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December 21, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Todd Archer

Todd Archer
  (1:00 PM)

Here we go. Felix Jones is not practicing. DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff are.

Earl (West by God Virginia)

how bad is Jones's hammy? Morris looked good with his limited carries against Tampa Bay last week, can you see him carrying the Boys to victory sat?

Todd Archer
  (1:03 PM)

The Cowboys say they are just being cautious and Jones will play Saturday against Philadelphia. He is not practicing today either. You have to be a little worried considering Jones' injury history.As for Morris, he was relaly good last week, but I don't know how you could expect him to carry the Cowboys since he's never really carried a team before. He's a good supplement at this time of year.

Joe (Fresno, CA)

At seasons end I think the Cowboys should try to trade M. Austin plus a pick (I trust you to select a fair one) to the Browns for J. Hayden and if that falls through then sign L. Robinson to a fair 2nd receiver type contract. I like Austin but I'm optimistic about A. Holmes, R. Radway, D. Harris. What do you think? Keep up the good work.

Todd Archer
  (1:05 PM)

I'm not trading the best receiver on the team. I don't see how you could think Holmes, Radway, Harris would be good alternatives to Austin. Plus, Robinson is a free agent after the season. Sorry, Joe, can't see this happening.

Shawn (Ashe County NC)

Hey Todd, Hope you and your family have a splendid holiday. What should the boys expect from the Eagles this week? Will Rob have out defense up to task?

Todd Archer
  (1:07 PM)

And same to you, Shawn. I'd expect the Eagles to play their best game. They have a chance to make the playoffs. And even if the Giants eliminate them before kickoff by winning, I'd say the Eagles want to ruin the Cowboys' season. As for the defense, it can't be worse than it was in October.

Ryan (SC)

Who ultimately wins the NFC East in your opinion?

Todd Archer
  (1:08 PM)

I think the Cowboys do. But I'm not sure they win this game Saturday. I just don't like the matchup right now.

Gerardo Torres (Connecticut)

As a hardcore Cowboys Fan, I am still trying to understand why is it the last few years, these teams seem to be not bothered by the Eagles and the way they have been humilliated by them. Do you see the fire of revenge for Saturday? You have to admit right now it is the most hated team by far. Long gone are the days when that spot belonged to the Redskins.

Todd Archer
  (1:09 PM)

Actually, I think the players have more animosity for the Giants than Eagles. And I don't agree with your assessment they don't get bothered by what's happened in games in the past.

Peter (Montville, NJ)

Todd, how do we only have 2 tailbacks on the roster ? I know Tashard Choice didn't produce this year when asked but rather than cutting him why didn't our brilliant GM cut Beuhler ? If we had to rely on Chauncey Washington that would be an embarrassment. Your thoughts.

Todd Archer
  (1:11 PM)

They've had only two tailbacks on the roster before. At the end of '08 they had Barber and Choice as the only backs. I don't blame them for cutting Choice. He was hurt. He wasn't playing well. They wanted to go with Tanner and Tanner hurt his hamstring. My bigger issue is why did they wait to put Kitna on IR? Tanner could be healthy enough to play right now.

Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)

Can we expect Rob Ryan to give Bruce Carter some reps since LeSean McCoy will burn Keith Brooking and Bradie James in the open field?

Todd Archer
  (1:12 PM)

I wouldn't look for that, no. Listen, Carter was not involved in camp, his missed the preseason games, he missed the first six weeks of the season. I wouldn't put him in a situation where he can't succeed fully. Maybe he takes a few snaps, but I wouldn't see him a bunch.

God (Heaven)

Todd can you tell Jerry The Cowboys are no longer my team. I have to support my boy Timmy - Go Broncos !!

Todd Archer
  (1:12 PM)

Will do and thanks for reading.

Derek (California)

Which of the following scenarios do you think will happen? Cowboys clinch NFC East this Saturday, Cowboys clinch NFC East after beating Giants in Week 17, Giants win NFC East after beating Cowboys in Week 17, or the Eagles win NFC East after winning their last two games and the Giants beat Cowboys in Week 17?

Todd Archer
  (1:13 PM)

I think the Cowboys win the last game at New York and win the division. That's the scenario I see playing out.

Jon (merrick, ny)

should dallas play their starters if the giants beat the jets?

Todd Archer
  (1:13 PM)

To quote Herm Edwards, you play to win the game. I wouldn't want to go into that last game off a bad loss.

KG (Conshohocken, PA)

Will we see some double TE sets to try and slow the Wide 9 pass rush?

Todd Archer
  (1:16 PM)

I think so. They'll need to do something to slow down Jason Babin.

Shu (The ATL)

Arch, what's the general mood of the team this week as compared to last week? Focused? Nervous? Angry? Scared like Jerry?

Todd Archer
  (1:18 PM)

Not scared. Not angry. Of the four, I'd say focused.

Peter (Montville, NJ)

Todd- great coverage as usual. I read on this site that JJ said it would be a "career disappointment" to not make the playoffs this season. With that being true do you think it would prompt him to make major changes this offseason personnel wise. I mean he's failed to adequately upgrade the secondary for 3 years. I feel his "career disappointment" should be reflected in the job he's done as the GM.

Todd Archer
  (1:20 PM)

The career disappointment has been misconstrued. It would be a disappointment to Jones because of how well Romo is playing. That last part of the quote is what you need. He thinks if they get in the tournament they have a chance because of how Romo is playing.

Kofi (Accra, Ghana)

The Cowboys D did a good job shutting down Tight Ends, how do you see our chances against Brent Celek....?

Todd Archer
  (1:21 PM)

Celek beat them pretty bad in the first meeting. They have to pay so much attention on the outside, that Celek is the beneficiary. If you have Celek on your fantasy team, take him.

Peter (NJ)

Todd- is this finally the offseason that Jerry Jones fixes the secondary especially at corner ? I can't take another year of getting shreaded at home by the Giants. That was disgusting and insulting to the fans.

Todd Archer
  (1:23 PM)

Jenkins, Scandrick and Sensabaugh will be back. I don't see Newman back in 2012 unless he takes a paycut. I've kind of changed my thinking there with the way he's played lately. Ball, Walker and Elam are free agents. I'd like to see Elam back but he might be able to get more from somebody else. So you're looking at the secondary being a need position in the draft in free agency. Will they go after the big-time free agents? I don't think so.

pj (richmond)

has felix used up all of his 9 lives or can we expect another 20 carry 100yd performance vs the eagles who have to keep the safties back with the downfield threat the Cowboys passing game presents

Todd Archer
  (1:24 PM)

With the hamstring tightness, I wouldn't see Felix getting 20 carries. I'd put him right around 15-18.

raul (rio grande city)

Todd, I asked a colleague at work if he thought Rob Ryan was leaving to be a head coach...and he said that JG was the one leaving....that he sees him getting fired...I don;t believe Jerry will do that....JG is a bright mind that has a big toy in his hands and he's learning to play with it....agree?

Todd Archer
  (1:25 PM)

Tell your friend he's wrong. Garrett will be back. So will Ryan. I'm sure Ryan will intervewi somewhere, but I don't know that this defense has performed well enough for him to get a gig just yet.

Marc (Irving)

Ive read on espndallas.com that Campo wont be back next year. Any idea who might be the Secondary coach next year?????

Todd Archer
  (1:27 PM)

You haven't read that. It's been speculated it could happen just because of Campo's age and the fact that he was almost out after last year. I think Brett Maxie is doing a lot with the secondary this year. I can't give you a list of names of who could be a secondary coach because I don't know who will be available.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Sorry, not concerned about Jason Babin here....overrrated

Todd Archer
  (1:27 PM)

A guy with 18 sacks? I can't say that's overrated.

Josh (Scotland, CT)

If Felix can't go Saturday, will they call up Chauncey Washington from the practice squad?

Todd Archer
  (1:28 PM)

I think they'll call him up anyway. If Felix has some hamstring isssues you have to keep Morris fresh, which means he can't play on all of the special teams' units. Washington can take some of that and played for DeCamillis in Jacksonville and with the Cowboys.

Jim (Parts Unknown)

you think the boys will play alot of nickel this week to matchup better with the Eagles. Last time Eagles really picked on our slow linebackers?

Todd Archer
  (1:29 PM)

The run game killed the Cowboys in the first game, to me. The line just got out of whack with their control and allowed a lot of cut back lanes. They need to play better. I'd rather see Vick beat me with his arm than McCoy with his legs.

Gavin (Maryland)

I understand Garrett is a bright bright mind, but I feel as though the Head Coach position requires a motivator. We all see how dry and nigh-pointless his interviews are. Is he different behind the scenes? Is he back there really motivating the players?

Todd Archer
  (1:30 PM)

Bill Belichick will never win the press conference, as they say, but his teams win. How coaches deal with us is irrelevant. Garrett chooses to say nothing. It's OK with me. But players rave about his night-before speeches all of the time.

PhillyJoe (Philly)

Is Ware over-rated? He doesn't seem to dominate the game at the crucial times. He has faced a lot of single blocks & hasn't produced.

Todd Archer
  (1:32 PM)

He needs to play better, no doubt. Some of it is injury. I don't know how much single blocking he's seen this year, but to me the Giants sent a back at him a lot. Against Tampa, he barely played. This is a big time for Ware to show how he can dominate, even when hurt. He did it in '09 against New Orleans. But I wouldn't say he's close to being overrated. He's one of the top defensive players in the game.

Shu (The ATL)

Who would you say is playing well on defense right now?

Todd Archer
  (1:33 PM)

Sean Lee, Mike Jenkins, Sean Lissemore, Marcus Spears was really good vs. Tampa. I take Ratliff and Ware out of the equation because they didn't see many snaps that night. They need more guys to play better, no doubt.

Jonathan (Austin Tx by way of Richmond Va)

Happy Holidays! Do you think that the secondary is the largest concern for the boys for the remainder of the season? (playoffs?)

Todd Archer
  (1:34 PM)

It has to be considering the offenses they are facing and the skilled wide outs they will go against. I've said this all season: pressure makes a secondary. If the Cowboys can't get pressure, then it wouldn't matter if Darren Woodson, Deion Sanders and Everson Walls were back there.

Idiots (everywhere)

Can we just trade all of our crappy players for much better players and high draft picks? Thanks.

Todd Archer
  (1:34 PM)

Maybe Goodell would step in the way Stern did on the Hornets-Lakers trade.

Thomas (Whitehall, PA)

What are the organization's thoughts on Phil Costa? Is he back as a starter? To an untrained eye this looks like a position to upgrade.

Todd Archer
  (1:35 PM)

I think he's done OK, but I don't know that they view him as a long-term answer. I'd see them look to upgrade in the draft.

John (DC)

which eagles player(s) would you be most worried about in this matchup?

Todd Archer
  (1:35 PM)

LeSean McCoy. The dude has 20 touchdowns. He tore them apart in the first meeting.

Brandon (Baton Rouge)

I know I'm looking way ahead, but if we do make the playoffs who do you think will be a better matchup for us falcons or lions?

Todd Archer
  (1:37 PM)

Tough call. Off the top of my head I'd go with the Lions. They had a 27-3 lead on them for a reason. I wouldn't see a collapse again.

Gerardo Torres (Connecticut)

I don't think D Ware is not overrated, what he is NOT is a leader, this team is missing a defensive leader in the field a-la-Ray Lewis so badly. No one on this team seems to have that quality

Todd Archer
  (1:38 PM)

How many teams have a Ray Lewis-leader? Media and fans get caught up way too much on the rah-rah stuff. Lewis is a great player and will make the HOF because of that, not because he was a great leader.

Jack (Truth or Consequences, NM)

If/when Terrence gets cut, does that add even more "Dead Money" to our cap next year?

Todd Archer
  (1:40 PM)

No, it would save money in 2012 and push some dead money into '13. (Don't hold me to that because I don't have my salary info in front of me. I think that's right.) They'll be able to do what they want in free agency even with the dead money left over from guys like Williams, Colombo, Davis. Now, it won't be enough to do what the fans want, but I think this team has learned that signing the big-name free agents is not the way to go all of the time.

Josh (Scotland, CT)

Which Cowboys receiver is most likely to have over a 100 yards saturday? Robinson, Bryant or Austin?

Todd Archer
  (1:42 PM)

I'll go with Austin. I think he's feeling better. He's more comfortable after one week of playing. The chances for big plays can be there vs. this secondary.

Brandon (Baton Rouge)

So who are you picking this weekend Cowboys or Eagles and why?

Todd Archer
  (1:43 PM)

I should save this for last but: Eagles, 31-30. I just don't like this matchup for the Cowboys. Too much speed on that offense.

Barry (Minnesota)

Ok, we keep the def coordinator and most of the players and what? Isn't that the definition of insanity? Defense was bad last, year bad this year....

Todd Archer
  (1:44 PM)

Just cut them all? It doesn't happen that way. I wouldn't say the defense has been bad this year. I'd say it's been average. With a couple of tweaks - OLB, ILB, S, CB - they can be better.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

I have a homework assignment for you: watch a chat from you laptop next week done by JJT, Michael Wilbon, or Mel Kiper. After reading you will see what is means to actually make sense and you will then be more productive in the quality of your chat. Thank me for the suggestion after you complete your assignment!

Todd Archer
  (1:45 PM)

OK. Will do. Keep asking these questions.

Shu (The ATL)

Do you think that the Cowboys would draft the guard from Stanford or the center from Wisconsin in the first round....or is this a defensive draft....or will it be a mix of improving through the draft and free agency?

Todd Archer
  (1:46 PM)

It's a take the best player available draft. If that's the dude from Stanford, Wisconsin or a defensive guy,take that guy.

Gerardo Torres (Connecticut)

Yes but you have to admit aside from the rah rah stuff, they (Lewis, Ed Reed) guide players, directs the team, produces results. The Cowboys seem to be all on their own on the field

Todd Archer
  (1:49 PM)

Lewis does that more than Reed. That's his personality. Reed is a quieter guy. I just think we get caught up in stuff that does not matter much.

Walt (Battle Creek)

Do we keep Doug Free next year or move him to a different spot?

Todd Archer
  (1:51 PM)

Free will be here. They just signed him. He could be the right tackle next year. I've come over to the side that Tyron Smith could be a left tackle for a decade to come. But, honestly, in this division you better have two tackles.

Mike (Long Island, NY)

Besides Lee, our ILBs are old and slow. Do you see Carter getting a chance to win the starter spot next year? Can you speak to his progress so far this year coming of the knee injury?

Todd Archer
  (1:53 PM)

I think he'll be a starter next year. This has always been a redshirt year for him because of the kne injury. He's learning the defense after missing camp, the preseason and the first six games of the year. He's progressing because he's been able to practice and get daily work. I still like his future.

Brendon (Denver)

Bryan is incorrect, you are the best and most to the point beat writer. That being said why does Ryan not blitz with his inside linebackers...alla wade...the defense seemed to have a lot of success in the past with that tactic.

Todd Archer
  (1:55 PM)

He brings them sometimes but they don't get there. They didn't get there with Wade last year either. I think people believe Ryan is a huge blitz guy when he's not that big into it. He's a guy who will bring guys but play it safe behind the blitz.

Bob Yelenak (Connecticut)

Can you explain why the corners consistently play soft coverage on 3rd and short and press coverage on 3rd and long? I feel like our DBs have played this way the last three years. Is it me?

Todd Archer
  (1:56 PM)

I think Jenkins challenges guys more. Scandrick does in the slot. Newman plays off too much. Same with Ball. Why? I can't tell you. They are given the option most of the time to play press or off, Third and long is OK to play off. Third and short or medium, I'd be more aggressive.

Ian (Atl)

The Bears blueprint seem to work best versus the Eagles. Why can't the Cowboys implement a Tampa 2 vs them. Is it simply the fact that the Cowboys don't have anyone as good as Urlacher and Briggs at Lb??? I think Sean Lee can help, and he only played 1 Q of the last game. ( I know they scored 14 with him in there).

Todd Archer
  (1:57 PM)

They're not a Tampa 2 scheme where they drop the linebacker down the middle of the field It's just not what Rob Ryan believes in. Or Wade Phillips or Bill Parcells.

Anthony (KC)

Archer, you're drinking the same kool-aid that Jerry Jones is. The Eagles are 6-8 for a reason. Dangerous? Yes. Beatable? Absolutely. Just don't let Vick have 20 yards per completion.

Todd Archer
  (1:58 PM)

I said, 31-30, not 30-7. It'll be close. I just don't see the defense getting enough stops. Maybe I'll be wrong. It's happened a ton, especially on this chat, if you ask Bryan.

Steve (Syracuse)

go get a Tracy Porter from NO and GUARD Ben Grubbs from Balt in FA.....do the rest in the draft..........in order: pass rusher, safety, C, #4 CB

Todd Archer
  (1:59 PM)

It's easy to say go get this guy or that guy. The reality is you can't just go grab the best players at the positions you need the most. And in the case of Porter and/or Grubbs, they could be re-signed by the time free agency begins so they wouldn't be on the market anyway.

Damian (Calif)

Do you think cowboys bring in Norv for OC when he gets fired?

Todd Archer
  (2:00 PM)

I don't see it happening. I'm not sure Norv would want to come here without any juice. He wouldn't call the plays even if he is the OC. That would be Jason's jurisdiction. And, you know, I think the Chargers win the division still. I don't know why. Just a gut feeling.

Gerardo Torres (Connecticut)

Thank you for your responses. I just think one of the worst aspects in this team, seems to be the lack of accountability, there are serious discipline gaps and no one seems to be correcting them. Same mental errors, flags, etc

Todd Archer
  (2:00 PM)

I hear you. Thanks for the questions.

Ace (Aledo)

Why isn't Ware held to the same standard as Romo? He goes AWOL for most games and has had only one impact game (NO) yet no criticism, why Romo single handedly "loses" the game?

Todd Archer
  (2:02 PM)

I wouldn't say Ware has been free of criticism. He's received some. Now, not on the same level as the quarterback, but that's how it works in 32 NFL cities. I think you're wrong to say Ware has had one impact game in his career.

Todd Archer
  (2:03 PM)

Thanks for all of the questions. Hopefully I'll do better next week after reading some of the other great chatters. If you have more questions, send me an e-mail or follow me on Twitter (@toddarcher).See you next week.Courage.