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December 14, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Todd Archer

Todd Archer
  (12:58 PM)

Here we go, folks. Back for another chat. Hopefully I have some answers. Let's go ...

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear ToddDoes Jerry Jones support the Rooney Rule?

Todd Archer
  (1:00 PM)

Yes.

Rich (New Jersey)

Who had the biggest meltdown in the fourth quarter, offense - defense or special teams (field gal unit) ?

Todd Archer
  (1:02 PM)

I have to go with the defense. The Giants ran 27 plays in the fourth quarter. The defense could not protect a 12-point lead with 5:41 to blame. I'm not absolving the other units, but the biggest meltdown was the defense.

edmund ....toledo , Ohio [via mobile]

What happen to our running game? ..and what happen to our DB's

Todd Archer
  (1:03 PM)

I don't think the running game was an issue Sunday. I thought Felix Jones did a nice job coming in for DeMarco Murray and I think he'll have a good run here at the end of the year as the No. 1 guy. They ran the ball three times in the fourth quarter in part because they never had the ball.

Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)

Is Jason Garrett overwhelmed with being a play-caller and having the responsibilities of a head coach, such as game management and decision making?

Todd Archer
  (1:06 PM)

Jerry Jones said on SportsCenter today that the thought humors him that people believe Garrett is overwhelmed. I don't think Garrett is overwhelmed. He's a young coach who has made mistakes. Veteran coaches make mistakes with game management, too. There's been a call for Jason to bring in an OC in 2012. I don't think it will happen because Jason will continue to call the plays.

Chris (Kansas)

A lot of the defensive struggles are starting to fall on Rob Ryan. I think it is on the players. Rob Ryan had much lesser talent at Cleveland running this system and had more success. Wade Phillips and Rob Ryan both struggled to find consistency so it has to be the players. Thoughts?

Todd Archer
  (1:08 PM)

I wouldn't say Cleveland had more success than the Cowboys under Ryan, but I here you. The players are saying it's on the players, too. That's a natural fall back for them to prop up their coach. I do think Ryan needs to dump some of the complexity of the scheme. He had to be a mad scientist in Oakland and Cleveland because he didn't have players. Here he has some players - or at least more than he had in other spots - and I wonder if he's doing too much stuff. Wade Phillips got too predictable. Ryan is too complex at times. Somewhere there is a balance.

Cd, wv [via mobile]

Todd, all the great defenses have not only talent, but they have at least one player with "nastyness" or "im going to stop you or score attitude" do you see anybody on dallas with that kind of mental toughness, and can bring it everyplay

Todd Archer
  (1:09 PM)

Jay Ratliff comes to my mind first. He's that type of guy. I think Sean Lee has that demeanor too.

Randy White, LT,Charles Haley, Reggie White (Canton Ohio and Hea

Hey Todd, we too were often double and tripled teamed. Why can't Demarcus Ware peform in the big spot? And if you can't perform in the big spot please don't kill us with penalties. I know I know, we have 1000 holes on this sinking ship called Defense, but our short number of STARS need to perform when it counts!

Todd Archer
  (1:10 PM)

So glad we have such a strong class of people chiming in on this chat. All of you guys are right. It looked like Sunday that Ware was doubled most of the time or a back was sent to chip him. I haven't studied it that close yet. But you're right. Even if you're doubled you have to make plays. Ware knows that. I talked to him about it last week. Until the Cowboys get consistency elsewhere, it'll be harder for him. Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.

Chris (Kansas)

Dez Bryant has to get more targets/touches. Teams across the league with lesser talent than Romo and Bryant find ways to get the ball to their #1 receiver (despite double teams), yet Dallas (insert Jason Garrett here) can't seem to figure that out on a consistent basis. Thoughts?

Todd Archer
  (1:12 PM)

I've had coaches say over the years that if a team is determined to take away one player, they can do it. Did NY do that? Well, then I think Witten or Austin would've been more productive. With the Giants' pass rush, I don't think Romo had much time to get the ball - perceived or real - to Bryant and they didn't really look for him short. I'd get him more involved.

Chris (NJ)

Todd, I know JJ has said he wants Garrett to be head coach and offensive coordinator but to you think he could change his mind about Norv Turner? He's certainly going to be fired and likely won't get a head coaching gig again plus he's an outstanding OC with a good relationship with JJ and I think it would do Garrett a world of good to have a veteran coordinator around.

Todd Archer
  (1:13 PM)

Here's what I think about Norv: he's a good coach, great coordinator. But does he want to come here and work with Jason? Would his ego allow him to be the No. 2 guy behind him? Maybe it would. I don't know that, but it's easy to say just go get this guy. Well, maybe "this guy" might not want to come.

Neal (Hell)

Hey Todd, love the work you do, gotta say that you and Broaddus are the class of the writers in ESPN Dallas, no disrespect to the others. Had a question about the offseason. You think Jerry will go out and sign at least one big name free agent? I'm hoping for a guy like Calais Campbell, who really has come into his own this year in the Zona 3-4, and could really help this defense out, but I know his price wll be steep. What do you see happening?

Todd Archer
  (1:15 PM)

Neal, thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure the Cowboys will be in position to make a play for a big-time free agent because of their cap situation. They are chewing up a lot of dead money. They could be able to clear more room, but I'm not sure how much. Good call on Campbell. He was a terror vs. the Cowboys and has that 3-4 end look teams crave. I just wouldn't count on it. Look at Jerry's history. He's rarely stepped into the free agent market and paid huge, huge money. Deion, Leonard Davis come to mind off my head. But most of the money he's spent has been on his own guys.

Gary (Los Feliz)

Skip Bayless and Steven a Smith just said on ESPN First Take they believe Garrett will be fired if the Cowboys do not make the playoffs. Garrett can't even manage a clock let alone a team. Do you think Garrett will survive? I heard that Jerry wants Jeff Fisher..

Todd Archer
  (1:17 PM)

What you heard has been complete speculation by reporters because Fisher has a good relationship with the Joneses. But I would ask you to look at his record in Tennessee a little more closely. They were up and down a lot over his last few years.I don't think Garrett is going anywhere. Jerry has said a ton of times he's not a fan of recycled coaches because he's not sure they have the same fire they had before.

John (DC)

I don't understand the whole "Dan Dailey got iced" argument. In the last two games, the last kick ended up not being good because of a bad snap/hold and a blocked kick. I dont see how either of those failings fall on Bailey. The kid is a phenomenal kicker

Todd Archer
  (1:19 PM)

I'm with you John. I don't look at Garrett's timeout in Arizona as an "ice" job. He thought the play clock was running too low and didn't want to risk a penalty. Now, on the second try, it wasn't an awful snap nor was it the best. He didn't hit it well. Against, NY, you can't blame him. I don't think it was to low. I think Pierre-Paul just made a great play.

Jim (Maine)

Now that Demarco Murray is out for the season, Will Jason Garrett go back to his pass happy ways the rest of the season? Which would be a mistake

Todd Archer
  (1:19 PM)

I don't think so. I think he trusts Felix Jones.

Rick (Austin, TX)

If the 'boys can't win the division do you think they have a shot at a wildcard spot?

Todd Archer
  (1:20 PM)

They better hope Detroit and Atlanta collapse. They lose the tiebreaker to the Lions with the loss earlier in the year. They could win the tiebreaker vs. Atlanta. You don't want to be in a position where you need help from other teams. Just win the final three games and get the division title.

Chris D (Chandler, AZ)

seems since Roy Williams play fell off, the Cowboys have really overlooked the need for an impact safety. Now they go out and reward mediocrity by signing Sensabaugh to a 5-year extension. They have drafted 5 DB's in the last 3 drafts who have all been cut. Who is responsible for judging/scouting Defensive Backs?

Todd Archer
  (1:23 PM)

They signed Ken Hamlin to big money, too, and he flopped. There are two really good safeties - Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. It's just not an impact position with the way the game is today. You need corners. You mention the five DBs in the last three drafts, but the highest pick came in the fifth round. Every team misses when you get to that point. They shouldn't miss that much, though. Maybe they need to re-examine their process at the position.

John (New Jersey)

Todd-do the Bucs have the weapons to attack this secondary (not that it takes many) or will it be pound Blount to set-up the D-backs?

Todd Archer
  (1:23 PM)

Oh, I think after Matt Moore, Rex Grossman and Kevin Kolb had success, you can't rule out any team being able to attack this secondary.

Rick (Austin, TX)

Is it just me or is it the secondary that is the weak link on this defense? It seems that at the end of games this defense lets opposing teams score at will. We seem to be doing a good job on the D-line and the linebackers seem improved with the rise of Sean Lee (another INT first game without the club on his hand). What can the boys do about this?

Todd Archer
  (1:25 PM)

The secondary was an issue last year. Some of it has been injury this year. I think Jenkins has been better. I think Elam has played the way they thought. I think Sensabaug has been OK but I'm not sure I would've given him that extension. Newman has struggled the last month or so. Scandrick has given up plays. So has Alan Ball. The pass rush has disappeared. If the pass rush can re-appear, then I think the secondary improves.

Jim (Maine)

Better free agent find for the Cowboys this year.....Laurent Robinson or Tony Fiametta?

Todd Archer
  (1:26 PM)

Robinson by a mile. He's scored eight touchdowns.

Victor (Texas)

Can you explain what has happened to doug free this season....why has he underachieved this season?

Todd Archer
  (1:28 PM)

I wish I had a good answer. I don't. He just hasn't played as well. I think he's healthy. His footwork has been an issue at points and he got bowled over once vs. NY. On the second sack that many pinned on Free, I think it was more on Montrae Holland. Free overset to the outside and the guy moved inside, which tells me Holland was slow to help out.

Scott (Florida)

Why are we having such a tough time getting a first down at the end of the game when we need it? Giving the ball back to the other team and losing in the 4th quarter is killing this team.. Where is the killer instinct? Is Garret playing scared?

Todd Archer
  (1:29 PM)

On third and 5 he went to a deep throw on a blitz to Austin. I don't think that's playing scared.

BG (Tampa)

Jenkins said the cancer in the 2ndary is communication. What does that mean, they don't talk to ea other enough on the field, don't comprehend Ryans play calls, what is it?And is there a chance they can fix it with 3gms to go?

Todd Archer
  (1:30 PM)

All of the above, I think. There are a lot of moving parts to the defense and the players have not been on the same page. Can it be fixed? A full offseason will help but that's too much of an out for the group. I think Ryan needs to scale back some of the exotic looks. Not be so base-defense driven but not trying to confuse the QB so much he ends up confusing his guys.

Chris D (Chandler, AZ)

AOA was a 4th. The other 3 were 5th rounders. I think the better franchises (personnel-wise) don't miss on 4th and 5th rounders as much as we do. I think scouting and Dave Campo are the problems as well as the fraud of a GM we have.

Todd Archer
  (1:33 PM)

Yep, on AOA. My bad. I'm going to do some sort of study on this in the offseason. There are like three or four teams that can draft. The rest stink. I'd say Baltimore, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and I'm sure there's another team I can't think of off the top of my head. But every team - New England, included - misses a lot. A lot.

Shawn (Ashe County, NC)

Is Eli really that good or did the Dallas D make him look great?

Todd Archer
  (1:35 PM)

I think he's having a really good year, but the coverage was so bad that we could've hit some of those throws.

Jimmy (Medway, MA)

Todd, thanks so much for this great chat, love the coverage! When you look at this Dallas roster every season, it always seems as if they've got talent, but sometimes I wonder, do they really exert their best effort? How come it seems like Jerry Jones brings in these classy or big name free agents, and sometimes, they don't pan out? Is it because of pressure or the Dallas mystique? Thanks so much for your time, and all the great things you do!

Todd Archer
  (1:37 PM)

I have to answer every question from somebody from my hometown. I think they have talent, but not enough of it. I think there's enough to get to the playoffs and then youy hope for some luck. I don't think effort has been an issue. If effort ws the problem, then they would be getting crushed every week. They're not. As for the free agent deal, I'm not sure which big-name guy you're talking about on this roster because they didn't add one.

Mark (TX)

Are the Cowboys an average team or is their record due to bad luck or bad play?

Todd Archer
  (1:37 PM)

They're average. But average can get you to 10-6 in the NFL and in the playoffs.

John (New Jersey)

Jimmy=great drafts Tuna=great drafts. Instead of focusing on the HC's performance why doesn't the owner focus on the GM's performance since that seems to be the pattern - not that anything will occur.

Todd Archer
  (1:40 PM)

I wouldn't say Parcells had great drafts. The '04 and'06 drafts weren't too strong. And I'd say Jimmy was a good drafter because he had a million picks so he could miss on a lot of guys. Look at his record in Miami with the draft. It wasn't that good. But the rest of your argument makes sense and it's something that will never change. Ever. It doesn't mean we ignore it, but I wouldn't bang your head against a wall waiting for it to change.

Brandon (Baton Rouge)

What should we expect out of Sammy Morris?

Todd Archer
  (1:41 PM)

Look for him to help on third downs and special teams. He's not an every down back but he's the perfect kind of guy for this sort of situation. He has experience. He's smart. He won't get the QB killed in pass protection. This is a smart move.

Shu (The ATL )

Why do chatters want to look at everything but the real problem? The Cowboys have some talented players but they have too many holes on their roster including in the offensive and defensive line...which is why they are inconsistent. Agree?

Todd Archer
  (1:43 PM)

I think the O-line has had issues here for a couple of years. The D-line has been up and down but solid, I think. Here's the deal: every team has holes. Even Green Bay. It's how you mask them. Some of it is coaching. It's better to know what you aren't than what you are.

Austin (Houston)

Why is Dez catching one pass a big problem? Romo was 21-31, 300+ yds, and 4 TDs. Yeah, Dez was really missed that game...

Todd Archer
  (1:44 PM)

Because he's one of your best playmakers. You want him to get the ball more. 124 of those yards came on busted plays to Dez and Robinson. It wasn't great design that led to those catches.

Jason (Atlanta)

Do you feel that Jerry prob should have gave the contract he gave Scandrick to Jenkins? I know people say "oh he gets hurt too much & etc" but I flat out respect the guy for being a warrior n playing hurt I mean outplayed every DB with one arm on Sunday

Todd Archer
  (1:45 PM)

Jenkins has played well, IMO, and he's shown toughness, which I think people questioned as a rookie and last year. I give him a lot of credit. Now on to the contract: Jenkins has another year left on his deal. Scandrick was set to be a free agent, which is why he was the priority. I think you'll see them approach Jenkins next year.

Shu (The ATL )

DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Sean Lee...what other dynamic players do the Cowboys have on defense? The rest are average at best...and Tyron Smith is the only game changer on the offensive line. Not a whole lot of talent in the trenches.

Todd Archer
  (1:47 PM)

Jenkins is a playmaker. I'd put him in that category. It's not like these other teams have 22 all-stars running around.

Gary S (Arvada, Co)

When will we ever get rid of our pathetic corners? The next draft has to be all defense dont you think? Thanks for the time.

Todd Archer
  (1:49 PM)

What about the offensive line? I think they'll focus on defense, but not at the expense of who they deem to be the best player. I'd keep Jenkins. I'd keep Scandrick. I don't see Newman back now. Ball is gone. Frank Walker, too. They'll have to look at corners.

Steve (Syracuse)

Dallas has to get a pass rusher in round 1.......you could have Deion, Lott, and Night Train back there. But even they can't cover all day long! Thoughts on round 1 for an OLB?

Todd Archer
  (1:50 PM)

Well, the guy before you wants a corner. I'd go with some sort of pressure player. Pressure makes a secondary. If they can get a dynamic guy in the first round, do it. But from where they'll be picking I don't know that you'll see another Ware-type available.

Brian (NYC)

wasnt mike jenkins taken in the last 3 drafts in the first round?

Todd Archer
  (1:50 PM)

He was in 2008.

Steve (Fall River, MA)

What are your overall thoughts on Tony Romo? Perhaps, he's the second coming of Danny White? Do you see him ever leading a Cowboys squad or possibly another NFL team deep in the playoffs?

Todd Archer
  (1:52 PM)

I hate the Danny White argument. White went to three NFC title games. He was a really good to great player. I think Romo can take the Cowboys deep in the playoffs and to a Super Bowl. Will he? I don't know, but look at his numbers this year. Is he the problem? He's had some issues at points, but I wouldn't put 7-6 solely on Romo. Nor would I put this 0-2 December solely on him.

Kofi (Akomeah)

Why cant the Cowboys put Victor Butler in pass coverage as an ILB rather than have Brooking and B. James, who really cant cover anybody, or Butler can only play the OLB position?

Todd Archer
  (1:53 PM)

Butler's best attribute is rushing the passer. Why would you want him in coverage?

Mark (TX)

I think New Orleans is a hard hitting, turnover creating defense. Do you think the Cowboys could apply that approach?

Todd Archer
  (1:54 PM)

New Orleans has 12 takeaways this year. The Cowboys have 23.

Dominic (Arlington Texas)

How do you see the last three games playing out, in your opinion? Is the game against the Giants even meaningful?

Todd Archer
  (1:55 PM)

I think they can make that last game meaningful. The Philly game, to me, is scary. I don't like how they match up with the Eagles. Maybe it'll change at Cowboys Stadium but that 34-7 game would stick with me.

Shu (The ATL )

Did the Cowboys even consider Jonathan Joseph? He sure looks pretty good in H-Town...

Todd Archer
  (1:56 PM)

They weren't going to pay that kind of money for a player. They didn't get up that high on Asomugha.

Chris (NJ)

Todd, why is everyone attacking Rob Ryan? He's running the same defense that the Jets have had tremendous success with the only difference it that Rex has a good secondary and Rob has Newman and Ball getting torched on every play.

Todd Archer
  (1:56 PM)

He's not running the same defense. The only similarity is that they are both 3-4 schemes.

Chris (NJ)

Todd, you mentioned above that Norv Turner might not be interested in coming to Dallas as OC but would you agree that with a sub .500 record after 14 years as head coach at age 60, he's not getting another head coaching job in the NFL again so unless he wants to retire, he's gonna have to be an OC somewhere.

Todd Archer
  (1:57 PM)

He's going to be an OC somewhere for sure. No longer a head coach. But I don't know he wants to come back here.

Steve (Syracuse)

but Todd.........not all the great pass rushers were taken in the top 10-15 of an NFL draft. roll the dice and take a chance on a Andre Branch or Courtney Upshaw

Todd Archer
  (1:58 PM)

Sure, but when you roll the dice, you come up empty at times and miss on players.

Marc (Irving)

Any worries about Bruce Carter, i mean we use backup Safeties instead of Carter????

Todd Archer
  (1:59 PM)

Nope. This is what you had to expect after he missed all of camp and the first however many games of the season. This is a redshirt year for him. Always has been.

Shu (The ATL )

Arch, how are your cover skills these days?

Todd Archer
  (1:59 PM)

I'm an in-the-box safety. You don't want me covering.

Steve W (Lubbock, Texas)

why doesnt the DB'S get up on the WR's at the line of scrimmage, the first five yards you can hit them and knock them off their routes, but Dallas still plays 7-10 yards out..why ?..scared to be beat for the long ball ?

Todd Archer
  (2:00 PM)

Could be some of that, especially vs. the Giants receivers. Jenkins is more aggressive than Newman, for sure.

Taylor (NC)

Do you think there is still a chance for the Cowboys to make the playoffs with their defense in the state it is and with Demarco Murray now out for the season?

Todd Archer
  (2:02 PM)

Last one - yes, there's a chance. I think they make that game in New York mean something with wins against Tampa and Philly. Now, can they win in NY? I don't know. They did it last year in Garrett's first game. I think they'll be OK without Murray on offense. I just have a gut feeling that Felix will do OK. As for the defense? Not a lot of faith there.

Todd Archer
  (2:02 PM)

Thanks for all of the questions, folks. Hopefully I helped out. If I didn't, send me an e-mail or follow me on Twitter (@toddarcher) and let's talk some more.Thanks again.See you next week.Courage.