboys by then, will he stay loyal and re-sign or will he decide to enter free-agency?
Todd Archer (1:48 PM)
Well, he'll have played 15 years, so I don't know if he'll want to continue to play. I can't see Witten leaving, however.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
What was your prediction on where the Cowboys would finish and has that changed now in mid-season?
Todd Archer (1:48 PM)
I said 10-6 to start the year. I guess I can say it's still possible but I doubt it. I'll go 8-8.
Has Bruce Carter finally arrived? I know it's hard to see a silver lining on the dark cloud in big D, but he looks like he is starting to get comfortable
Todd Archer (1:50 PM)
He's done a nice job. He has. A couple of people have asked if he has Pro Bowl potential. Sure he does, but you have to remember Patrick Willis will be going to Pro Bowls for years and Sean Lee will/could be in that mix too. Carter has played better than I thought he would. I had serious questions entering the season but he has answered them.
I admit I've started thinking about the draft. When does it become time to build for the future and trade up for a QB like Matt Barkley, Geno Smith. Miami and the Redskins traded up for their QBs in the last draft.
Todd Archer (1:52 PM)
Both guys scare me. Barkley has some throws each game that make you wonder what he's seeing. I tend to look at the recent run of players from schools at certain positions as a predictor. The USC quarterbacks haven't lit it up. I like Smith and his arm and how he appears to see things fast, but I don't know what's happened to that offense here lately. To get one of those guys they would have to trade way up. I'm not sure that's wise with so many other holes on the roster.
Wait, you picked the Cowboys to go 10-6 and then you are saying the pundits overrate them every year? Aren't you just as guilty then?
Todd Archer (1:53 PM)
Yep. I'm one of the pundits. I was wrong.
Todd (New Orleans)
Has Morris Claiborne lived up to expectations? Do you think he'll be what the Cowboys talked him up to be?
Todd Archer (1:54 PM)
He's been a rookie corner - some good, some not so good. He struggled vs. Atlanta early but then made a nice play down the sideline late. I want to see him play the ball better because that's what we were told was his biggest asset.
David (San Antone)
My Shocking prediction for next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.... Andy Reid. boom. mind blown
Todd Archer (1:55 PM)
Yep, mind blown. I don't see that happening. If Reid is done in Philly, I think he takes a break. He's gone through a lot here the last few years.
What do you do with the fact that two of the franchise cornerstones in Murray & Lee seem to be very injury prone? They seem like great building blocks but can you count on them for a whole season?
Todd Archer (1:57 PM)
It's a concern for sure, but they're not suffering the muscle pulls and things that make you wonder about their toughness. These are major, major injuries they've had that happen in the NFL. I don't think because Lee got hurt at Penn State, he's getting hurt now and the same with Murray at OU. It's just part of the game.
If Garrett has successfully changed the culture post Wade era, how do you spread the percentage of blame for this season's poor start among coaches, the owner, and players?
Todd Archer (1:58 PM)
I'd give most of it to Jerry because he's the guys responsible for the players. The coaches are No. 2, then the players, but the split is almost even there. Take the Atlanta game. Rob Ryan had Scandrick in position to make a play and Scandrick missed. That's not coaching.
Todd Archer (1:59 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. It was lively. Good stuff. If you have more questions, then shoot me an e-mailo. Remember to check out the blog and follow me on Twitter (@toddarcher). See you guys next week. Courage.