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September 8, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (2:58 PM)

Thanks for joining me this rainy afternoon. We'll get right to the questions as the Cowboys continue preparing for the Redskins.

Mike (VA)

How do you feel the O-line will play against the Skins with all the injuries? To me, it will be the key to the game - protection and running lanes.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:01 PM)

I agree that it's the primary concern. The silver lining is that I don't think the Cowboys will need to score more than 17 points to win Sunday night. Alex Barron vs. Brian Orakpo is a mismatch in Washington's favor, but I think Kyle Kosier could be missed more than Marc Colombo, assuming both starters don't play. Kosier is a vastly underrated player. With Montrae Holland in there, the Cowboys have to scrap the portion of their playbook that takes advantage of Kosier's mobility. Kosier's mind also makes him valuable. He handles most of the line calls. Without him, it's on Andre Gurode. Look for the Redskins to try to confuse Gurode with a variety of looks and blitz packages.

Ian Chisolm (Atlanta, GA)

I think that Roy Williams can still be a very viable piece to this puzzle. I think he will have a much better year and I don't think we should outright release him in the offseason like most fans think. Obviously, the money is an issue. Is there a possibility that both sides would agree to restructure his contract?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:03 PM)

I can't speculate on whether Williams would be willing to take less money to stay. It's not an issue I've ever discussed with him. I know he's a proud man, but he's also realistic. He knows he needs to produce to keep his job.

Ian (Los Angeles, CA)

Why is the team looking at trading Tashard Choice? Most (if not all) of the fans think Choice should be the guy along with Felix. Barber gets injured too much, as does Felix Jones. Thinking they can get through a season with only two backs (and those two backs) is absolutely absurd.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:05 PM)

The Cowboys aren't shopping Tashard Choice. They took some calls about him. Big difference. It would have taken a no-brainer offer, such as a high second-round pick, to get the Cowboys to trade him. As I wrote today on, I expect Choice and Jones to split the load next season with Barber playing for another team.

Michael (Baltimore)

So... Will Colombo play ?....We need him...but we can't have him play like a hurt Colombo...Ala the Viking game...

Tim MacMahon
  (3:05 PM)

It doesn't appear promising at this point. He didn't practice today.

Cecilio (Hartford,CT)

Do you see the Cowboys trading Barber next season or does it depends on his performance this season or should they trade him no matter what? I feel T.C. should get more touches then Barber

Tim MacMahon
  (3:07 PM)

Barber is due to make $4.25 million next season, and his salary increases the following three seasons. Good luck finding a team that wants to trade for that contract.

ra1049 (Dallas, Tx)

Do you think Roy Williams can still be an elite WR for the Cowboys/NFL?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:08 PM)

He never was and never will be. He had one 1,000-yard season in Detroit. That matched the total for Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald in Mike Martz's system. Anybody consider them elite receivers?

barron (dallas,tx)


Tim MacMahon
  (3:08 PM)

Well, your CAPITAL LETTERS might force me to change my opinion. Never mind the facts.

Aaron (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Who is our best RB in terms of blocking, and do you expect the coaches to utilize more RB blocking (in additioin to TE blocks) until our O-line gets sorted out or should Holland and Barron be relied upon to protect Romo?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:10 PM)

Marion Barber is the best, but Tashard Choice is pretty good, too. They'll have to give the line help, especially against Barron.

TF Hunter (Weatherford, TX)

Why would the Boys trade off Crayton instead of Williams? Crayton has shown just as much as Williams if not more and is not a "liability" to the payroll like Williams. Williams=BUST!

Tim MacMahon
  (3:12 PM)

It's all about the contracts. You really think anybody would trade for Williams' contract? And Jerry's pride probably plays a role, too. He's not ready to admit that the Roy deal was a massive mistake, no matter the mounting evidence.

Shane (Coral Springs, FL)

Before the deal that sent Alex Barron to the Cowboys came to happen, was there any talks on bringing a disgruntled Marcus Mcneil in from San Diego in a trade? I only ask becuase he is a young stud offensive linemen.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:14 PM)

Not to my knowledge. The Cowboys would have had to give up at least a first-rounder -- bye, Dez Bryant -- and then pay McNeill like an elite left tackle.

matt (andrews, tx)

Are we going to see more 2 tight end packages to help protect Romo until the o-line gets it together?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:15 PM)

The two-tight end package was a big part of the offense last season. That will continue. The question is whether they'll get Martellus Bennett involved in the passing game.

Todd(PA) [via mobile]

Hey Tim how does Dez look 100%? And how much do you think he ll b gameplanned into the offense mayb 15-20 plays?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:17 PM)

Dez Bryant appears to be completely recovered from his high ankle sprain. His conditioning is a slight concern, but the coaches say he has a firm grasp of his assignments. I'd be surprised if he doesn't get more than 20 snaps. He'll probably also return punts and maybe kickoffs.

Daniel (NRH)

I have a long-standing debate with an old coworker of mine about Tony Romo versus Carson Palmer. With all things being equal, which quarterback would you take to lead your team and why?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:19 PM)

I'd take Tony Romo. Plain and simple, he's a more productive quarterback. Not sure Palmer will ever be the same after his arm injury. As far as leadership goes, I'm not that familar with Palmer, but Romo has taken major strides in that department the last two years.

Shawn (Ashe County, NC)

Tim, How much of an impact will Dez Bryant have this season?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:20 PM)

If he stays healthy, he should be in the Rookie of the Year conversation. I see him putting up Percy Harvin-like numbers. He'll be an explosive third receiver and punt returner. He should also be a major weapon in the red zone if he earns Tony Romo's trust. Bryant's ability to fight for the ball, especially in jump-ball situations, might be his best attribute.

Austin (Waco, TX)

After Garrett's contract was raised in '08 he was seen as the 'Coach-in-Waiting" Do you think he still is or has he moved to the hot seat?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:22 PM)

Hot seat is too strong. Jerry Jones is still very high on Garrett, who gets a lot of credit for Tony Romo's development. Not sure about coach in waiting, though. If the Cowboys win a lot, I don't see Jerry pushing Wade Phillips out the door. If they don't win, Garrett's stock also drops. Keep an eye on Tom Coughlin's job status. Garrett might end up replacing him as the Giants head coach.

trent (denton)

3 corners and 6 safeties? Even 4/5 doesn't seem right. Did Jerry mess up here?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:25 PM)

I see why they kept the six safeties. No problem with that, because Danny McCray can be an instant impact special teams player and the other rookies have a lot of potential. Three corners? That's light. I was surprised they cut Cletis Gordon after the camp that he had, but Bryan McCann is the one they might end up regretting letting go. In my opinion, they could have kept an extra corner and dropped Sean Lissemore.

Dustin Glover (Tyler, TX)

How you do you feel Sean Lee will fill the Nickel role this season?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:26 PM)

Maybe later in the season, but it doesn't look like he'll fill that role right away, as was anticipated. My guess is that they'll go with Keith Brooking in the nickel and have Lee spell the starters in the base defense for about 20-25 snaps per game, split between the two spots. That gives the veterans some rest while getting Lee experience.

Matt (Illinois)

Besides the oline vs. Brian Orakpo, what do you feel is the most important matchup for the Cowboys?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:27 PM)

The Cowboys' safeties vs. the Redskins tight ends. If the Washington passing game clicks, it'll be because Donovan McNabb is getting the ball to Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. The Cowboys' corners have a significant advantage in their matchup with the Redskins' receivers.

chettibling (East Brunswick, NJ)

There's no rush to bring Colombo back in my opinion. Because of the Cowboys letting Colombo come back too early last year, is there a good chance they hold him out until after the BYE week?Houston won't have Cushing and we can get by the Bears without Colombo as well.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:29 PM)

I haven't heard anything that drastic, but I understand your point about wanting to make sure that Marc Colombo is completely healthy. It doesn't do any good to have him dragging a leg out there, especially if he has to block Brian Orakpo, Julius Peppers and Mario Williams.

K2 (wet)

How much longer do you think we will keep Newman?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:31 PM)

Who are they going to replace him with? There are only two other cornerbacks on the roster. Newman is expensive, but I don't think there's a rush to get him off the roster if he keeps performing well. A lot depends on the CBA negotiations. Orlando Scandrick has two years remaining on his rookie contract. If he's unrestricted after that, the Cowboys might have to decide between him and Newman at that point.

asher (reno)

With the injuries to the o-line and the backups on the right side not bringing any confidence to anyone, why dont the boys go after J.Hartwick who has played guard earlyier in his career and Mawae to backup Gurode, he had no problems saying that role is fine for him?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:32 PM)

Two reasons: The price tag and the promising player who would be pushed off the roster. They really like undrafted rookie Phil Costa. They think he can develop into a starter.

Steve (DC)

There is a lot going on here getting ready for this game on Sunday. It seems as if the rivalry is still going on here more than in Dallas. What are your keys to the game and how will the Boys win?

Tim MacMahon
  (3:33 PM)

If the Cowboys don't lose the turnover battle, they'll win the game. I don't think the Redskins can score many points unless they get a short field. Don't be surprised to see the Cowboys play it safe offensively, especially with two O-line starters possibly out. My prediction: Cowboys 20, Redskins 13.

Tim MacMahon
  (3:34 PM)

That'll wrap it up. Appreciate all the questions. If I didn't get to yours, hit me up on Twitter @espn_macmahon or join us in the pregame chat that begins 30 minutes before kickoff.