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September 24, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Ed Werder

Ed Werder
  (11:05 AM)

Good morning everyone. I've been at Valley Ranch all week and will be covering the Cowboys and Texans so let's get started.

Seth (Pleasanton, Texas)

In your opinion, what is the main cause of the super slow starts to games by the Cowboys offense?

Ed Werder
  (11:08 AM)

The Cowboys have no offensive identity at this point or at least not the one they want. Jason Garrett wants a balanced offense but problems in the running game have resulted in Tony Romo throwing the football nearly 70 percent of the time. The Cowboys believe they have one or two players _ different ones each time _ making assignment mistakes or not winning their matchup on certain plays. I think they will eliminate those and focus on the plays where there is the highest probability everyone will be successful. But forget balance this week. Houston is allowing 400 yards passing and that's where the Cowboys have their best players.

Navid (Plano)

Everyone has been talking about how bad the coaching for the Dallas Cowboys has been.. Does anyone realize they gave up the future of coaching with Shawn Paton and Tony Sparaino? Now they are stuck with a lame duck and the guy in waiting couldn't hold Sparaino's jock strap. There is no leadership and until Jerry dies the cowboys are doomed!

Ed Werder
  (11:11 AM)

Here's an interesting fact: The coach that Jerry Jones hired from outside the organization _ Wade Phillips is 0-2. Three former Cowboys assistants under Bill Parcells _ Sean Payton, Todd Haley and Tony Sparano _ who were on the offensive coaching staff under Bill Parcells are each 2-0. And only Payton is working with better talent. But we're eight quarters into the season so it's too early to write off a team as talented as the Cowboys. I've often questioned their leadership but I liked that Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins spoke out after the loss to the Bears and that players voiced their concerns in a team meeting absent the coaching staff. They're unified and taking ownership and that's important.

Ricky (Hampton, VA)

Ed, with so many Ol problems, why aren't the Cowboys trying to make a deal for Mankins or McNeill? Hell with the WR problems that SD has, they might even take Roy in the deal.

Ed Werder
  (11:13 AM)

The Cowboys have drafted poorly on the offensive line, although they seem to have developed a quality left tackle in Doug Free. But the Cowboys have spent a lot of money on Leonard Davis and were trying to lower salaries there, which was a consideration in releasing Flozell Adams. When you're paying huge guaranteed money to a quarterback, two wide receivers, a running back, a cornerback, a pass rusher and have No. 1 picks at WR and RB, you have to hold the line elsewhere. So making a big-money deal for a holdout player is clearly not part of the game plan.

Chip (Hartford)

Good Morning Ed,What are the Cowboys missing?

Ed Werder
  (11:18 AM)

I think the question with this team under Wade Phillips has always been the same _ where is the leadership going to come from because the head coach doesn't have a strong personality. It would be natural if their best offensive and defensive players _ Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware _ were out-loud leaders who demanded accountability as we saw from Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin and Darren Woodson in the '90s but that's not their personality. This continues to be a struggle for the Cowboys even though the chemistry in the locker room has been improved drastically. Bradie James has tried to be a leader and so has Keith Brooking and they're working through that. All I know is that when the Cowboys fall to 0-2 and the perception is the team is in crisis, we should not have to wait until Thursday to hear from Romo and Ware and still be waiting for Bradie and Marion Barber. Aikman and Irvin had mid-week days when they were available to speak. But after unexpected losses, they often made sure they were available and accountable the next day too.

Jason (Cedar Rapids, Ia)

where do you see the cowboys going from here, i'm kinda at a lose they have one of the n f l's best running back trio's, yet they hardly run the ball they are strictly a pass happy offense, & look at it they lead the league in penalties

Ed Werder
  (11:20 AM)

Very few teams in the NFL are capable of consistently winning with a one-dimensional offense. The Saints have achieved it with Drew Brees and the Colts with Peyton Manning and maybe the Patriots with Tom Brady. Can the Cowboys do that with Tony Romo? That's what they've been forced to do because of problems due to inexperience at fullback and age in the offensive line than a failure of the halfbacks. The Cowboys had three good runs against the Bears. That's it. If my run game produces 6 yards on 12 carries, I'm letting Romo chuck it too.

Brian (College Station)

Do you think it is still a possibility that Barber get traded? I know the Patriots are shallow at the RB postion and they have a OL that wants a trade. Anything happening there??

Ed Werder
  (11:22 AM)

I've not heard any trade rumors regarding Marion Barber since the final cuts. I think his recent lack of productivity and his huge guaranteed money make him untradable at the moment. You wonder if the Patriots regret trading Laurence Mauroney now that Kevin Faulk is out for the year. But the Patriots are the best in the league at finding a way to overcome and win.

Brian (lufkin)

what is the status of Dez

Ed Werder
  (11:25 AM)

Dez says his hip will be fine and shouldn't limit his snaps against the Texas, which is good because I see the Cowboys going three-wide on a Texans defense that has been their most glaring weakness. Maybe their only weakness. Dez has produced big plays as a receiver and punt returner but he's also a young player whose knowledge of the offense and precision as a route runner remain works in progress. He ran a bad route that drew his defender into an area where Romo was throwing to Miles Austin last week and resulted in an interception. He's got to make sure he does his job properly on every play

Billy (Tennessee)

If there's any pride left in Dallas they should have no problem with the Texans.Plenty of talent but pride? Guess we'll see.

Ed Werder
  (11:26 AM)

The Cowboys understand the adversity and hostility of the situation they will confront on Sunday. They have a lot to prove and are highly motivated. That doesn't mean they will win, but I think they will certainly play hard.

Bryan (Wayne, PA)

Hi Ed. Wade Phillips talked about "changes" after last week's debacle, but it doesn't seem like anything has changed. Will we be surprised by any big changes, or Wade just saying the words?

Ed Werder
  (11:29 AM)

If you're expecting Wade Phillips to replace Leonard Davis with Montre Holland to to have somebody other than David Beuhler kicking field goals, I believe you will be disappointed. I think Wade is very slow to replace players even when their backup might be performing better. That was the case last year with Roy Williams, Marion Barber and even Marc Colombo. Phillips believes he's being loyal but insists his loyalty has its limits. Once it compromises the team's ability to win, he says he will make a change. I don't think we've seen that action very often, if ever.

john (orlando)

time for the cowboys to cut this 3 back offense nonsense; felix jones is the man and they need to play him 85% of the time; this gutless continuation of this myth that they have 3 guys with equal talent has to end; for years now the cowboys have put up big yardage numbers and low point numbers; they have to make changes; garet needs to go too

Ed Werder
  (11:31 AM)

I understand the criticism of Jason Garrett and it might be warranted. But I will say this in his defense _ not many teams are going to start drives on their 25-yard line and, with no running game, consistently score touchdowns. Especially when the Cowboys seem to have a penalty or turnover on every possession. You have to be flawless to succeed in those circumstances against NFL defenses like those the Redskins and Bears have.

Gregg ((Minden, La.))

What do you think the chances are that if the Cowboys lose to the Texans, that Jerry will fire Wade? I know Jerry hasn't ever made a move like that during the season, but with the bye week coming up, and the fact another loss certainly dampens the chances of a home Super Bowl appearance this year, I wonder if he might do something drastic.

Ed Werder
  (11:34 AM)

Jerry has fired almost every coach the Cowboys have ever had, but he's never made a change in the middle of the season. Wade Phillips' job security was the source of speculation at this same point last season and the Cowboys rallied to win at Kansas City. Jerry would need to have an in-house candidate and I'm sure he must have his doubts about Jason Garrett being a head coach at the moment. I don't expect Jerry to fire Wade. I think the benefit for doing so if they were 0-3 would be to send a message to the players that he won't tolerate losing and to the public that he hears their complaints, and I guess you could argue he'd get 13 games to see if Garrett could be a head coach as he once believed. But firing Phillips three games into a two-year contract extension seems unlikely to me.

Justin (Salado)

In your opinion do you think the Cowboys will rebound and make the playoffs?

Ed Werder
  (11:36 AM)

I think the Cowboys will make the playoffs and they're hardly out of contention in the NFC East, where nobody leads this winless team by more than a game. If they win in Houston, they can feel good about themselves and build some momentum coming out of a bye week this team desperately needs after split training camps and five preseason games. If they lose to the Texas as most expect, I think it comes incredibly difficult. This is a pivotal game.

shanard ((slc,ut) at work)

ED, how comes wade phillips doesn't blitz as much as the ravens and jets he could take a page out of one of their books.

Ed Werder
  (11:39 AM)

As DeMarcus Ware says, the Cowboys are all about the pass rush. Wade Phillips emphasizes that aspect of defense, but he doesn't believe in exposing his secondary needlessly. I think he lost his nerve or trust in his players after Jay Cutler beat the blitz with the touchdown pass to Greg Olsen. The Cowboys were winning big against Cutler to that point. That single failure seemed to change the entire game. Wade won't admit that he backed off, but the statistics indicate he did exactly that.

Ed Werder
  (11:40 AM)

That's all the time for this week. Thanks to everybody for their questions and stayed tuned. This is a big week for the Cowboys