Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 1, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (1:31 PM)

Thanks for joining me, folks. Fire away with questions.

Ian (Atl, GA)

I'm still waiting on the dominant 7-9 catch 120 yard game from dez!!! How long should it take to click with Dez??? I mean, Laurent Robinson is a veteran, and this is his best year yet, but he has come off the street and has only a training camp in SD worth of experience in this offense, while Dez has a year and a half plus!!

Tim MacMahon
  (1:34 PM)

It's a matter of time before Dez Bryant has that type of game. He's held to the standards of his talent, so you could consider his performance this season a disappointment. But he's still among 32nd in the NFL in receiving yards and tied for 13th in TD catches. It's not like he's been bad.

Blake (Surprise Az)

Hello Tim......I keep thinking "TRAP GAME" with Giants in waiting next week....however, with the Boys being healthier than usual....this should be a great game for them. Thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:35 PM)

This does have all the makings of a trap game -- opponent with a bad record, Cowboys on a roll, big game against the Giants next week. But this team buys into Garrett's boring, old one-week-at-a-time, wear-blinders approach. That's especially important this week.

Jeri (San Diego)

Hi Tim, look forward to your chats. I just dont see how when Austin comes back ( I think next week), that LaRo takes a back seat. He's 1 of the 3 hottest wide outs over the last month. Isnt there a way to get to more 3 receivers sets on the field? It appears Tony is always looking his way.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:38 PM)

I think you will see a lot of three-WR sets once Austin is healthy, especially if Fiammetta hasn't returned from his mystery illness. But Robinson will and should be the No. 3 WR. As productive as he's been, you don't bench receivers as talented as Miles Austin and Dez Bryant unless they've done something seriously wrong. There's enough room in the offense for all three guys to make plays.

Cowboys fan stuck in NY (New York)

Hey Tim, with Romo coming into his prime a talented young running back in Murray and Talented receiving core and the youngest offensive line in football. If our defense can get better through the draft and free agency, is this Dallas Team set for a 4-5 year span of playoff runs?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:40 PM)

Romo is in his prime. He's probably closer to the end of it than the beginning. But there is certainly reason for optimism around Valley Ranch, especially if they can upgrade their interior offensive line and secondary during the offseason. Of course, there was a ton of optimism before the 2008 and 2010 seasons, and we saw how that worked out.

Ian (Atl, GA)

I know its early since Austin may not be back this week, but shouldn't Austin replace Bryant int he line up when he returns. I am all for playing who is producing and no way you bench Robinson with the way he has been playing. Even though it seems Bryant has been improving, but maybe a demotion will light a fire under him to work overtime to master the nuances of the position.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:42 PM)

I don't like the idea of demoting Bryant when he's been making progress, working hard, showing up on time and doing everything that's asked of him. My hunch is a demotion would be much more likely to put him in a funk instead of having the desired motivational impact you mentioned. He has a fire lit under him right now. Roll with him and let Robinson be an outstanding No. 3 WR.

Steve (Philly)

Felix looks very timid returning kickoffs, I think he always has. Do we have any other options there? How much do you think Dez will return punts this week?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:43 PM)

Kevin Ogletree is the other option on kickoffs. I'd rather see Felix Jones back there. He did look timid last week, but maybe that's because he hadn't done it in so long. I think Dez will only return punts in certain situations this week. Once Austin returns, Bryant will be the full-time punt returner again.

d-nice (east orange n.j.)

can romo get over the hump, and take the cowboys deep in the playoffs?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:44 PM)

I think it's more about whether the defense can play well than Romo getting over the hump.

Jason (Nashville)

It wouldn't surprise me if Dallas lost and the Giants won on Sunday. Then, all bets are off for the division. If Dallas has another December collapse, what, if any, changes do you think they make in the off-season?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:45 PM)

I'd be surprised if the Cowboys lost. I'd be surprised if the Giants won. So we don't agree on either of those points. As far as offseason upgrades go, OG, C and the secondary top the needs list.

Ben (ATL)

Will Chapas start over J.Phillips this week? Has he proven himself worthy?!?!

Tim MacMahon
  (1:47 PM)

Don't think it's a matter of starting. Phillips will play in certain formations. Chapas could play in the traditional fullback role if he proves himself capable during practice this week.

Matt (San Antonio)

Getting Murray over the 1000 yard barrier seems to have real significance not only for a stable running game but for future, can we anticipate a Norv Turner offense more so than we have seen during the stretch run?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:48 PM)

Garrett's play-calling has been remarkably balanced since Murray emerged. Expect that to continue down the stretch.

Nick (Kansas)

Tim, Do you have any idea what this "mystery illness" is that Fiametta has??

Tim MacMahon
  (1:49 PM)

We've heard vertigo mentioned as a distinct possibility, but that hasn't been confirmed. The important thing is he's getting better and could play as soon as next week.

Paul (Corona, Ca)

A lot of people are hating on the defense lately but the fact is, since the bye, they're giving up 17.7 PPG. (That's including the Philadelphia stinker) I think the defense is only going to get better as they get healthier, what are your thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:50 PM)

The defense's performance against Rex Grossman and Matt Moore the last two weeks wasn't exactly inspiring. Mike Jenkins is back this week. They need to play better, especially when Eli Manning comes to town.

cowboy nate (md)

I remember u thought this team was 8-8 in the beginning of the season! I knew that wasnt true, cowboys are never average they are very bad or pretty good. You have a close eye on the team now as u did before, what are your thoughts on the final 5 games and what will our playoff position be?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:52 PM)

They're obviously better than I anticipated. I think the Cowboys go 11-5, win the NFC East and enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. That means the Packers will be waiting if they can beat the Falcons/Bears/Lions.

Shawn (Ashe County NC)

Tim, Hope that you had a great holiday. Do you think that Dallas can beat the packers?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:53 PM)

That would be a massive upset. Not saying it's impossible, but the Cowboys would have to play a phenomenal game. Aaron Rodgers vs. this secondary is a scary thought right now. DeMarcus Ware would have to be a monster. And Romo and Co. would have to put up at least 27 points.

Matt (San Antonio)

McNab is going to be released. Since the Cowboys put in a waiver claim on Orton do you think they will for McNab? They still run the same offense in Philly as we saw with Kolb.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:55 PM)

Maybe, but they'll have to consider the potential distractions of bringing McNabb on board. He's probably not a guy who would be pleased with being Tony Romo's backup, so the upgrade on paper might not be worth the trouble.

Marc (Irving)

Who are the Cowboys Inside and Outside linebackers next year??

Tim MacMahon
  (1:57 PM)

DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter and Anthony Spencer. I think they'll end up swallowing hard and giving Spencer a long-term extension. It creates too big of a hole to let him go.

PK (Denver)

Will Romo continue to hold for FGs? If he does, I would like to see a fake pass. Do you know if they have worked on it at all?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:58 PM)

For some reason I do not understand, Mat McBriar is the only other guy on the roster the Cowboys think is capable of holding. He's worked on that some this week, with the pain gone from his foot, and could be back in that role soon.

Nick (Hays, KS)

Is Kolb starting this week?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:59 PM)

Yes, unless he has a setback. If Kolb puts up big numbers, there's no question this secondary has some serious issues.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:59 PM)

Yes, unless he has a setback. If Kolb puts up big numbers, there's no question this secondary has some serious issues.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:00 PM)

Appreciate the time, folks. Gotta get ready for another thrilling Jason Garrett press conference. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @espn_macmahon if I didn't get to your question.