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October 23, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Ed Werder

Taylor D (Dallas, TX)

Ed, love your stuff since you've been covering the Cowboys. Just wondering if you think that all the Cowboys three-headed running attack will be active? And if so, with the Falcons boasting a lowly pass defense, do you think the Cowboys could take this game?

Mitchell Davis (Raliegh, NC)

If talent is not the issue for the cowboys, what move should the cowboys make to become an elite team. Change coach, change quarterback, change offense ord., change offense philosophy, or change owner?

  (11:16 AM)

Sorry for the delay Ed will answer questions shortly.

  (11:18 AM)

Having some technical difficulties. Thanks for your patience!

MJ (Boston)

Lets go Ed....its Friday....who wins Atlanta or Dallas?

  (11:19 AM)

Testing some things out here ... hope to get Ed online soon.

Ed Werder
  (11:23 AM)

Computer problems in Bristol. I wasn't late. Thanks to MIS for hooking us up.To answer Taylor's question, I think the Cowboys will have to score a significant number of points to beat the Falcons, and it's hard to do that running the ball. Plus, Atlanta's secondary is a weakness. As for the Cowboys running backs, I went to Valley Ranch yesterday and was assured by a member of the offensive staff that Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice will be ready. Falcons coach Mike Smith told me yesterday the Cowboys wouldn't trade that trio for any other in football. Two concerns _ Jones is a breakaway, speed player who might be wearing a knee brace for the first time. How does that affect his ability to change direction? Marion Barber still plagued with a quad strain and now has a broken thumb. While it's not to his dominant hand, it has to affect his ability to catch and perhaps could be a ball security concern.

Andrew (Boston)

Ed- What changes do the Dallas Cowboys have to make to become a serious contender?

Ed Werder
  (11:25 AM)

The Cowboys are playing a quality opponent in the Falcons on Sunday and their injury report makes it seem like they just played a physical team like the Steelers or Ravens rather than coming out of the bye week. If I could pinpoint one thing for improvement, I would say red-zone scoring. They have to get Jason Witten opportunities down there. Red-zone failure indicates a faulty running game or questionable decision-making by the quarterback.

Ed Werder
  (11:28 AM)

Matt Ryan is a developing young quarterback who will be one of the best in the league by the end of this season. He's still learning how to handle the additional challenges of playing on the road, although he's significantly better in that regard this season. He's not turning the ball over, gets it out quick and finds the right matchup. The Falcons will give the Cowboys defense problems with their no-huddle offense as they seek to exploit Wade Phillips' defensive shortcomings in that phase of the game. The Cowboys have not beaten a team as good as the Falcons, but they are capable.

Andrew (Boston)

Ed , Do you think the Dallas Cowboys can win with Tony Romo or do you think they need to draft a quarterback of the future if Romo continues to be inconsistent?

Ed Werder
  (11:30 AM)

I've solicited the opinions of everybody from the Cowboys' greatest quarterback _ Troy Aikman _ to some of the best young offensive coaches in the league _ Sean Payton and Josh McDaniels _ and all agree that Tony Romo is capable of winning big in the NFL. I'm not sure he's won the locker room back from all the internal damage done to him last year. I believe some players hold him responsible for TO's departure and think Owens provided the team its best chance to win. Tony has to win the locker room before he's going to lead this team deep into the playoffs.

Lady G (beaufort south carolina)

whats up wit dem cowboys? do you ed believe they regret losing t. o. ? i think that jeaulously played a big part in his depature. i am not a big t. o. fan but he was at the time there best reciever. i havrent seen any of there reciever except for austin doing anything productive in a while.

Ed Werder
  (11:34 AM)

I think there are lingering affects from the controversial decision the Cowboys made to release TO. I think what's happened to him in Buffalo justifies their belief he was not only a locker-room problem but that his skills were diminishing significantly. The Cowboys are paying $18 million on the cap for TO and Roy Williams alone, and they're getting no production from one of them and not much from the other. Roy's averaged two catches and 30-some yards per game as a Cowboy. It's always dangerous to judge a receiver like him on the basis of one good season for a very bad Detroit team that had to throw all the time. I thought RW would be a legitimate No. 1 with the opportunities TO used to get. That hasn't happened yet. Miles Austin has to stretch the field. Bill Parcells believed Austin could be a good player with three or four years of development. Now it's time.

matt (New York)

Do youthink the injury to Ware is hindering his sack total or is it offenses adapting to his pass rush

Ed Werder
  (11:37 AM)

Great question. Interesting the Cowboys never revealed DeMarcus Ware's stress fracture when he went four games without a sack. Now maybe Ware didn't inform them of the problem until the bye week. But it's interesting that the disclosure comes now after he gets two sacks. Ware is a unique player in that he has incredible acceleration off the ball and can lower his body almost parallel to the ground while turning the corner on the OT. I have to believe that any foot problem would create difficulties for him and contribute to his poor start.

Kevin Ryan (Austin, TX)

Ed thanks for your time today. I am having a hard time understanding why Matt Jones is still unemployed. I understand his off field issues but unless I am mistaken it was a one time thing and there are a ton of players in the NFL that have off field issues and are playing on Sundays right now. at 6'6 228 with 4.4 speed as well as being from Arkansas wouldn't he be a great weapon for the Cowboys?

Ed Werder
  (11:39 AM)

I think the Cowboys feel they have enough receivers, and I inquired about their interest in Matt Jones. They do not believe he is more than an average player and his off-the-field problems make him not worth the risk in their minds

Barry (Oldsmar, FL)

How do you think R Williams will do this weekend ?

Ed Werder
  (11:42 AM)

I think the Cowboys will throw the ball successfully against the Falcons. Roy Williams should be highly motivated. But he should have been after all the preseason skepticism from Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders and that didn't influence his performance. The controversy this week has not been about Patrick Crayton or Miles Austin's promotion. It's about Roy Williams failing to produce to the level of his contract and all the Cowboys traded to acquire him. And that makes it a referendum on Jerry Jones as GM. Maybe Williams is just an average receiver but he's not going to be judged that way. He's going to be judged against what the Cowboys paid for him.

shanard (slc,ut)

Hey ED, do u see austin having a good game against the falcons.

Ed Werder
  (11:44 AM)

If the over-under on Miles Austin is 250 yards, I will take the under. I think Austin is going to be targeted in the offense more than ever. I think he can be a very good vertical player on routes outside the numbers. He's less effective running inside routes. The Cowboys have him playing a different position, which means they're either playing him out of position now or have been until now. There's no reason he can't do what Alvin Harper did as the compliment to Michael Irvin _ three or four catches for 70-plus yards and the occasional long touchdown

Wayne (El Paso)

Hi Ed,The Cowboys' offense is 2nd in yds/game but 11th in pts/game, a sign that their red zone offense must improve (as you pointed out). That and there 2 min. defense seem to be their biggest issues. Is there anything else you see as a major concern that is holded this team back?

Ed Werder
  (11:47 AM)

The injuries to the running backs has certainly been a setback. Marion Barber has more rushing touchdowns than any other player in the league the past few years, but he has not been the same since his quad injury. I also don't think the offensive line is dominant and so when the Cowboys have tried to throw for points, like in Denver for example, they've been forced to keep Jason Witten in to protect. They have to release him. He's too good around the goal line. And on a short drop, they shouldn't need extra blockers. Romo can get it out quicker.

Andrew (Boston)

Ed- Do you know who Cincy was offering for Martellus Bennett???

Ed Werder
  (11:48 AM)

I don't know, and I've certainly tried to determine that. I do know the Cowboys think he will be a dominant player in the future. The players tell me he's an athletic freak on the scale of DeMarcus Ware. If he's too good to trade for a high pick, then I'm sure Jerry Jones wants that justified by getting him more involved in the offense. What happened to the two-TE attack that was so in vogue in Austin?

Shawn (Virginia)

Will Coach Phillips have a job with the Cowboys next year, and if not, wil Garrett take the reins?

Ed Werder
  (11:51 AM)

Unless the Cowboys make the NFC Championship Game, I expect Wade Phillips' option will not be renewed. Jerry is making a conscious decision not to stand behind Wade in choosing not to pick up his option for another season right now. If Bill Parcells hada coached another season as Jerry had hoped, Garrett would have been added to that staff and then promoted to HC when Parcells retired. There is no clear line of succession now. I expect Jerry to pursue the Super Bowl-winners who will be seeking jobs. And the Redskins' declaration that emasculated Jim Zorn will finish the season, if true, won't cost the Cowboys one of their top candidates unless they make the playoffs.

Akia (Louisiana)

Do you believe this is truly the year of the saints or do you believe its too early to tell?

Ed Werder
  (11:53 AM)

Drew Brees is playing like Kurt Warner in his prime or Tom Brady two years ago. They're unbeatable if he stays healthy. It will be difficult for them if they have to play in bad weather outdoors as happened in the NFC Championship Game in Chicago three years ago. That's why beating the Giants last week was more important. It could be for homefield advantage. I was at the game last week and very impressed with their defense, and I really like Mike Bell as a runner. They are the most complete team Payton and Brees have had.

Ken (Clearwater FL)

So did Wade get a contract extention. I had heard rumors of Shanahan interested in Dallas?

Ed Werder
  (11:55 AM)

The Cowboys have an option on Wade Phillips for 2010 that Jerry Jones has not picked up. Mike Shanahan will be interested in the Cowboys job, and Jerry will be interested in him. He, like Romo, played at Eastern Illinois. Jerry will look at Shanahan and Mike Holmgren as offensive coaches who can justify the team's investment in Romo. Also, Shanahan and the Broncos actually offered Romo twice as much as the Cowboys in terms of signing bonus when he was an undrafted free agent.

Mike (Dallas)

Jerry Jones mentioned that he'd like Doug Free to start getting some snaps. Is he a future starter at one of their OT spots or will they lose him to free-agency without ever having give him a chance.

Ed Werder
  (11:58 AM)

I thought it was interesting that Jerry is asked to access his under-performing 3-2 team during the bye week and he cites the guys who aren't playing as his primary concern. It seems to me the Cowboys have some players who are playing who need to do so at a higher level. If the Cowboys believed in Doug Free, he'd be playing now because people in the league tell me that Flozell Adams has become a liability and that's why he's had all the penalties and fines this season.

shane (dc)

love the Stache man! do you use it to get into clubs?

Ed Werder
  (11:59 AM)

I appreciate the compliment, if that's what it really was, which I doubt. Haha. I'm not a club guy. Just trying to make sure my media credential gets me into the games. That's it for this week. Sorry for the computer problems. Let's do it again next week.