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November 20, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Ed Werder

John (Miami)

Hi Ed..It seems that both Marion Barber and felix Jones are not 100% why don't they give Choice the opportunity to carry the load?He has shown he can run between the tackles and has break away speed.

Ed Werder
  (11:02 AM)

In my best Ron Burgundy voice, allow me to say, Hello again, everybody! The Cowboys have contradicted themselves frequently regarding the health of their running backs. Marion Barber's lower body seems healthy now, but they claim he's had problems with the thumb injury in pass protection. Felix Jones continues to wear a knee brace. Since Jason Garrett's been criticized for not using either of them enough, they've had plenty of extra time to get healthy. Whether it's Barber, Jones or Tashard Choice, the Cowboys need to get the running backs more involved. I disagree that Choice has breakaway speed. The Cowboys have two vertical players _ Miles Austin and Felix Jones.

Mac (milwaukee,wi.)

who would u start? addai or betts

Ed Werder
  (11:04 AM)

Bradie James made the point that looking at the film, it appears the Redskins' offensive line is blocking harder for Ladell Betts than they did Clinton Portis. It seems to me that the Redskins will have to run the football to avoid Jason Campbell being sacked or turning the ball over against the Cowboys' pass rush. Joseph Addai seems to be less involved to me with the Colts, who play the Ravens this week.

GAC follower (texas)

does brett favre really like you in the blue suit?

Ed Werder
  (11:07 AM)

I've covered Brett Favre since he was preparing for his first playoff game against the Cowboys. The Dallas Morning News sent me up to Green Bay as the Cowboys' beat writer to write a profile on Favre. He's noticed that I often wear a blue suit and that has become his inside joke with me. Two years ago before he came to Texas Stadium, I was among those on the conference call. When I asked a question, he recognized my voice and asked if I were wearing a blue suit. I asked him what color he wanted me to wear to the game. He said a brown suit. So I wore a carmel-colored sport coat, walked out to the field during warmups and asked what he though. He said, "That's not brown." I said it's not blue, and that's the point. So, yeah, it's just something he jokes about.

GAC follower (texas)

is that mustache real?or transplant?

Ed Werder
  (11:07 AM)

The mustache is real. The hair atop my head my soon require a transplant

george,newark,nj [via mobile]

is miles austin ever going to recieve the ball again?

Ed Werder
  (11:10 AM)

Miles Austin's receiving totals have fallen every week since the Kansas City game. The Cowboys should have been able to exploit the Packers secondary in matchups with their wideouts last week since Dom Capers used his best corner _ Charles Woodson _ on TE Jason Witten. Austin had a chance to make a big play early in the game to put the Cowboys in front but Romo's pass was slightly high. Blame them both. Romo indicated Austin flattened his route more than the quarterback expected. The Broncos beat the Redskins secondary deep twice with Brandon Marshall last week and had Eddie Royal open on a double move but the ball was overthrown. The Cowboys should give Austin some chances down the field this week.

Dean Rosetti (Olyphant PA)

Looks like the Packers layed the blue print to beat the cowboys with the Blitz. It is obvious that the Redskins will try to do the same. Dont you think Dallas should use felix jones more, with the screns and Delays. He is a natural blitz nuetralizer. What do you think?

Ed Werder
  (11:12 AM)

The Cowboys can use Felix Jones' speed on draws and counters against the Redskins blitz on first and second downs. Jones isn't a good receiver and they don't trust him in blitz pickups so he doesn't play on third downs _ which if he could do either of those would be perfect situations for someone with his skill set.

Greg ( ashburn VA )

who's the likey teams in the mix to go after mike shanahan?

Ed Werder
  (11:14 AM)

The two at Cowboys Stadium Sunday _ the Cowboys and Redskins, depending upon how Wade Phillips' team performs in December. Dan Snyder won't let money be an object. Jerry has never believed paying huge salaries to head coaches was necessary. He did it out of desperation for Bill Parcells and never won a playoff game, although the talent level of the team improved dramatically. Shanahan is from Eastern Illinios, as is Tony Romo. And Romo was offered more money by Shanahan to sign with the Broncos than he was the Cowboys. Shanahan will be the No. 1 candidate for any team making a coaching change, including the Cowboys.

Richie Wright (Salisbury,MD)

Ed, seemed like the Denver game all over again watching Cowboy offense last week. Lot of similarities problems, 3rd down conversions, inability or unwillingness to run the ball. Seems like they can't move the ball against 3-4 defenses? Your thoughts?

Ed Werder
  (11:16 AM)

The Cowboys' record against 3-4 defenses with quality personnel is not good. You're right. Those defenses are difficult to run against, and when you're one-dimensional as the Cowboys were in Green Bay, they can bring the pressure because they make if difficult for the quarterback to identify the fourth and fifth pass rushers, which creates confusion in protection schemes. But the Cowboys should be better against it than they have been since it's what they use themselves so they get a lot of quality practice reps against the scheme. But the Cowboys are built to succeed in the NFC East, where everyone else runs the 4-3.

Brandon LA [via mobile]

Will the cowboys make the playoffs they will be 8and3 going in dec but hard teams to face @NY SD @NO then philly to end the year you think Dallas will fold again or will wade and romo step up i think romos rec in dec is 7and10 not good

Ed Werder
  (11:18 AM)

Romo is 5-8 in December and January. The Cowboys know they have to win these two home against against two of the worst teams in the league. Believe me, the players know how difficult their upcoming December schedule will be, starting at the Giants. The two home games are San Diego and Philly here just after the first of the year. That is going to be a real challenge even if they are 8-3 after Thanksgiving.

Butch (League City Texas) the guy with the best inside scoop, will Jason Garret be back next year? It appears that when Tony Sporano went to Miami, our play calling went south with him.

Ed Werder
  (11:20 AM)

Thanks for the compliment. I don't believe any of the Cowboys' coaches know their futures beyond the rest of the regular season. I don't think Jason Garrett will be a head coach anywhere else next season and it's difficult to foresee a situation where Wade Phillips leaves and Garrett can be promoted _ unless the Cowboys reach the Super Bowl and Phillips retires. I think Jerry wants Wade to win so that he can keep him for several reasons _ Wade lets Jerry be right about hiring him, Wade lets Jerry be Jerry around the players, and Wade doesn't cost Jerry a fortune whether he picks up his contract or signs him to an extension.

Nathan (Bermuda)

Ed, why haven't we seen more of the Martellus Bennett mismatches that we heard about all through camp? Is it protection, are they not confident in Marty B, or is it something else?

Ed Werder
  (11:22 AM)

Good question. I think it's some of both. They had him open for a big play last week. None of the Cowboys' tight ends are involved in the passing game and even Jason Witten has suggested he's like to be used down the field more. Part of it has been the Cowboys have been forced to keep their tight ends in to block more often. And that only becomes more likely now with Doug Free making his first NFL start as the replacement for Marc Columbo.

dustin (cincinnati)

hey ed. im hearing a lot of people say the bengals are not a legitamate super bowl contender. i think they have a great defense, and as long as carson palmer stays healthy they have a killer offense. but do you think they are a contender?

Ed Werder
  (11:25 AM)

The Bengals have proven themselves with sweeps of the Steelers and Ravens. I think what they've done this year is great not only for Marvin Lewis, but for Mike Zimmer and Carson Palmer, a great quarterback whose career has too often been wasted by a dysfunctional organization. That said, I think they're going to miss Chris Henry and now Cedric Benson is injured. I have a hard time imagining them beating the Colts and Patriots, and what if they have to play a third game against the Steelers?

damarje' (phoenix)

Do you think the Steelers will make the playoffs

Ed Werder
  (11:26 AM)

I have no doubt. I think Mike Tomlin is one of the three best coaches in football, and they have great veteran leadership in Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, James Harrison. They've lost Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu and those are significant, but the Steelers still have enough great players.

Solomon (Va)

Do you think the Eagles will ever win the Super Bowl under Andy Reid? I think the Eagles are like the Bucs under Tony Dungy.

Ed Werder
  (11:29 AM)

I don't know whether they will ever win the Super Bowl, but Andy Reid's gotten them there one time and had them a single victory away as recently as last season. The Eagles lost Jim Johnson, so they're making a defensive transition. It looks like Brian Westbrook might be done this season and perhaps forever, so that's another challenge. And they lost Donovan McNabb for some games early in the season. I wouldn't give up on Andy Reid. He's no worse than the second-best coach in the division.

anthony (san antonio)

jason garrett is overrated or underrated as an oc?

Ed Werder
  (11:34 AM)

Well, it seems this week with everybody from Wade Phillips to Jerry Jones suggesting he called a poor game last week, I'd say it seems the team believes he has mismanaged the talent on the offense. It appears to me the Cowboys have an offensive head coach and a defensive head coach and that nobody takes responsibility for the overall performance of the team. I don't understand how Phillips can stand next to Garrett on the sideline for four hours in Green Bay and wait until Monday's press conference to suggest the Cowboys should have been more balanced. Why doesn't Wade click over on his headset during the game and at least suggest to Garrett that they try running the ball to protect the defense. Not that I'm sure I want to advocate Wade getting involved in offensive play-calling. This is why Phillips wanted Dan Reeves in the organization. And when you think about it, how different was that attempt to undermine Garrett from what the Redskins did to Jim Zorn with Sherm Lewis calling the plays now? And Jerry's saying it doesn't take a sophisticated football man to see Felix Jones needs the ball. Jerry seems to be calling out his coaches to me.

Josh Miles (McMinnville, TN)

has any one else noticed that when romo says kill kill kill at the line they run a draw 95% of the time. do they not think the defense has picked up on this?

Ed Werder
  (11:35 AM)

I don't know that Romo defaults automatically to a draw play when he audibles from a pass to a run at the line of scrimmage. But I assume he's making the right decision to change the play based on how the defense presents itself. The Cowboys have to execute the play to make it successful.

Rich (NJ)

Felix Jones?? He is rotting away on my fantasy bench. Any chance they get him the damn ball??

Ed Werder
  (11:37 AM)

I would say there's never a better time than now for Felix Jones. If Jerry Jones publicly challenges his offensive coordinator by saying that it doesn't take a sophisticated football man to see that Felix Jones needs the ball in space to make big plays, then what must he be saying to Jason Garrett behind closed doors at Valley Ranch? Felix Jones is going to get the football Sunday. But now Jerry has created awareness about that intention for the Redskins.

anthony (san antonio)

why havent we seen more of kevin ogletree, he obviously brings another dimension to the offense. I would like to see something more than just bubble screens to him.

Ed Werder
  (11:39 AM)

Let's see, here's Jason Garrett's list of things to do this weekend _ run the ball with Marion Barber to establish a physical mindset, get Felix Jones enough opportunities to get Jerry Jones off his back, create opportunities for Miles Austin to make big plays, and keep Roy Williams happy, too. I think Kevin Ogletree is a promising young player who deserves a few opportunities, but he's pretty far down the list for Garrett right now.

anthony (san antonio)

why are we holding on to allen rossum?

Ed Werder
  (11:41 AM)

Because the Cowboys thought he was a unique threat in the return game and haven't changed their opinion based on the fact he was injured the first time he touched the ball for the team. His salary is not prohibitive, they don't need his roster spot and they think he might have a few big plays in him later in the season. Thanks for all the great questions and hope everyone enjoys the holidays.