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November 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Todd Archer

Todd Archer
  (1:00 PM)

OK, let's go.

Blake (Surprise AZ)

Hello Todd....in the past two games the run defense has been exposed....which is the biggest concern, run defense or redzone?

Todd Archer
  (1:02 PM)

I would go with the red zone because you need to score touchdowns to win consistently. The Cowboys have shown they can pile up yards with Jason Garrett calling plays but they have a hard time scoring points. The run defense has a better chance of being fixed, especially if the defensive ends play better. I just wonder if there is a flaw in how the Cowboys approach the red zone.

JOhn Gold (Salt Lake City)

With Dez's size and strength why does he struggle with press coverage?

Todd Archer
  (1:04 PM)

A lot of bigger wide receivers do. Terrell Owens had a hard time with it, too. It takes them awhile to get going and if a CB can get his hands on them first, then it takes them even longer to get going. A lot of it is technique. Michael Irvin did not struggle much with it because he was so good with his hands. As I've said before, I think Dez has to become better at learning his craft every day than just waiting for things to happen in a game.

Shawn (Ashe County, NC)

Archer, Would Haynesworth be a reasonably good acquisition for the Boys? Just asking?

Todd Archer
  (1:05 PM)

I can't see the Cowboys going anywhere near Haynesworth. Remember what Garrett preaches about passion, enthusiasm and emotion. Haynesworth has been cut from two places now because he showns none of that. Not worth the trouble.

Joe M (Auburn,Ca)

How much longer do we have to endure the issues of our Red-Zone inadequacies before something is done? It is obvious that JG has a major issue with play-calling in this area and would admit so and bring someone in to take over the play calling. A good leader realizes his weaknesses and acts accordingly. Correct?

Todd Archer
  (1:07 PM)

I'm with you. He says you just keep banging away at it. Well, maybe you switch the tool you're doing the banging with. He talks about balance but the Cowboys sure seem to throw it a lot down there. I would put some of it on the lack of strength on the line this year, especially up the middle, but I don't know how that covers up the flaws in previous years.

nate keyman (SF)

it's chris jones going be the punter this sunday game.

Todd Archer
  (1:08 PM)

Hard to know right now. McBriar punted today in prctice. He had the brace on his left foot again. I can't say for sure.

HS (Atlanta Area)

Arch, can the Cowboys fix their run defense because it's been horrible the last two weeks? Reminds me of Parcell's first year when they wore down as the year went on.

Todd Archer
  (1:11 PM)

They better with Fred Jackson coming home this weekend. He leads the NFL in rushing. Philadelphia exposed the run concept, Seattle continued to run some of the same plays with success. I would think the Bills try to do some stretch plays too. If Sean Lee can return, then that will help as well.

Nick (New York City)

If the cowboys show up big this week against Buffalo and win of course; do you think the cowboys can still go 10-6? ...My gut still tells me Tony Romo is capable of having some big performances even with Austin out; with all the critisicm he recieves and rightfully so) he still can deliever some amazing passes to win games.

Todd Archer
  (1:14 PM)

I think you're right, Nick. This is a swing game in my mind. If they win, then the Cowboys are staring at 8-4 going into December and a five-game winning streak. I know they don't think that way, but we can. Washington is falling apart. Miami and Arizona are nothing special. As for the second part, Garrett's passing system is not too reliant on one guy (maybe except Witten). Romo obviously has a faith in Robinson and Bryant can make big plays. I think they'll be able to throw it well enough in Austin's absence.

Ben (ATL)

"Sean Lee has a club like cast on his wrist/hand" So I guess the fitting scenario would be Lee intercepting R. Fitzpatrick during a 2 min drill in the 4th to seal victory.

Todd Archer
  (1:15 PM)

Yeah. That would be good. Did Patrick Willis pick of any passes when he had that club on his hand last year?

Joe M (Auburn,Ca)

We finally have a good kicker in Bailey. Why are the cowboys still holding on to buehler? He is wasting a roster spot we could be using elsewhere.

Todd Archer
  (1:17 PM)

I understand why they would want Buehler's kickoff ability, but there has to come a point where it's not worth it. The Cowboys could cut Buehler and bring him back if needed the following week. Buffalo is the only other team with two kickers and that's because of injury. I can't see another team picking up Buehler to be a field goal guy after his inconsistency last year. It's a risk worth taking if they need the roster spot somewhere else.

David (Florida)

Does L. Robinson continue to get the same number of looks or do we see Witten and Dez get an increase in targets? Thanks

Todd Archer
  (1:18 PM)

I think you'll see Bryant and Witten get more looks. Robinson will get more just becaus he'll be playing an inreased role.

Cowboy Daryle (BAY AREA)

I take offense to the fact that the Dallas Media is not coming down harder on Jason's Garretts playcalling, this is the one dynamic that baffles me, to much attention to the lack of O LINE PLAY but yet MURRAY runs up and down the field but comes out inside the 10, Do you find this as a weakness of GARRETT, PLAYCALLING?

Todd Archer
  (1:19 PM)

What would you want us to do? We ask him about the struggles. We write about them. We ask him about them again. We write them again. This isn't a new problem. It's been this way for a few years.

Mike (Work)

In the limited amount you have seen of Bruce Carter, what are you initial impressions? Do the first glimpses make the 2nd round pick seem warranted?

Todd Archer
  (1:20 PM)

I realize this isn't the type of answer we're supposed to give, but I have no idea. He looks the part. He seemed to do OK against Seattle but missed one run fit. I wouldn't want to be judged on such a small sampling. Give me some more time, but I'd say he's done OK.

Mike (Work)

Has Dez been working much to improve his technique, route running, etc, or is he closerto "last to arrive, first to leave?"

Todd Archer
  (1:21 PM)

I would say he's more the latter than the former. He does what he's supposed to do but I'm not sure he's doing extra, from what I've been told.

HS (Atlanta area)

Arch,Does the Cowboy brass actually view Buehler as a two for one deal? Not only can he kick off but he can actually make a tackle and is pretty athletic...or am I completely off here?

Todd Archer
  (1:23 PM)

I think you're off a little. He's a great athlete ... for a kicker. I don't mean that as a great dig at him but he's not a guy who can fill in at other spots. He can run down on punts if needed but he's not done that since his rookie year.

Ben (ATL)

Patrick Willis had 0 INTs last year, but his name isnt Sean Lee and he didnt have the Star Powa!!!! (or Kool Aid)

Todd Archer
  (1:24 PM)

Tap the brakes there, Ben. He's not Patrick Willis.

BG (Tampa)

I think BUF leads the league in turnovers produced. Is it their scheme, great corners, always trying to strip the ball, etc?

Todd Archer
  (1:25 PM)

I'd say it's something that just builds during the year. They got Tom Brady, what, four times? As Jason Garrett says, protecting the football is line one. That'll be key this week.

Juan H. (Arlington, TX)

having to visit the NFC east foes like the Giants and the re-match with Philly do you think the Cowboys can work out the kinks on offense and defense to win those critical games?

Todd Archer
  (1:27 PM)

I do. They've gone to New York and won before. They've beaten Philly before. The Giants have a tough schedule, that's why their win at NE was bad for the Cowboys. That'll give New York confidence. I think they match up pretty well with NY overall but that pass rush would cause me concern.

JS Cowboy (NY)

Romo had loads of time to throw against the Seahawks, did you get any feedback from the coaches or team on what they may have done different? Romo with time just looks like a different player, the Romo of old. Thanks

Todd Archer
  (1:28 PM)

It's not just Romo who looks good with time to throw. It's every quarterback in the league. Seattle does not have a great defense but the coaches were worried about its front four and they did a good job up front. It's just blocking better.

Craig (Salisbury)

Playcalling aside, I just think Garrett needs a veteran offensive coach on staff to help Garrett make in-game adjustments. You?

Todd Archer
  (1:30 PM)

Veteran like Hudson Houck? He's been around forever. I'm not in the crowd that believes he needs a coordinator. Even if he did it would be in name only. I think he needs to look at how he works the red zone and how he can stray away from the run in tighter games.

Mike (Work)

When Tony Romo has played poorly the national media response is always Romo is a choker, a mediocre QB, etc but Philip has been worse this year for an underachieving team than Romo ever has and the response has been "oh, he must be hiding an injury." Romo still has pain-killing injections each week for his rib and gets no slack while Rivers is healthy and excuses are made for him. What gives?

Todd Archer
  (1:31 PM)

That's the life of playing for the Cowboys. You get overhyped when you do well and you get over-ripped when you don't. But I'm with you on some of that. I'd put Matt Ryan in the same category. He doesn't get killed the way Romo does either.

John (New Jersey)

TA - I think JG's reliance on the shotgun formation contributes to some of the redzone woes. D is fairly certain there will be a pass from this formation. Under center makes the D think even for a second, which could be the difference between 6 and 3. Thoughts?

Todd Archer
  (1:33 PM)

I think he goes shotgun so much to hide some of his line concerns. You can run out of shotgun but the space is so confined in the tight red zone that any misdirection can be made up in a step.

Craig (Salisbury)

New you would say Houck. I am in the club that believes Houck should have been let go last year. I mean in terms of someone who has called plays before.

Todd Archer
  (1:34 PM)

Now, if you're saying bring Tony Sparano back if/when he's fired, I'm with you. I think Sparano would be a good fit and he worked well with Garrett before.

L. Robinson (Irving, Texas)

DO you think I should pick myself up in my fantasy leagues and will I be more productive than Dez with Miles out?

Todd Archer
  (1:36 PM)

Aren't you supposed to be at practice? I'm not the best fantasy league question guy but I'd pick you up. Romo has trust in you. You've made plays. Seems to me like it would be a good move.

Blake (Belmont)

Where do you rank Witten among all-time top TE's?

Todd Archer
  (1:39 PM)

It's hard not to put him up near the top, isn't it? To me, Ozzie Newsome is No. 1 because he did everything you want from a tight end. Tony Gonzalez has the most catches and has been tremendous. Amazingly, however, he's not won a playoff game. Shannon Sharpe is up there. I'd say Witten is in the top five and has a chance to move up as he keeps playing.

Blake ( AZ)

I know Romo has rib concerns.....what are your thoughts on him sliding instead of try to score Sunday?

Todd Archer
  (1:39 PM)

I thought it was a wise move. He dove against the Jets and was killed for fumbling. He had no chance to score there. Why risk another injury?

Ben (ATL)

(IDEA) pass this along to Dez... Maybe he should be going with DeMarco Murray to MMA practice to get better with his HANDS and getting off of jams at the line. I know from experience....

Todd Archer
  (1:40 PM)

Will do. But Murray has dropped a bunch of passes so ...

Craig (Salisbury)

With a healthy Dockery, why not give Kosier a week off to rest his ailing foot?

Todd Archer
  (1:42 PM)

They're just managing him in practice to get him to the games. It's not the type of injury where one game off will change it. Kosier is not practicing today, like last Wednesday, but he should be good to go.

Jerry (NYC)

Hey Todd. Do you think Murray will keep getting 15+ carries a game when Felix returns?

Todd Archer
  (1:44 PM)

I'd do it that way. Ride the hot hand. But Garrett hasn't listened to any of my suggestions. I'd make Felix the kick returner when he comes back.

Mike (Work)

Here's a scary scenario for you, Todd: in 2003, the Philadelphia Eagles select Jason Witten with pick #61 instead of LJ Smith.

Todd Archer
  (1:45 PM)

Cowboys wanted Witten in the second round and gambled he would be there in the third. Sometimes you have to be lucky.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Of all the ESPNDallas guys, who is the most jaded? JJT, Tim Mac?

Todd Archer
  (1:46 PM)

Neither. They bring nothing but sunshine.

Jerry (NYC)

JJ would probably be too worried about having Felix get hurt on kickoff returns...

Todd Archer
  (1:48 PM)

Yeah, good one. Although with the way Murray has played, I'm sure Jerry would be OK with that move.

BG (Tampa)

JoePa shoulda resigned effective immediately or you ok with him calling it quits after the season?

Todd Archer
  (1:49 PM)

Resign now. He should not coach again.

Moon Man (The Moon)

Play GM for a minute...Who's not back next year?

Todd Archer
  (1:51 PM)

Martellus Bennett, Keith Brooking, David Buehler and probably some others that I can't think of off the top of my head. I'd think about - just think about - bringing Bradie James back on a one-year deal.

Todd Archer
  (1:53 PM)

I would like to thank Shawn, Mike, Ben and Blake since they asked the most questions here. Hopefully I made you guys happy.Thanks for the questions. If you have more, send me an e-mail. You can follow me on Twitter (@toddarcher) too, and check out our updates on the blog.Until next week ... courage.