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December 29, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Ace Airspeed (Moon Base Alpha)

Two part question here Tim, I asked the same one to JJT and Todd yesterday and would like to get your take on it. 1) Will the Cowboys look to free agency for DB, OG, and C help in the off season? 2) Not counting Kitna, name 5 players that will not be on the roster next season. Happy New Year to you and your family!

Tim MacMahon
  (1:30 PM)

Ace, I think the Cowboys are going to have to be very cautious with filling holes in free agency because of their cap situation. They'll be bargain hunters more than likely. Five guys I don't expect to return to Valley Ranch: Terence Newman, Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Abram Elam and Martellus Bennett.

Bruce (New Mexico) [via mobile]

Even if the Cowboys make the playoffs how deep of a run can they make with a sketchy defense?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:31 PM)

Anything is possible with a franchise quarterback who is playing phenomenally well. Realistically, it's extremely difficult to envision the Cowboys winning at Lambeau Field or the Superdome in the second round.

Chris (Nj)

Do you think the Cowboys will try to sign Mario Wiliams for OLB this offseason? The Texans would have to pay him $21 million if they were to franchise him and before you say they don't have the money the Cowboys did try to sign Asumonga this year. A Williams-Ware combo could be devastating.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:32 PM)

Don't think the Cowboys can afford to make that kind of investment at that position. They're already paying DeMarcus Ware top-shelf money.

Boys' F (DESK)

Tim from what you all can see are the boys downplaying this romo hand injury, or the media over hyping it? Should we as fans be concerned?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:33 PM)

I haven't seen it overhyped. It's getting a lot of attention because he's a franchise QB with a win-and-get-in game Sunday night, but I haven't seen it reported anywhere that Romo's status is in question. I don't think Romo's hand will be a determining factor in whether the Cowboys win or lose.

Gary (Los Feliz)

I tend to think the Cowboys should focus on defense with the first 3-4 picks of the draft. Are you confident the can find quality OL help in the later rounds? Specifically, center and Guard. Thanks Tim..

Tim MacMahon
  (1:34 PM)

Gary, can't disagree that there are some glaring needs on defense, but what gives you confidence the Cowboys can find ready-to-play OL gems late in the draft? Maybe they can address one of those spots in free agency, but I think they need to get a guard or center in the first few rounds.

Randall (Shreveport)

Will Scandrick take over for Newman next year or will they look outside the organization?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:35 PM)

I think the Cowboys will plan to make Scandrick a starter next season and use an early pick on a corner who can play in the nickel and compete with Scandrick for the starting job.

Ian (Atl, Ga)

Will the Cowboys chip block Jason Pierre-Paul this game to neutralize his effectiveness. I saw that they finally did this to Babin in the second half. I will take my chances with Smith on Tuck. Free will need help. Why does this team still struggle so much with twist stunts after seeing it twice vs the Eagles and some vs the Giants???

Tim MacMahon
  (1:36 PM)

Phil Costa is not a starting-caliber center. When you have a backup-quality player there, you're going to struggle with twist stunts and in the running game up the middle.

John F. (Las Cruces, NM)

Not that it matters, but is Newman hurt?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:37 PM)

No. I'm sure he has some bumps and bruises -- like every other starter in the NFL -- but he's not listed on the injury report. Rob Ryan hinted a couple of weeks ago that Newman might be hurt, but Newman said that isn't the case.

Robert Ferguson (Ft.Worth)

Do you think that the lack of OTA's is some of the issues w/ the Rob Ryan D?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:39 PM)

The lack of OTAs definitely did not help, but I think it's a personnel issue more than anything. It's not like Rob Ryan is a magician. His units in Oakland and Cleveland had average finishes of 23rd in scoring and total defense. I think that was a case of his defenses performing to their talent level, and the same goes for what we've seen this season.

tg (Maryland)

Most experts felt that this was a 7 to 9 win team.......did you feel that the defense would be this weak?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:39 PM)

I predicted 8-8 going into the year, so the Cowboys pretty much are what I thought they were. I admit I got more optimistic when they went on their 5-1 run.

Joe M (Georgina's Office)

Hi Tim,Great work..with montrae holland out and dockery presumably starting this week how do u think that will effect the offensive line?? I know they have been bad in some spots this year but do u think that is a big concern no one is talking about?? your thoughts??

Tim MacMahon
  (1:41 PM)

Communication is the concern because Dockery hasn't worked with the first unit since the second week of the season. It isn't a big dropoff in talent. Remember, the Cowboys released Holland to sign Dockery in September. Dockery has eight seasons worth of starting experience and played well against the Niners in his only start for Dallas. I think he would have been the starter from that point on if he wasn't injured in that game.

James (Dallas)

Hey Tim, I think for us to win the defense needs to again shut down the run game of the Giants, but also get at least some pressure on Eli. How do the Cowboys go about doing that when they basically got no pressure on Eli last time?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:43 PM)

At some point, it comes down to guys beating blocks. Eli got rid of the ball quickly in the last meeting with the Cowboys, but they got hardly any pressure on him. A big part of the problem was that DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff spent a lot of time on the sideline that night because of injuries. They still aren't 100 percent, but the Cowboys need Pro Bowl performances from them Sunday night.

tg (Philly)

How can Jones honestly believe that his actions don't undermine Garret's credibility and standing with the team?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:44 PM)

He sees three Super Bowl trophies the Cowboys won "his way" every day when he walks into his office. I don't agree with that line of thinking, but that's the reality.

ajg (wilmington,de)

Why didn't the Cowboys get Carter in for more than 3 snaps in the Philly game.....they clearly played it as an exibition game...what was there to lose? (I know he was injured,didn't have training camp, blah, blah blah...either he can play or not)

Tim MacMahon
  (1:45 PM)

Good question. I think Carter should have played more in that game considering it was meaningless in the grand scheme. But Rob Ryan clearly wanted to build some sort of confidence in the second half, which is why the starters stayed in there.

John F. (Las Cruces, NM)

Noticed Romo handing off with his left hand. You are a straight shooter Tim. Does Romo pass the "eyeball test"? Or will he be limited during the gam, because we all know he will play?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:45 PM)

I've been filling in on ESPN 103.3 this week, so I haven't actually seen Romo practice at all. But based on everything I hear, I really don't think the hand is going to be a significant issue.

Mitch (Dallas)

Is there a chance that Dez will be arrested before Sundays game for his unpaid loans? That would be the 2nd worst thing that could happen to us before game time.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:46 PM)

He might get served with a lawsuit. He won't be arrested.

Brian (NC)

Hey Tim... I hope the D is agressive and doesn't let Eli pick them apart. Romo is due to have a big game in a big moment. He's too good! thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:47 PM)

Romo has had big games in big moments. It's just that his failures are much more memorable. You can argue that Romo had a big game in a big moment the last time the Cowboys played the Giants. It just wasn't enough to overcome a defensive disaster.

Eric (Glassboro NJ)

Hey Tim, I was at the game in 2008 when they got blown out in Philly and I will be there this Sunday too do you think Dallas has 2008 in their mind and do you think they come out and overwhelm the Giants early and often?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:48 PM)

I think 2008 is in the back of some of the veterans' minds. They've been asked about it this week. I don't see this as a blowout either way. I think it comes down to whoever has the ball last in a shootout.

Robert (Ft.Worth)

Do you see Rob Ryan hanging around another year to get an off season under his belt and try to improve the def through the draft and free agency?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:49 PM)

The only reason Rob Ryan wouldn't be back next year is if he gets a head coach gig. I don't see that happening after the Dallas defense's inconsistent season.

Ryan H (PA) [via mobile]

Why does Dallas continue to resign mediocre players in the secondary? In my opinion it is the worst part of this team. Are they seeing something in Scandrick and Sensabaugh that I don't see?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:50 PM)

They can't replace an entire secondary, so they locked up a couple of guys to what they considered reasonable contracts. You can make a case that they were wrong in both instances, but it's not like they threw silly money at Scandrick and Sensabaugh.

Mitch (Dallas)

That secondary of ours is god awful. Is there a chance we will see a new inspired secondary this weekend? Or should we expect the same ol' crap getting toasted on deep routes. Thats all i got, got to get back to work thanks!

Tim MacMahon
  (1:51 PM)

I don't think inspiration is the issue. I think it's about ability. Father Time has caught up with Terence Newman.

Dan (Hbg, PA)

The Giants ran it and certainly passed it three weeks ago. Do you think Rob Ryan learned anything that will help him slow down the Giants offense?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:52 PM)

I think the Cowboys will have a simpler game plan than they did the last time they played the Giants. They had a communication crisis in that game. They've been simpler since then. Of course, people said the problem with Wade Phillips' scheme last season was that it was too simple and predictable. At some point, it's about the personnel.

Brandon (Plano, TX)

Any chance of the Cowboys being able to beat the Giants Sunday?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:53 PM)

The Giants have lost seven games, including at home against the Seahawks and Redskins. It's not like they're invincible.

Marc (Irving)

Id love to get Cailis Campbell from the Cards, he is free. Your thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:53 PM)

He's going to have a hefty price tag.

Frank (Dallas)

If their was one personnel move Jones could take back this year--except hiring Garrett--what do you think it would be? I think releasing Gurode to start Costa has hurt the team and Romo more than anything.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:55 PM)

I think the biggest mistake was not addressing the cornerback spot in the offseason, whether that was the draft or free agency. They kept Terence Newman a year (or two) too long.

John F. (Las Cruces, NM)

It's early, but I think Kellen Moore would be worth a third round pick for the Cowboys... McGee doesn't seem to be the backup... What say you? By the way great work!

Tim MacMahon
  (1:56 PM)

I don't know what the Cowboys think of Moore, but I agree that they should be looking for a QB in the mid-rounds. Get a guy who can compete with McGee for the backup role right away and maybe develop into Tony Romo's replacement three or four years down the road.

Cole (Dallas)

Hi Tim.. does Dallas generally like fast-but-not-tough players on defense? And it seems to me that there are just as many confused looks in our secondary as there were last year.. what do you think?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:56 PM)

The Cowboys like smart, tough, fast players. They just don't have enough of them.

Austin (Dallas)

Hello, Tim. Have you ever covered a team where the head coach's game management/play-calling blunders change the outcome in 4-5 games (Jets, Lions, Pats, Cards, Giants)?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:58 PM)

This team is pretty unique in that regard. But it's a heck of a lot better than the beginning of last season, when the Cowboys weren't even competitive in a lot of games. You just hope it's a learning process for Jason Garrett.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:59 PM)

Appreciate all the questions, folks. Gotta go now, but hit me up on Twitter @espn_macmahon if I didn't touch on your topic.