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October 1, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Ed Werder

Ed Werder
  (11:01 AM)

Good morning, everyone _ Matt Mosley included _ on a beautiful Texas morning. Let's chat it up on football. I will be covering the Saints-Panthers this weekend. Bring it

Chris (Florida)

Why does Jerry Jones put up with his head coach when he is so bad.

Ed Werder
  (11:05 AM)

Jerry genuinely likes Wade Phillips on a personal level. Jerry justifiably is overjoyed at the improvement the Cowboys have made defensively under Phillips, who has always been regarded among the very best defensive coaches in football. And Wade does not seem territorial as was Bill Parcells and has been willing _ or perhaps forced _ to accept that the Cowboys' owner and GM wants to be involved in his team, including making personnel decisions on a weekly basis. Jerry said when Parcells left that he didn't like walking around on eggshells in his own facility and felt he was trespassing in his own locker room.

Petey (Dallas, tx)

After the big win against the Texans. Are the Boys going to be more of a smash mouth team that sets up those big play receivers?

Ed Werder
  (11:08 AM)

I think the Cowboys have performed best offensively in recent years when they've been able to establish their running game first to set up Tony Romo's play-action passing game. But the Cowboys have to prove they can be a physical team up front that imposes its will to succeed with that mentality. I'm not sure they've achieved that yet. They certainly had a balanced offense in Houston, but the Texans have lost quite a few players on that side of the ball and I'm not sure how good they are right now. My impression covering the game was that the Cowboys made their most critical plays with Romo throwing the football against some very young Texans cornerbacks who were overmatched. I did like Romo running the two-minute offense on the first series, calling his plays at the line of scrimmage and creating an uptempo game. That was a great decision by whomever made it _ Jason Garrett, Wade or Jerry. Who knows, right?

Neil (Deployed Location)

Seriously, what is the big deal that Dez Bryant spent $55K during the Cowboys team dinner? I am in the military, currently deployed, and I don't have a problem with how much money Dez Bryant or any one else spend. What right do I have to tell someone how they can or can't spend their money?

Ed Werder
  (11:11 AM)

Dez Bryant has been unjustly criticized in my opinion for his role in this wretched excess. First of all, it's not like he planned to spent that much money. It was forced on him. He really had no choice, especially after refusing to carry Roy Williams' shoulder pads at training camp. I understand that it would be have nice _ not to mention a stroke of pr genius _ if Bryant had convinced his teammates to pay their own bill while promising to donate $55,000 to a local food bank or other charity. But, these guys are football players having a good time at the expense of a young rookie. No way anybody thinks of donating the money to charity when they're standing in a hotel restaurant staring at a huge bill while being mocked by teammates. I have no problem with it either.

Jason (Austin, Tx)

What is the odds of Felix Jones being the starter by week 6? Especially if our running keeps running into a snag like it has the first 3 games.

Ed Werder
  (11:15 AM)

Very good question. I think everybody is puzzled by the team's use of Felix Jones, but the reality is that his performance hasn't necessarily justified more touches. Jerry Jones suggested in the offseason that the former No. 1 pick would be the featured runner and perhaps the starter. But Jerry also has a lot of money invested in Barber, and I think the reason he's on the field more than the other backs is because of his versatility. He can exploit big holes for seven or eight yards, get tough yards and he blocks and catches well so the Cowboys can call any play in the game plan with him in there. I think Barber will tend to wear down again late in the year and then Jones' playing time will expand much as it did last season leading into the playoffs. That provides the Cowboys with a young, fast running back with fresh legs when everybody else is tiring.

Marie (Washington, DC)

Ed - Do the Cowboys fix their O-Line next year via the draft or free agency ? Neither approach seems to have worked of late.

Ed Werder
  (11:20 AM)

Let's hope there's a football season next year. I know the Cowboys do not believe in using first-round picks on offensive lineman because they are convinced that history shows players at those positions are just as likely to fail as players taken in later rounds are to succeed. The Cowboys never drafted well on the offensive line under Bill Parcells. But give Tom Ciskowski and the scouting department credit for finding a quality left tackle in Doug Free, whom OL coach Hudson Houck has developed. A fourth-round pick, Free has faced Brian Orakpo, Julius Peppers and Mario Williams in his first three starts at LT and negated them when they've played opposite him. No question the Cowboys have to do something with their interior offensive line very soon because of age and declining performance.

Brett Townsend (Los Angeles)

Do the Cowboys make the playoffs now after saving their season last week? Do they capture the NFC East?

Ed Werder
  (11:21 AM)

They saved their season temporarily because only five teams in history have overcome an 0-3 start to make the playoffs. But it's too soon to say they've accomplished anything beyond that. So far it appears the Eagles are much better than anybody expected and the Giants far worse. Of the 1-2 teams in the NFC East, I believe the Cowboys are the only one that has shown the ability to do something in the playoffs.

Marcus (Dallas, TX)

If the Cowboys lose to the Titans after the bye week, going 1-3, does panic button get pressed again?

Ed Werder
  (11:23 AM)

Yep. If that happens, I fully expect to be live at Valley Ranch at 8 the next morning doing the same liveshots we were doing when they were 0-2. The Cowboys can't lose another early home game _ not when they still have to play all their division rivals at Cowboys Stadium and the Saints on Thanksgiving Day.

Ryan Barrett (Dallas)

When will the Cowboys incorporate the deep pass into the offense? Seems we never throw the long ball, it is usually 15 yards or less with hopes of making a run after the catch

Ed Werder
  (11:26 AM)

Nice observation. I think we began to see that development of the long ball last week against the Texans with Tony Romo throwing down the field to Dez Bryant. That's something the Cowboys have not done successfully since releasing Terrell Owens. Bryant has the pure speed and athleticism to flat beat the corner off the line of scrimmage and make the catch down the field. Miles Austin can make big plays but usually does so by breaking tackles after the catch. He and Roy Williams lack the acceleration to run by defensive backs. Bryant has it, and we saw him twice beat Kareem Jackson with double moves _ twice catching the ball for touchdowns except that he was out of bounds on both plays. This rookie is going to be special.

Anthony Kahn (Plano)

What are the chances of Jimmy Johnson being the next head coach of the Cowboys? I know everyone says he is not coming back but he seems to still love the Cowboys and has a great relationship with Jerry Jones again - better yet, maybe he could become a co-GM or president in a Bill Parcells type role.

Ed Werder
  (11:27 AM)

I know you can never say never with Jerry and Jimmy, but I'm going to say it here. Jimmy doesn't want to coach. He loves the life he has living in the Florida Keys and working weekends for Fox. Put it in three-inch headlines: Jimmy Johnson will never coach the Cowboys again!

Rudy (Richmond)

Wade mentioned Sean Lee was not suited for nickel linebacker spot. By that, does he mean at this point or permanantly, and does he mean the mental side of it, or is there some physical reason? So two part question. Thanks.

Ed Werder
  (11:29 AM)

The Cowboys certainly have not given up on Sean Lee at this point in his career. His transition has been much slower than expected, and injuries have played a role in that. He's going to have to play. They're already concerned about Keith Brooking playing too many snaps at age 35. The Cowboys drafted Lee to provide some relief, and he needs to do his part.

Andrew (Knoxville)

Ed, you are truly a journalism legend. One burning question... how do you keep that mustache looking so great?

Ed Werder
  (11:31 AM)

I'm only going to share this secret because you referred to me as a legend in journalism, and I know you're mocking me with that. All you have to do to have a great-looking mustache _ beyond being man enough to grow one and bold enough to wear it in public _ is do what I did _ marry your hair stylist so you can keep it perfectly trimmed. Jimmy Johnson did the same thing. That's why he has such great-looking hair. Thanks for the laugh

Craig (Salisbury)

I understand the defense has played well since Wade took over from Stewart. Why hasn't Wade brought in another Coordinator if only in name sake so that it looks like he is actually the Head Coach in stead of the Defense Coach?

Ed Werder
  (11:34 AM)

One of the primary reasons Wade Phillips has at least twice avoided being fired is that Jerry Jones absolutely loves what Wade Phillips has done as the defensive coordinator. Wade's job security depends on his performance as the defensive coordinator, and I'm sure he realizes that. So no way he gives anybody that authority and Jerry is already paying offensive coordinator Jason Garrett a head coach's salary so he doesn't want to pay a similar amount to hire a coordinator he doesn't need as long as he has Wade as the head coach.

Ricky (Yuba City)

I have read your impressive body of work as a reporter. I am interested in getting into the reporting field. Any advice? Do I need to stick to keywords and phrases?

Ed Werder
  (11:40 AM)

Ricky, thanks for the question. I will make it the last one of the day. I've spent about an equal amount of time as a print and TV reporter, and I'm grateful that I started in newspaper work and developed strong news judgment, story-telling ability and created a list of contacts who have helped provide information throughout my career. I was fortunate that I came to the DFW area to cover the Cowboys. I doubt I would have had the opportunities I was provided without that experience. My advice would be to read good writing as often as possible (may I suggest Matt Mosley?), get involved in some form of media as soon as possible, invest yourself fully in every piece you write because you never know whether the person who might have a job opening might see your work. I think it helps to gain as much experience as you can but always be looking for the next opportunity. Find somebody you admire and ask them to honestly critique your work periodically. Accept constructive criticism and learn from it. It helps to be competitive and having great conviction about your ability is a must-have. Thanks to everybody for their great questions. Let's chat next week, shall we?