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September 17, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Ed Werder

Andrew (Boston)

Hi Ed, My question for you is when Jerry Jones comes out and says " he has faith in " Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett " do you by that? cause I don't . I think if these two don't get their acts together they are gone , your thoughts ?

Ed Werder
  (11:03 AM)

I think Jerry certainly wants to believe he's made the right decision in hiring Wade Phillips and structuring the coaching staff in the way that he has, and he senses the public might have its doubts so he's moved to explain and reassure. I think it's intriguing that Jones felt compelled to explain at length for the first time how much authority both Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett have in their respective roles. That was his reaction to the faulty decision at the end of the first half in Washington and the ensuring media fallout. It's a unique dynamic that Jones created and it can certainly create tension among the coaches at times. But they've won two division titles and a playoff game. What's going to satisfy Jerry, who's desperate to have the Cowboys play the Super Bowl in their own stadium? I think they have to make it to the NFC Championship Game and even then they risk disappointing their optimistic owner.

Aaron Johnson (Baltimore,MD)

Can Tony Romo find another target to throw to besides Austin and Witten?

Ed Werder
  (11:06 AM)

I neglected to welcome everybody and wish you a good morning and a fantastic weekend before answering the first question. My bad. I think you could argue last week that Austin and Witten were not targeted enough. Romo threw fewer passes to Austin _ the best player on the field _ than he did to Dez Bryant, who was wearing an NFL uniform and for the first time and playing football for the first time in 51 weeks. Witten was forced to be primarily a sixth offensive lineman because of concerns about protection. I think Romo does a very good job of reading defenses and taking the ball where it needs to be thrown.

Andrew (Boston)

Hi, Do you feel the keys to Sunday's game is Dallas controlling it with their running game ?

Ed Werder
  (11:10 AM)

Jason Garrett's reputation around the league is that he's a former quarterback who naturally prefers his offense throw the football and that feeling is magnified because of his belief in Tony Romo. So a lot of opponents attempt to limit the running game early so that Garrett will become one-dimensional with the passing game as he's instinctively wants to do anyway. I'm not saying that's right. But that's the reputation he has among some NFL teams. It was mysterious that in the first offensive series in Washington that Marion Barber had runs of 4 and 10 yards on consecutive plays and then the Cowboys threw on the next 10 snaps. I think Jason will be aware that he got away from the running game and will likely want to use his backs to break in Kyle Kosier and Marc Colombo without exposing them to Julius Peppers' pass-rushing ability. He has averaged nearly a sack per game in his career against Dallas.

Erik (IL)

I believe everyone is overreacting a little bit about last weeks game. I think overall Dallas played a pretty well game for the circumstances. Defense was good, Romo was good, and running game was impressive (need a couple more carries)Penalties and OL are what really hurt us. And know that we have Colombo and Kosier back I think Romo will have time, and Garrett will have a more open playbook. What are your thoughts?

Ed Werder
  (11:13 AM)

Having spent some time at Valley Ranch this week, I know that Tony Romo is excited that he finally has his full complement of offensive players this week for the first time. At the same time, that creates a little more pressure because the Cowboys have fewer excuses for failure. I think maybe were didn't recognize how good the Redskins would be on defense even though the Cowboys struggled to score on them in both games last year. I'm not sure I agree that the offense moved the ball up and down the field. But I agree with Romo that they won't solve their offensive woes if they continue to be heavily penalized.

Miles (Dallas)

I'm wondering what exactly was the problem with the coaching on Sunday Night, besides the obvious fact that the play at the end of the 1st half shouldn't have happened. Does every offensive coordinator go up to the head coach and ask, "can I run this play?" before every down? Is it possible for there to be miscommunication without there being disfunction? Who would you rather have as your coach, Andy Reid or Wade Phillips, and why?

Ed Werder
  (11:17 AM)

Jerry Jones explained that Wade Phillips has the authority to change any offensive play, which to me means that he should be listening on the headset to what's being called as often as possible and especially in critical situations. Somebody has to be in charge of general game strategy, and Jerry has just confirmed that Wade has that responsibility. That makes it all the more unforgivable that he was inattentive at the end of the first half. But it was Jason Garrett who made a terrible mistake. I don't blame Tony Romo for running the play. It would be insubordination if he hadn't. But he should have known better than to pitch it when pressured, just as Tashard Choice should have known to go down. As for your last question, I know that there are questions about how well Andy Reid manages a game, but I do know that he has a strong personality and is the clear leader of his team. I want that in my head coach.

B.J. Bowman (Shreveport, LA)

Ed why you think jason garrett do not focus on getting felix more carries, miles even more involved and everything else secondary. Good offense coordinators make the game simple get the ball in the best players hands and let them do what they do. I just don't understand its not rocket science. Just don't think he's a good playcaller.

Ed Werder
  (11:19 AM)

I don't know whether Jason didn't call enough plays where Miles was the primary receiver or there were plays called for him when Romo decided to go elsewhere with the football because of coverage or pressure, etc. But I think he was the dominant player on the field for Dallas. I suspect that Felix's role was diminished somewhat by the Cowboys' concerns about their offensive line holding up and that Marion Barber got more plays because of he is a significantly better blocker in pass protection and a more reliable receiver in his route running.

Tom (Kingston ont)

Hey Ed when you run into Jerry can you tell him two words for me ........ Jon Gruden ! Get rid of Son of Bum (Phillips) and the Boy Blunder (garrett).

Ed Werder
  (11:20 AM)

If Jerry is talking to me Sunday, I will do my best. I'm not sure Jon Gruden would be great with Romo because of how negative he can be with his players, especially quarterbacks. It would certainly be a change in approach with Romo.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How do you think that the New York Jets will do this season now that Kris Jenkins is Out For the Season with a Torn ACL?

Ed Werder
  (11:22 AM)

Kris Jenkins is a force in the middle of the defense and a huge personality in that locker room, no question. They will miss him. But they made the AFC Championship Game without him last year so I'm not that worried about Rex Ryan's defense. I'd be more concerned about the lack of progress that was evident from Mark Sanchez against a tough Ravens defense.

Dave (New Jersey)

How much stock should be put in a team trying to avenge an 0-1 start and coming out more "desperate", realizing that 0-2 is no option...I'm looking specifically at Dallas and Minnesota. Would you say these two games, given their respective schedules, are must wins for both teams?

Ed Werder
  (11:24 AM)

It's definitely an attention-getter for both the Cowboys and Vikings, Each started on the road in a difficult environment and both are missing key offensive players. The Cowboys are getting theirs back; the Vikings will be missing Sidney Rice until halfway through the season. I know people in the organization are hoping for a trade that will bring them Vincent Jackson. It makes a lot of sense. I'm not sure Brett Favre can win with the receivers he has, all of whom are relatively small.

Ed Werder
  (11:26 AM)

I think it depends on the situation. I understand why Marion Barber played a significantly bigger role than Felix Jones in the opener. Now that the Cowboys have all their starters, I would make sure that Felix Jones was featured in the offense and touched the ball at least twice as often as Barber.

Lex (Calgary, AB)

Why do you dislike the Cowboys so much?

Ed Werder
  (11:30 AM)

I'm not sure why you have that perception. I try to cover every team objectively. I would bet that 90 percent of the stories I do for television and internet on the Cowboys are positive. I did two major TV pieces on them last year _ Where did Miles Austin come from? And how the Cowboys have really become a team. Both were extremely positive. I've covered the Cowboys more often than any other team in the 20 years that I've been in the market. They're not the most media-friendly team in the league, but I like a lot of their players and coaches. My job is a lot easier when the Cowboys win. Without being sanctimonious, I try always to report accurately and to offer informed opinions when the situation calls for it. I don't believe in shock journalism.

Will (Tallahassee)

If the Rams are somehow able to snag VJax, do you think they would or should be looked at as a surprise playoff team or are they still years away from respectability even with VJax?

Ed Werder
  (11:32 AM)

I really liked what I saw from Sam Bradford in his NFL debut. He looked very poised and accurate, even while throwing on the move. Getting him a top-end receiver would make him better for sure. But I don't think the Rams protect the quarterback well enough or defend the run to the point that you could say Vincent Jackson would make them a playoff threat.

Randy (Dallas)

You seemed to have become a "Shock" reporter. I use to be a big fan, but all of your "Source" stories paint you as a guy just looking to break stories that aren't there. Thoughts?

Ed Werder
  (11:37 AM)

The thing you have to understand about sourced stories is that sometimes that's the only way you can obtain the truth, which is what journalism is all about. Players and coaches who want to be honest about internal problems their team may be having have to be careful not to cost themselves a job and so they do so with the understanding they will not be identified. Every reporter would prefer to quote the people who provide information. I know this seems to create the question about the writer's agenda and sometimes even whether the information is valid and the sources even exist. I don't think there are many reporters, columnists or broadcasters who would fabricate a story. I agree the media standards are not what they used to be and nobody is more disappointed about that than am I. But in certain situations, it's simply not possible to avoid using anonymous sources, and usually those involve major breaking stories. It's been that way throughout history. It's unfortunate, but it's reality.

Thomas (Richmond)

Did you write your latest drivel because the Cowboys players and coaches won't speak to you after your muckraking of the last two years or are you just that bad of a journalist?

Ed Werder
  (11:40 AM)

Thanks for your favorable review of my work. Cowboys players and coaches and even Jerry speak to me all the time. I reported the truth as it was told to me on Terrell Owens two years ago and Jerry proved the accuracy of the story when he cut Owens even though he was taking a $9 million cap hit. I wrote what I did this week to provide insight and context to a unique dynamic the Cowboys have on their coaching staff that was revealed or at least highlighted just before halftime. The tone early in the column was sarcastic. I still think the Cowboys are a good team that will win.

Ed Werder
  (11:41 AM)

That's all the time we have for now. I appreciate everyone's attention and participation, even those who are critical of my work and doubt my intentions. Let's gather again next week.