Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 5, 1:30 PM ET
Chat with Tim MacMahon

Tim MacMahon
  (1:34 PM)

Thanks for joining me for a little Cowboys wrap-up chat after the revisionist rebuilding season. Fire away.

ed (virginia)

I see Ratliff moving outside next season, IF we can find a replacement at the NT spot... are there any huge, guard eating, run stuffing true nose tackles out there that could fill that spot?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:36 PM)

I don't think Jay Ratliff will move to defensive end. His play at nose tackle certainly wasn't a problem this year. The Cowboys had a top-10 run defense. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. There are plenty of other things that need fixin' with that D.

Andy (Texas)

So much is said about Jerry Jones as a GM. He excels at marketing the team so why can't he hire someone to make personnel decisions and still remain in charge of all other business decisions?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:38 PM)

E-G-O. Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys because he wanted to run the team. He ran off Jimmy Johnson because he wanted to make sure everyone knew that he ran the team. Jerry isn't going to change now. He's had six head coaches, one GM and one playoff win in the last 15 seasons, but in his mind, the three Lombardi Trophies from the '90s justify the way he does football business.

clayton (cowboys stadium )

do u think we should keep newman? Whats your thoughts on jerry jones do u think we should get a GM?and Finaly do u think we retain rob ryan?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:39 PM)

Clayton, did they leave a beer tap on at JerryWorld? How can you possibly think paying Terence Newman more than $6 million next season would be a good idea? They'll cut him -- one or two years too late. Rob Ryan will be back. Hopefully, he'll have better talent to work with. The draft needs to focus primarily on defense and the O-line.

Brian (Appleton)

Tim,I disagree with your column that JG was making excuses. I think that they thought it was rebuilding all along. Coaches don't always tell the media what their real thoughts are. They simply can't tell their teams they are rebuilding. Where would there confidence be? Come on.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:41 PM)

Brian, thanks for reading. You're free to disagree, but it's complete bull to suggest that losing five overpaid, below-average players had anything to do with the Cowboys missing the playoffs this season. The Cowboys made major upgrades at three of those spots. Upgrading talent isn't an excuse for mediocrity.

Ian (Atl, GA)

I've heard that Mike Woicik is probably the best strength coach in the league. Is there anything he can do to build up the strength and durability of Felix and Demarco?? Can he help get Nagy and Arkin strong enough for them to contribute after just one offseason, or will it take more time??

Tim MacMahon
  (1:42 PM)

I don't think any strength coach in the world can prevent DeMarco Murray from breaking his ankle on the play that he did. That's just bad luck. As far as all the hamstring injuries go (Felix Jones, Miles Austin, Mike Jenkins, etc.), you would hope Woicik can help that. And he'll play a huge role in the development of the young O-linemen.

Billy (NYC)

Do you agree that cornerback needs to be addressed even more than safety play? I feel like we suffered more because of poor man coverage than being beaten over the top. Blown coverages also seemed to be more of a result of the scheme and confusion than poor zone coverage. Thoughts?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:44 PM)

Yes. I think you can get away with average play at safety, but cornerbacks get exploited a lot easier. They need to get a starter at cornerback and address the depth there. But they also probably need to replace Abram Elam.

Billy (NYC)

Tim, thanks for your work. Looking to how some terrible defenses have not stopped teams from succeeding this year (Packers; Patriots), is there an argument for using the 1st round draft pick on offense? And would you consider trading up for the USC LT Khalil, allowing us to move Free to guard?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:47 PM)

The Packers' defense at least forces a lot of turnovers, so you could make an argument that Green Bay's D isn't terrible. The Pats' D will probably cost them a chance to make the Super Bowl. I think the Cowboys have to address D in this draft. As far as trading up for the USC LT, I don't think that makes sense. They'd have to give up too much to go get him, and I think Free will be fine at RT with Smith playing LT.

Joe (Charlotte NC)

Tim, I think that Dallas needs two new CB, a new OLB, and a stud DE to fix this Defense. Do you agree? Any thoughts on players in the draft that might fit in Dallas's 3-4?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:50 PM)

I'll leave the talk about specific players in the draft to the Mel Kipers and Todd McShays. They've been studying those players for months. I've been checking out their info and watching games on TV. I think the D's needs are starters at CB, OLB, DE, S and depth at ILB and CB (again). They'll have to fill at least one of those holes in free agency. Sean Lissemore might be able to step in at DE.

Billy (NYC)

Isn't there a case to be made in Jerry's favor as GM? First, another GM isn't necessarily the answer. I think there are a few exceptional GM's and front office's, but generally many teams fail to draft and free agent sign well. Even the great Bill Polian was exposed once his best draft pick ever went down. Second, Jerry was on the right side of the draft Ware argument (Parcells wanted Spears), and just looking at this past year he/his team picked up Robinson, drafted Tyron Smith, and (based on Barry Switzer's advice) drafted Demarco. Your take?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:51 PM)

Jerry has had some hits, for sure. He's also had drafts like 2009.

tim (iowa)

any chance the cowboys take a qb in the first 3 rounds of the draft and are you sold on mcgee?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:52 PM)

I think they need to draft a QB who can immediately compete with McGee for the backup role and possibly develop into a starter a few years down the road. I wouldn't pick a QB higher than the third round, though. Too many other needs.

Clovis Mike (Cali)

How does Mario Butler fit into the mix at corner? Thought he had a good preseason and flashed potential but never got a call up during the season. He can't be any worse that Alan Ball right?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:53 PM)

He'll get a chance to compete for a roster spot next summer.

chris (willis tx)

hey will the cowboys resign mike jenkins going into next season, and do you think he demands a scandrick or newman type contract?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:54 PM)

That will be interesting. It might be in Jenkins' best interest to wait until midway through next season. He played well this season, but he missed a lot of time. If he can stay healthy, he might get paid Newman bucks. His agent is Drew Rosenhaus, so he's definitely not going to take a hometown discount.

samuel (queens ny)

do you think cowboys should invest in a calais campbell or a high draft pick on a defensive end in to take pressure off ratliff in the middle?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:56 PM)

I don't think the Cowboys will be able to afford Calais Campbell. If Chris Canty got a $42 million contract, Campbell is in for a huge payday. That dude is a monster. DE is a possibility for a high pick, but that depends on value. The Cowboys have too many needs to get locked into one position.

jon (carson)

do the cowboys look at possible future free agency and future college prospect before they give contracts to guys like sensabaugh? because there has to be someone in the draft with a higher ceiling then gerald and laron landry is a free agent

Tim MacMahon
  (1:57 PM)

Part of the thought about giving Sensabaugh a deal was that they didn't want to have to look for two safeties this offseason again.

Dave (Canada)

is everyone missing the point re: cornerback. part of the reason the cornerbacks had problems was that the defense could not consistently generate enough pressure, so opposing cornerbacks were able to stay in the pocket and look downfield. i would look for a replacement for spencer in the first round.

Tim MacMahon
  (1:58 PM)

You can make that argument, but maybe Victor Butler can step in and be that guy. Even if Orlando Scandrick is ready to start -- and he definitely has not proven that -- the Cowboys need to get another corner who can play about 60 percent of the snaps.

Mike (Work)

So it is pretty clear Newman is going to be gone next season but what is the best way to replace him? Scandrick seems best suited to play the nickel. Is drafting a CB in Round 1 or signing a top young free agent (ex- Jonathan Joseph in 2011) the best way to find Newman's replacement?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:59 PM)

I think they've got to get a starter in the draft. Good corners cost too much in free agency.

Jay (Tx)

Im all for trading injury prone Austin to a team that needs a WR for maybe more picks to shore up the defense and o line. DEZ/LAURENT/WITTEN and even HOLLEY appear to be good enough ... Your though?

Tim MacMahon
  (1:59 PM)

Austin's contract makes it extremely unlikely that he'll be traded.

Dubya (Dallas)

Do you believe a rookie qb couldn't come in here and win a playoff game? Every team that drafts a rookie qb high has other holes like the Cowboys, but good qbs can overcome it. By Saturday night, 1 rookie will have as many playoff wins as romo in 9 seasons. romo is very replaceable.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:01 PM)

If you think Romo is the Cowboys' primary problem, I really don't know what to tell you. I doubt any rookie would be an upgrade over Romo right away. And if one is, it's a guy who goes in the top two or three picks.

Scott (Dallas)

I think this team needs to get better up front on defense more so than the secondary. The only pass rush they get is from the edge, nothing in the QB's face. Pressure in the QB's face is causes errant throws, which turn into interceptions and incompletions.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:02 PM)

Unless you have DBs with zero ball skills.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Look at the lack of humility in Jerry Jones and you will see why Jason Garrett lacks honesty and transparency in his press conferences. These attitudes are always systemic from the top down.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:03 PM)

I just think twisting the truth is part of the job description for coaches in pro sports. Calling bull when we smell it is part of the media's job description.

Billy (NYC)

With the 3-4, the Cowboys have tended towards run-stopper DEs who aren't necessarily good pass rushers. Do you see us keeping the 3-4 but using the draft or free agency on a DE who can add pass rushing help, possibly at the expense of run defense?

Tim MacMahon
  (2:03 PM)

Jason Hatcher and ex-Cowboy Stephen Bowen both have pass-rushing skills. So does Sean Lissemore. But if the Cowboys go DE early, it'd have to be a guy who can get to the QB.

Damian (Calif)

Tim, what do you think the chances are on resigning laurent robinson? Also I played Oline at a 1a college doug free is not a left tackle and made his money on one hustle play 2 years ago, with smith at left tackle next year do you even think free can be good enough at right tackle? I dont think he will ever be worth the money.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:05 PM)

Laurent Robinson has said several times he wants to be a Cowboy. The Cowboys obviously like him. It's a matter of making the money work, and that might be tough after the numbers he put up this season. I'm higher on Free than you are. I just think he had a bad year. He was good for the previous season and a half at both tackle spots.

The Dude (Irving, TX)

It's a good thing you aren't a GM. Other then Jerry, no GM besides if you were one would keep tony romo after 7 seasons of mediocrity. Rookie qbs over the years have performed very well in the playoffs on worse teams then the Cowboys.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:06 PM)

Really? I'd bet at least 20 GMs would try to sign Romo if the Cowboys cut him.

joe (auburn,ca)

DO you think the cowboys should go def. in the first round or land a stud interior offensive linemen like decastro from stanford?

Tim MacMahon
  (2:07 PM)

DeCastro is the one O-lineman I think would make the Cowboys think very hard about going that route in the first round. Put him next to Smith and you've got a hell of a tandem for the next 10-12 years.

Jerrah (Valley Ranch)

What about moving Newman to safety?

Tim MacMahon
  (2:07 PM)

He'd lead the league in missed tackles.

Cy (Seattle, WA)

What is the deal with Free and Costa? Too many false starts and bad snaps. What is the plan for them for next year?

Tim MacMahon
  (2:08 PM)

Free will probably flip sides with Tyron Smith. They need to replace Costa. There is no way he should go into training camp as the starter.

Quincy (Shreveport)

Can you see them moving down in the draft to accumulate more picks, ala Jimmy Johnson?

Tim MacMahon
  (2:09 PM)

That's always a possibility with trader Jerry. But it's not always a good idea. Look at the 2009 draft, when they did a bunch of trading down and didn't get a single starter out of their 12 picks.

Tim MacMahon
  (2:10 PM)

Gotta go, folks. Appreciate all the questions. If I didn't touch on your topic, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @espn_macmahon