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October 9, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Ed Werder

David (Vegas)

Ed, seems to me Sunday's game is huge, as a loss would put Big D into crisis mode and heads will roll and Jerry might pull the trigger on a give-up-too-much big trade just to divert attention from the fact that this team underperforms. Your thoughts?

Ed Werder
  (11:02 AM)

Thanks for the question. It would be an epic disaster if the Cowboys provide Todd Haley _ Bill Parcells protege and Terrell Owens foil _ his first head coaching victory in the NFL. That would create two weeks of bye week speculation and criticism, most likely regarding the future of Wade Phillips. I don't think Jerry Jones would make a desperate trade simply because he lacks the resources. He's not going to want to appear to be making a panic move that might effect the willingness of fans to fill the new Cowboys Stadium. While Jerry Jones has certainly demonstrated a willingness to spend to win, he has a lot of his own personal fortune invested in a stadium that doesn't have naming rights. I've been assured by front office sources that money is not the reason Jerry still hasn't signed DeMarcus Ware, but I still wonder.

Justin N (Buffalo NY)

Ed, how much longer do you think Wade Philips has left if the Cowboys keep playing the way they are? Do you think he even makes it through the season?

Ed Werder
  (11:07 AM)

Justin,Jerry has fired every coach the Cowboys franchise has ever had _ unless the coach quit first. He's never made a midseason change. I know Jerry considered replacing Wade Phillips in the offseason, although he denies it. He also denied he might release TO, and you have him in Buffalo now. I think finances were a major reason Wade kept his job. In a bad economy with a lot of his own money invested in a stadium with no naming rights sponsor, Jerry decided to make a conservative financial decision that probably saved him $20 million between paying off the current staff and hiring another. That said, there are two unique circumstances that could make Wade vulnerable if he loses in KC _ Garrett was next in the line of succession and could be appointed HC on interim basis, and Jerry might want to move before Dan Snyder if his goal is to entice Mike Holmgren or Mike Shanahan

Zaavan (Philly)

can we say that witten is losing his title as the best te in the nfc east to brent celek whos on pace to break a record in his third season

Ed Werder
  (11:10 AM)

Zaavan,Celek has certainly become a quality TE, but Jason Witten's ability has not diminished. He's still the receiver that Tony Romo trusts the most. Unlike some of the WRs, Witten is a premier route runner and he's always where he's supposed to be. As was most apparent last week in the loss to Denver, the Cowboys have problems with pass protection. The Cowboys were forced to dedicate Witten to essentially help LT Flozell Adams, who was constantly overmatched by Elvis Dumervill. Witten routinely motioned to that side and blocked.

Jon A. (Virginia)

Do you think the absence of Chris Canty has something to do with Demarcus Ware not having a sack so far this season?

Ed Werder
  (11:13 AM)

DeMarcus Ware is the feature of every opposing game plan. The fact that he doesn't have a single sack after leading the NFL with 20 last season reflects the respect he commands. It also creates the perception, perhaps accurately so, that the Cowboys mis-evaluated Greg Ellis' ability to divert some of the attention Ware is getting and also Anthony Spencer's ability to rush the passer from the other side. Spencer is not winning his one-on-ones and that's troubling because it's not often that a pass rusher it totally unblocked. Spencer is costing Ware sacks but might be saving Jerry Jones money on Ware's next contract

Richie Wright (Salisbury, MD)

It's easy to point the finger @ QB when the offense isn't clicking. Where's the downfield passing game? The wide outs can't seem to get any separation the past 3 games...how much of this is on the WRs...or Jason Garrett? Why not turn Witten loose downfield for 10-15 yd routes? Where's the Double Dynamite we kept hearing about in training camp?

Ed Werder
  (11:17 AM)

Tony Romo is off to the worst four-game start of his career as the Cowboys quarterback. His completion percentage is in the process of dropping for the fourth consecutive year. He has jut four touchdown passes and four interceptions this season. Last year at this point, he had eight TD passes and three INTs. In 2007, he had 11 TDs and three INTs. The other big number to look at his the sack total _ 8. Romo was sacked nine times in the first four games of the previous two seasons combined. The Cowboys, like every other team, will be unable to consistently push the ball down the field if they fail to protect the quarterback. Romo can't hold it long enough to let his receivers complete their routes. But the lack of speed at the WR position is an issue. Without Felix Jones, the Cowboys are a slow team. Some of the receivers are also poor route-runners from what I've been told.

Keith (Dallas, TX)

Ed....How much playing time do you see M. Austin getting this week against KC? If, it is a significant increase will he still be in the return game?

Ed Werder
  (11:19 AM)

The Cowboys have to get Miles Austin involved if they're going to have any kind of vertical offense. He's not the next TO as Jerry suggested in the offseason, but there's no reason that he can't do what Alvin Harper did for Troy Aikman _ stretch the field, make the safeties aware that the Cowboys have a receiver capable of making the big play and catch two balls for 71 yards or so.

jordan (virginia)

hey do you think that te cowboys can win the superbowl

Ed Werder
  (11:27 AM)

Before the season, I considered the Cowboys one of the most talented teams in football. I've never questioned their talent level. But I have serious misgivings about obvious lack of leadership. After Sunday's loss, Patrick Crayton is suggesting the Cowboys take the ball out of Romo's hands and become a power running team, which they seemed on the verge of doing in the first quarter. I don't necessarily disagree with that, but Crayton is demonstrating a lack of confidence in Romo and should not be allowed to publicly undermine his quarterback. I believe that's the reside of TO, who criticized Romo to the other receivers. If they're still communicating with TO, I'm convinced he wouldn't be trying to bolster their faith in the quarterback he believes forced him out of Dallas. The other example applies to Wade Phillips, who claimed he didn't notice Marion Barber barely played in the second half and carried just once. The head coach didn't realize his starting running back was on the sideline most of the second half? Anybody think Jimmy Johnson or Bill Parcells would have responded to the inquiry a day after a loss with the bewilderment Wade showed? Either Barber would have been playing or they would have known immediately why he was unavailable. That, to me, is symptomatic of the real problem at Valley Ranch.

Milton (New York)

what the cowboys need to address and order to take care bussines over KS?

Ed Werder
  (11:36 AM)

I think this could be a struggle for the Cowboys, who are seeking the first victory in franchise history at Arrowhead. It will be loud, a difficult place to play. These kinds of conditions make it difficult for the offense to function, especially for LT Flozell Adams, who has a hearing deficit and is forced to look in to see the ball rather than listening to Romo's cadence. That's part of why he struggled in Denver. The Chiefs are rebuilding and have one of the worst rosters in football, but the Cowboys will be without Felix Jones, possibly Roy Williams and Andre Gurode will be playing hurt if at all. There is incredible internal pressure to win this game, but the reasons cited above create the potential of it being closer than expected. Thats all for now. I've got to work on a Josh McDaniels-Bill Belichick feature for Sunday Countdown. Best to all and thanks for your questions.

Jim (Tampa)

Hey Ed...bit of advice. Stop writting a novel and answer more questions, shorter. Makes you more appealing if done this way!

Ed Werder
  (12:08 PM)

You sound like every editor I've ever had. I appreciate the advice and you're no doubt right. This is my first career chat. Thanks for your brilliant coaching point. I could go on, but that would be counterproductive. Thanks again