Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (2:59 PM)

Thanks for joining me on this week's Cowboys chat. Let's get right to the questions.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will Dez Bryant the best WR as a Rookie for the Dallas Cowboys?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:00 PM)

No reason to put that kind of pressure on the kid. After all, Miles Austin led the NFC in receiving yards and tied for the TD lead last season. It's not like Dallas has a desperate need for a No. 1 receiver.

John Dupuis (Howell NJ)

What are the Cowboys going to do with Bobby Caprenter? Is there any value to Carpenter via trade, maybe Miami? Will Sean Lee be able to wear #45 in the regular season?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:01 PM)

Carpenter would have been traded during draft weekend if there was a decent deal on the table. It looks like he'll go back to being a highly paid special teams player. No. 45 is Lee's number for the long haul.

James (florida)

is the asking price too high for the safety from Rams ategowe or we just that confident in A. Ball?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:02 PM)

Might be a little bit of both. O.J. Atogwe won't be unrestricted until June. The Cowboys have confidence in Alan Ball and are intrigued by Mike Hamlin's talent. If those two don't look good during OTAs and minicamp, the Cowboys might pursue Atogwe, and then cost would become a concern. They're not looking to give out another contract like the Ken Hamlin deal, which obviously didn't work out real well.

kenyatta adams (Roselle, NJ)

I have 2 questions. The Cowboys need OT depth. Do you think the Cowboys will trade for Jamal Brown of the Saints or sign free agent Mike Gandy? Would the Raiders trade N.Asomugha to the Cowboys for T. Newman , a 2nd round draft choice in 2011, and P. Crayton? What are your thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:04 PM)

Your Raiders proposal has a zero percent chance of happening. As far as the O-line goes, Jerry Jones said over the weekend that he feels the team addressed its depth issue by re-signing guard Montrae Holland. The line of thinking is that Leonard Davis can move to tackle, which he played extensively for the Cardinals, in a pinch. Not sure I agree with that line of thinking, but that's the word straight from the mouth of the man who ultimately makes the decisions.

Billy (Albuquerque)

The Cowboys keep saying we believe Doug Free will do just fine at LT but it seems like just yesterday that Free was being manhandled by Jared Allen in that horrible playoff loss. What do the coaches and Jerry see that we don't see standing on the outside looking in?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:06 PM)

Free didn't fare as poorly against Jared Allen as most folks believe. Allen made two big plays -- a tackle for loss and sack -- right after Flozell Adams was injured. But Jason Witten was alone on him both plays. Blame the scheme for putting a tight end on an All-Pro defensive end. Free is a natural left tackle who played well while filling in for Marc Colombo on the other side last season. The Cowboys believe that a developing free is better than a declining Flo. (I've got a feeling Flo's price tag influenced Jerry's thinking, too.)

Mike (Dallas)

What player would you compare Dez Bryant to after watching the minicamp?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:08 PM)

Michael Irvin compared him to Anquan Boldin, and I can certainly see that with his tackle-breaking, run-after-catch ability. But Bryant excels at jump balls and has unbelievable body control. In that sense, he's similar to Larry Fitzgerald. In terms of pure talent, Bryant has perennial Pro Bowler written all over him. We'll see whether he can fight through all the other issues to tap that potential.


What is the status of the rookie contracts or will we not know that until right before training camp

Tim MacMahon
  (3:10 PM)

The Cowboys usually don't start negotiating with their draft picks until the week before camp. It wouldn't be stunning if Dez Bryant misses two or three days, which is what happened a couple of years ago with Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins, who were also represented by Eugene Parker. I don't think Bryant will have a long holdout, despite the fact that he's surrounded himself with the same support group as Michael Crabtree.

Miguel Benavides (Eagle Pass, Texas)

The Cowoys haven't really made a splash in the free agency do you think they will do anything soon and if so who will they target?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:11 PM)

It doesn't look like the Cowboys will make a splash in free agency. Jerry hasn't ruled out signing a safety, but he seemed to be leaning against doing so over the weekend.

Ryan (Sacramento Ca)

From what you see do you think that the Cowboys will be the most dynamic offense in the league?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:13 PM)

They'll definitely be in the conversation. Felix Jones will have a much bigger role, and there's no doubt he's more dynamic than Marion Barber. Dez Bryant adds another playmaker. If they can get Martellus Bennett involved, he's a weapon. And we haven't even mentioned the Pro Bowlers at tight end, receiver and quarterback. It's up to Jason Garrett to make sure the Cowboys do a better job of converting yards into points. They were among the league leaders in yards last season but middle of the pack in scoring.

Quinnten Ned (dallas,tx)

Why do people compare Dez Bryant to Randy Moss.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:14 PM)

As I wrote this week, it's an easy comparison because they were no-brainer top-10 talents who slid in the draft due to off-field issues. However, they're different players with drastically different issues.

Lubbock Texas [via mobile]

What kind of impact does Dez Bryant have on Roy E. Williams future with the cowboys?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:15 PM)

Bryant's arrival makes it a lot easier for the Cowboys to cut Williams loose if he doesn't produce this season. The guaranteed money is gone from Williams' contract after this year, so the Cowboys won't have any financial motivation to keep him around.

Michael B (Flower Mound,TX)

Will Dez Bryant be a Pro-Bowl caliber reciever in his rookie season?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:16 PM)

That's probably expecting a bit much, considering he won't begin the season as a starter. His production as a rookie depends on several factors. The primary ones he needs to focus on are learning the playbook and reporting to training camp in excellent shape.

Erik (Los Angeles)

Is it just me, or do the 'Boys appear to be one injury on the OL away from mediocrity? Even Romo can't dodge everybody. (See Minnesota)

Tim MacMahon
  (3:18 PM)

Offensive line depth definitely ranks as one of the top concerns for the Cowboys. My advice would have been to keep Flozell Adams for one more season and make him fight Doug Free for the job. But nobody asked for my opinion, and Flo's multimillion dollar salary wasn't going to come out of my wallet.

Zak Manz (St.Louis, MO)

Will Marion Barber touch the ball as much as Jones this year?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:19 PM)

Doubt it. I think Barber will go back to the role he had before getting the big contract, which is about 10 carries per game, a lot of which will come in the fourth quarter. Jones ought to get around 15 touches per game.

Andres Arguello (Managua, Nicaragua)

Will Buehler be able to handle FG duties? Does McGee have what it takes to some day take Romo's place?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:20 PM)

Too early to tell on either. The Cowboys are counting on Buehler. If he doesn't pan out, they might have to scour the waiver wire for a kicker in September. With McGee, they need to determine during training camp and the preseason whether he's a worthy developmental project. But Romo ought to have several good years left in him, barring injury.

Ryan (Dallas)

What value do you think Crayton would bring back in a trade?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:21 PM)

Not much apparently, or he would have been dealt during the draft.

Rob (Brooklyn)

Will we ever see the beast in MartyB? What do you think he needs to do to get better and showcase his skills?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:23 PM)

He needs to stop sweating the number of opportunities he gets and take advantage of the ones that come his way. If he does that, he'll steadily earn a bigger role in the offense. Jason Garrett would love to have a 6-6, 265-pound guy he can count on to stretch the field and be a major threat in the red zone. But Martellus must run precise routes and show sure hands for the Cowboys to count on him. Anybody who attended training camp in the Alamodome last season would assure you that talent isn't the issue.

Charles Burks (Grand Prairie Tx)

Is stephen Hodge going to be healthy enough to compete for a spot on the 2010 roster?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:24 PM)

Stephen Hodge, who had microfracture knee surgery last year, is expected to be fully cleared for training camp. The Cowboys think he can be an impact special teams player, but it could be tough for him to earn a roster spot, considering the crowd at inside linebacker.

Chase (Grand Prairie,TX)

Do you think Crayton will be gone this year, and do you think that Dez will be able to learn the offense well enough to challenge RW for his starting job?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:26 PM)

Crayton's time at Valley Ranch is definitely running out. It wouldn't surprise me if they decide to release him this offseason, especially if he presses the issue. Can't blame him for wanting to be with a team that has a role with him. Good question about Dez, and that's to be determined. If he does grasp the offense, I still don't think he'll start this season if Austin and Williams stay healthy. The likely scenario is that it'd be similar to the Greg Ellis-Anthony Spencer situation late in 2008. Ellis was a ceremonial starter basically, but Spencer got most of the snaps.

Bryan (Frisco)

Me and my friend argue about this all the time maybe you can help us. Who do you see being better Wr in Nfl Crabtree or Dez? I say Dez

Tim MacMahon
  (3:27 PM)

Too tough to call. Both ought to be perennial Pro Bowlers.

Brian (Bay Area)

Will the 'Boys regret not getting any quality cornerback depth? They are one injury away from having serious coverage issues.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:29 PM)

That's another legitimate concern, especially with Terence Newman turning 32. Alan Ball is the fourth best cornerback on the roster, but they'd like for him to focus on free safety, especially if he's the starter. That might not be possible if one of the top three corners goes down.

Travis (Tempe, AZ)

Is it possible for the Cowboys to get alll their weapons enough touches in a game to be successful? Or do you think they will get caught up in trying to get everyone equal touches and lose sight of using a balanced attack?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:30 PM)

Those are nice problems to have for Jason Garrett. The Cowboys can't have T.O.-esque whining about touches. There will be games where good players don't get involved. That's OK as long as the Cowboys are creating and exploiting mismatches.

Jose (San Antornio, TX)

Do you believe the Cowboys are in line for a historic offensive season like say the Patriots back in 2007?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:32 PM)

This seems like another good time to remind folks that the Cowboys ranked 14th in the NFL in scoring next season. They better iron out their red zone problems before we start talking about historic production. It'd also help if the defense would create more turnovers.

TWO FIVE (Laredo, Texas)

How really GOOD are Dez's hands once you've actually seen them in person?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:34 PM)

He probably made 10 catches in three days that made me mutter, "Wow" (or an R-rated version) under my breath. His hands and body control are phenomenal. The most impressive catch he made was probably on an errant back shoulder throw about 25 yards downfield. He snatched the ball with his left hand, tucked it in smoothly and spun up the sideline. Made it look easy.

K2 (Dallas)

How is Buehler doing with his field goal attempts?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:34 PM)

They say he's doing well, but he didn't take part in the rookie minicamp. We won't see Buehler kick until OTAs begin later this month.

Wade Phillips (Arlington, Texas)

Should I be concerned for my job if I dont go as far or farther in the playoffs than I did last year?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:35 PM)

That's definitely the hint dropped by Jerry at the press conference to announce your two-year contract extension.

Jeffrey (Ohio)

Is Sicko a strong option to replace Cricket on the 53 man roster?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:36 PM)

The Cowboys plan to find out whether Sicko can handle fullback and H-back duties. They don't know yet, but they definitely like his college production and pro potential as a pass catcher.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:37 PM)

For those who don't know, "Cricket" is fullback Deon Anderson's nickname. I slapped that on him after he ate a cricket in the Alamodome locker room during training camp his rookie year. Tip of the cap to Jeffrey for being a long-time reader.

Brandon (Frostburg, MD)

Ant chance Pat Watkins gets a look at FS? I remember he started and had a couple good games and a couple bad games (Philly) He's 6"5 and runs pretty well so why not?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:38 PM)

That would mean that Alan Ball and Mike Hamlin were busts. Watkins is fallback option at best. He struggles to diagnose plays, which wastes his speed. But I think he'll stick on the roster because he is a good special teams player.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Tim, Im one of the few that still has faith in Roy Williams. I remember what a Man-amongst Boys he was in college and his first few years with Detroit. What has happend to him? I believe it has to be mental. If thats the case could a mentor relationship with Dez Bryant spark that fire tha Roy needs to return to what he can be?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:41 PM)

What a coincidence that you're from West Texas. I disagree that he was a man among boys in Detroit. He had one 1,000-yard season in his four full years for the Lions. And that came in a Mike Martz offense. Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald had 1,000-yard seasons in Martz's scheme, and I don't see anybody giving up premier picks for the right to pay them $9 million per season. I believe Roy has lost some burst, so his flaws as a route runner have been exposed. And he's lost confidence -- and never gained it from Tony Romo or Jason Garrett. I don't put much stock in Dez Bryant's arrival motivating Williams. He had all sorts of motivational ammo last offseason and didn't produce.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:41 PM)

What a coincidence that you're from West Texas. I disagree that he was a man among boys in Detroit. He had one 1,000-yard season in his four full years for the Lions. And that came in a Mike Martz offense. Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald had 1,000-yard seasons in Martz's scheme, and I don't see anybody giving up premier picks for the right to pay them $9 million per season. I believe Roy has lost some burst, so his flaws as a route runner have been exposed. And he's lost confidence -- and never gained it from Tony Romo or Jason Garrett. I don't put much stock in Dez Bryant's arrival motivating Williams. He had all sorts of motivational ammo last offseason and didn't produce.

charles (texas)

is this perhaps the best cowboys defrense you have seen?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:43 PM)

This unit needs to force a lot more turnovers before we even consider placing them above either of the Doomsday groups or the mid-'90s dynasty defenses. This is the best defense since the Cowboys last won a Super Bowl, but that's it at this point.

Jody Crabtree (Tulsa, OK)

I think Dez is big enough he wont be scared to go across the middle like some other rookies. He definitely will play a good roll in our offense. How did he look out of his cuts this weekend? Did he read coverage very well?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:44 PM)

All the competitive passing drills were 1-on-1, so we didn't get to see him read any coverages. Bryant can get better as a route runner, which is why Ray Sherman and Jason Garrett were in his ear after every rep over the weekend. But the dude is definitely explosive. He might not have great stopwatch speed, but he's a quick-twitch guy who gets to full speed in a few steps.

Joe Garcia (Fresno, CA)

How's it going Tim? Read your work good stuff, quick question. Was listening to GAC the other day and it was very interesting in what Drew had to say about Roy. Do you think he heard and if he did is he willing to take his advice?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:47 PM)

I'm sure Roy Williams either heard or read Drew Pearson's take on him or has at least heard about it. Based on the way Williams handled criticism from other Cowboys legends, I don't think he'll take Pearson's advice to heart. Remember him basically calling out Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders last season? Those guys seem to have a little expertise on the passing game, but Williams got defensive when they critiqued him while doing their media jobs.

Frank (Dallas)

Was there a guy at the mini camp that impressed the coaches who was not drafted in the first two rounds?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:47 PM)

Cal OT Mike Tepper is probably the undrafted free agent with the best shot to make the 53-man roster.

Brent (Dallas)

People talk about the Cowboys point production last season, but wouldn't that total jump quite a bit if our field goal kickers could make a kick?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:48 PM)

Good point(s).

Joaquin (Dallas)

Why do the NFL schedule-makers hate the Cowboys? Considering that the Boys are the biggest draw in football, why wouldn't they make their playoff road just a wee bit easier, especially at the end of the year?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:49 PM)

The schedule is based on the team's finish the previous season. First place teams get the toughest schedules. I don't know that the Cowboys' final month is much more difficult than any other part of their schedule.

Frank (Dallas)

Before the start of the season, is Marcus Spears gonna be traded or cut?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:50 PM)

I doubt it. He's a bargain to the Cowboys this season at about $1.2 million. Now, I'm not sure he'll keep his starting job. Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher should challenge him. We actually ran into Bowen at a Japanese restaurant today. The dude looks lean for a 300-pounder.

Gino (Syracuse, NY)

Anthony Spencer finally made some big strides at the end of last season. Starting opposite of Demarcus Ware, can this kid rack up 10 sacks and maybe even make a Pro Bowl?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:52 PM)

Anthony Spencer played like an All-Pro in the last eight games of the season, including the playoffs. There's no reason he shouldn't be a Pro Bowler with a double-digit sack total this season, especially playing on the opposite side of DeMarcus Ware.

Amber (Ft Worth)

I know it's early yet but what record do you think the boys finish with?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:53 PM)

12-4. You can find a link to my game-to-game predictions near the bottom of the home page.

Frank (Dallas)

If you had to rank the Coaches in Dallas from best to worst... How would you Rank them?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:53 PM)

Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips, Chan Gailey, Barry Switzer, Dave Campo.

Mike (Wichita Falls)

If been trying to keep up with Brandon Williams from TTU, I know we didn't get to see much last season. Any thoughts on his securing a roster spot this year.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:55 PM)

He should make the roster. The Cowboys liked what they saw from him until he blew out his knee in last year's preseason finale. A good season from him would be contributing on special teams and earning the coaches' trust enough to get maybe 10 snaps per game in passing situations, allowing them to give Ware and Spencer occasional breathers.

Chris (Houston)

Is there any feeling that Sam Young may have been a bit underrated coming out and could at least push Pat McQuistan off the roster?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:56 PM)

Pat McQuistan has been moved to guard, so he won't be competing with Sam Young for a roster spot. One of the final roster spots could come down to Young or undrafted OT Mike Tepper. McQuistan is probably competing with Travis Bright, a guard who spent last season on the practice squad and might be the strongest player on the team.

DCFanatic (NY)

Will Dez will be returning punts and kicks this season? I hear Sherman mention kickoffs as well as punts each time he talks about Dez.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:57 PM)

Punts are a sure thing. Kickoffs are a strong possibility. That might depend on how big of a role he earns in the offense. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Kevin Ogletree are also kickoff return candidates. Felix Jones' days on special teams are done.

Frank (Dallas)

I have traveled a good amount over the course of this past year, and many of the people I encounter feel Tony Romo is a sub par QB. Am I just to close to the issue to see the bigger picture? Or is he an elite level QB?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:59 PM)

Your travels bring you into contact with football idiots or Jessica Simpson fans. Or both. Romo ranked third in the NFL in passing yardage, threw three times for TDs than INTs and led a division champion last season. If that ain't elite, it's just a notch below.

Tim MacMahon
  (4:00 PM)

It's been a great hour, folks. Time to wrap it up. Thanks for all the questions. Let's do it again next week.