It's been too long. Let's get to it.
Todd, yesterday someone suggested to JJ Taylor that the boys cut Felix Jones and he said that Dallas will be looking at running backs in the offseason... do you think they'll look at experienced players or the draft?
They don't have to cut Felix. He will be a free agent after this season. I cannot see a way in which he returns in 2013. He's played hard. He's played hurt. But he's not produced. I would not waste a high pick on a runner. I think you can find guys later in the draft to do the job well enough.
what's going on with miles austin? now he's expected to start next week? i was shocked to see him ruled OUT so quickly last week. there is not a lot of info out there on his injury either. thoughts?
He's on the practice field today. He wasn't ruled out of the Philly game, so it's not that surprising he's going to play. It's a combination of things a hip flexor deal and low back strain from a hit he took. I think he'll be good to go against the Eagles.
The slow starts...this is all coaching/being prepared is it not? How do Jason/Jerry skate around the poor starts?
It's a great question. I don't know. They put it on execution. Look, I think Jason has this team playing hard, but the starts do fall on him. I wouldn't say they're not ready emotionally or from a lack of fire from the coach. I don't have a good answer for you on how to remedy the situation. If I did then I'd make Jerry pay me a lot of money.
Do Mackzency and Livings have the type of contract that the cowboys can cut without big cap hits? i think they need to upgrade both guard spots via draft or free agency next year
They didn't pay these guys big money, so I'm not sure what the expectations were. If you honestly assess Bernadeau for the entire season, he's been good enough. He started poorly but he has been better the last month-plus and that includes two games at a position he never played in the regular season before. Livings has struggled here lately but again he was an average player to begin with. He was not a Pro Bowl-type. Neither player will be gone in 2013. I'd rather see them draft more competent linemen and have them become players down in a year or two.
This guy doesnt get much blame, but Jay Ratliff has missed alot of games this year and he's one of the leaders and highest paid guys on the team. should he get some blame?
Yes, he should get some blame, injury or no injury. When he's been on the field he's not gotten it done enough. Or at least not at the level of his contract. He does not have a sack, You're looking at the fifth straight year when his sack total has decreased.
Will beasley and Harris take snaps away from olgetree?
They should. There's no updside to playing Ogletree, who is a free agent after the season and you know won't be back. See what Beasley and Harris can do, especially Harris. There could be something there as a No. 3 receiver.
Will Lissermore, Ratliff, Murray, Tyron, and Miles be back this week?
I would say yes to everybody as of right now. Ratliff and Murray are the biggest questions as of today.
Why hasn't Sean Payton Signed his contract with the Saints? do you think he's weighing his options?
There's no need for him to sign now. You only have a few times in your life where you have leverage. Payton has it and should use it. That being said, I just can't see him leaving New Orleans.
It seems like Parnell looked better vs Skins with the increased reps. Any chance he can challenge Free for the RT job the rest of the season with Smith coming back?
Perhaps, but Free played very well, IMO, against Washington. If they get that Doug Free for the rest of the year, I think they would be pleased. Parnell was OK and at least they know he can fill in and not get anybody killed.
Do you think that Spencer is the cowboys most complete linebacker with his ability to cover, shed blocks, tackle and pass rush?
Absolutely. He's been the best defender from Week 1 to now. He's playing really wel and should get some Pro Bowl consideration because the guys he goes against all the time know how hard he is to block. Not saying he will make the Pro Bowl, but he's been their most complete linebacker.
When will we get to see some of these back up players? Matt Johnson, Danny Coal, Kevin Koloaski, Costa, these guys are the future!
Johnson and Coale are on injured reserve although technically Johnson could return for a possible playoff game. Kowalski has been active the last two games. Costa is still hurt. I'd like to see Kowalski play if Cook can't come back, but if these guys are the future, then this is not a very bright future. To me, you hope these guys can be role players, not starters.
When it all comes together for him, Who will Dez be unstoppable?
No. All receivers are stoppable. Defenses can take a guy away if they want to. He's talented and has done a nice job here lately, but there's still a lot of room to grow. He's far from a finished product.
Is mike jenkins quick enough to play in the slot?
We're about to find out. I'm not sure. It's not that he's not quick but he's never really played in there before and there's a lot going on. Not having DeSean Jackson for Philly this week will help him. I like Jenkins as a player but think he approaches his contract year with the injury all wrong.
Why are The Cowboys such a backwards Franchise when it comes signing players? they give a deal to a unproven safety with a achilles injury, big contracts to one back up guard and another average guard. but at the same time they wont pay player thats been good for them in the past like Spencer, Jenkins, Bowen, laurent
Well, they didn't really give big contracts to any of the guys you mentioned. Bernadeau got $4.75 mil guaranteed. Livings for $6.2 million. Church got $3 mil (off the top of my head). Before this year, I don't think Spencer earned a long-term deal. Neither did Jenkins. I would've kept Bowen more than Hatcher and Spears, but the Redskins gave him a too big of a deal. And they couldn't match the Robinson offer he got from Jacksonville. They got hurt more by the cap rules than the actually money because they couldn't sign Robinson to a contract before he hit the market.
How much is the 2009 draft killing the cowboys depth?
Yes, but not just that draft. How about 2007 (two players left), '08 (three guys left but only one after this year) and '10 (three guys left). Drafting has been bad.
do you think kyle orton will get the start if romo dont get nothing going in the 1st half of game...
Simple answer here: No
Todd, Thanks for the piece on Jerry fooling himself. Is Garrett safe not matter what? Even if they only win one more game (losses to Cinc, Pitt, NO, Wash)?
Here's what I think - not what I know because I don't know anything about this: the only way Garrett is not back is if Jerry is guaranteed he has a deal with Payton. What other coach would really make a difference here? Mike Holmgren? Please.
Todd, Building off your Jerry piece. Is there anything that will make him confront his own failings and actually change the way he runs this team?
I wish I could give you a well thought out answer and help you, but no, I just don't believe there is anything. He changed his ways for Parcells and didn't win a playoff game that way either. In his mind, he tried it and it didn't work.
What does this armstrong dude bring that they werent getting from holmes
Speed. Experience. Play making ability.
The Cowboys have been picked apart by rookies Russell Wilson and Brandon Weeden. And they even let Nick Foles have some moments when he came in for an injured Vick. Why is Rob Ryan scared to blitz rookie quarterbacks?
Picked apart by Wilson and Weeden? Wilson had 151 yards passing and Weeden had 210. If you blitz, you leave holes open. His thought process is to make the rookie beat them by having to make play after play after play. He blitzed RG3 seven times and gave up three touchdowns.
As you see it today what are the chances Dallas Cowboys 2013 OTA's are presided over by Jason Garret?
Hi Todd, your piece on Jerry made me think the about Bradie James' comments a few weeks ago that the owner being out in the media all the time is one of the problems with the Cowboys. Do you agree?
I cannot disagree more with James' comments. How does what Jerry says affect the on-field play? I don't think Jerry is writing checks with his mouth that the players can't cash. He had fun with the Giants this offseason, but that was relatively harmless. I think Jerry's comments hurt the coach more than the players.
Hi Todd, If only one opinion counts, when does Tony Romo stop getting the benefit of the doubt from Jerry?
Who would you like to play quarterback? Romo has not been as good as he has been in the past, but he is more part of the solution than a problem. Sorry.
5 interceptions? Carr, Clairborne, Jenkins, Scandrick, Sensabaugh and Rob Ryan's schemes have 5 just interceptions?
Pretty bad, isn't it? Sean Lee hasn't played in weeks and he's still tied for the team lead in picks.
Better defensive coordinator - Rob Ryan or Wade Phillips?
Wade Phillips without question. Wade has a track record of success. Ryan doesn't.
Stephen McGee was so bad he isn't even in the league. When are the Cowboys going to care about developing young QBs - see San Francisco, Jim Harbaugh.
Not sure how those two comments add up. They tried to develop a QB in McGee and it didn't work. They need to look early in the draft for a QB but there will be so many other needs that I don't know if they go there.
With Murray and Austin coming back and all of the Cowboys key skill players on the field heading into December, why can't the Cowboys make the playoffs? it's not like any of the teams they're battling are that great.
Have you seen the first 11 games? Murray's return doesn't guarantee a better running game. It wasn't great with him before he got hurt.
Do u see POPPINGA as a dominate player b/c the way he talks sounds like a guy whos ready to dominate any givin day to play. Also what is your analysis on SIMS, PEPRAH, so far
I don't see Poppinga as a dominant player because he's never been a dominant player. Can he help a little bit? Sure. Same with Sims and Peprah. They're good signings for guys off the street but they're not guys you look to as future starters.
What did you make of Kelly Ripa's co host saying Romo Witten and Ware are too nice, no killer instinct in them?
I must've missed Strahan in the Cowboys locker room lately. What he says means nothing. He's entitled to his opinion but it doesn't mean he's right. Is Eli a tough guy on his teammates? I don't know but doesn't look like it to me.
Following up on your Romo's not the problem answer - do you truly believe Romo can win or Super Bowl or will the Cowboys need to make a decision like the one Jim Harbaugh made in SF to find and go with someone else?
Yes, I believe they can compete for a SB with Romo as the quarterback. He's got the ability. He needs better players around him, better schemes to make things easier too.
Why doesn't DeMarcus Ware rush the QB on every pass play? It seems ridiculous to have schemes that require him to drop into coverage.
I hear you but you do have to mix things up a little bit. What bugs me more is when Ware goes off the field. Seems to happen more than when he drops into coverage. I wonder if he has something hurt and just isn't telling anybody publicly.
Hi Todd, Earlier you said Garrett's job is safe. Is Ryan's job safe? Does Jerry really think he can sell fans on this team coming back in its entirety next year?
I don't know how Jerry sells this team going forward. He can sell anything but this seems to be the first time where people are turned off. Local TV ratings are down, attendance has been OK but there are a lot of visiting fans at the games. I think Garrett's job is safe but the Payton deal cannot be dismissed. As for Ryan, I don't think he's 100 percent safe, no.
Todd, thanks for your time, but aren't we all fooling ourselves if we expect things to change under Jerry Jones? Isn't 16 years of mediocrity a true indicator? He is the problem.
You're right. Coaches change. Players change. Things stay the same.
Coale, Johnson, McSurdy - all injured. What are your early thoughts on how we'll look at the 2012 draft?
It's not looking good. Before they got hurt I didn't see much from Coale or McSurdy. I can't make any judgment on Johnson because he did so little. You have to think the coaches believe he has a bright future because of how they kept him around on the active roster until recently.
Does Martellus Bennett's semi-success in NY reflect poorly on how Jason Garrett and Tony Romo used him, motivated him, etc? Or is it all on Bennett?
Bennett has tailed off as the season has gone on. I've heard there's some people tiring of him. But it's on the coaches and Bennett. He didn't feel like he was used properly, but when he had chances he did not take advantage of them. It was a bad fit in terms of personality and attitude and Bennett is better off elsewhere. Cowboys are better off without him.
Todd, If the Sean Payton dream is going to come true, what signs would you be watching for beyond him using the leverage you mentioned and dragging things out with the Saints?
The longer it drags out the better it is for the Cowboys. But let's not act like the Cowboys will be the only team in on this possibly. A lot of teams will come after him, I'd suppose. The fact that his kids live here would be the biggest edge the Cowboys have.
Now that we can consider this season a bust just like 2010 and 2011, are the Cowboys in a rebuilding mode? Three down seasons in a row. Is it time for a new core group? The majority of the Parcells group is gone. Is Garrett responsible for the players he has now?
He's had two drafts. You're still talking a lot about the Phillips' tenure where this thing got sideways in many respects, especially in the draft. Not that Parcells didn't miss on guys too. He did. But Phillips just kind of let things go and it hurt the stability that was set up in the draft process. Garrett has brought that back, in my eyes. Whast's funny is that most people had the Cowboys anywhere from 8-8 to 10-6 with their predictions. It's not like they were viewed as Super Bowl favorites.
Todd, If Garrett was fired, do you think he'd get another head coaching shot or do you think there are enough questions (game mgmt, etc) that he'd have to go back to being a coordinator? If you don't think he'd get another job, isn't that an argument that he's not up to the task in Dallas?
Eventually he would get another chance. Right away? I doubt it, but he would get a coordinator gig.
Is there any chance the Eagles pull the upset this week?
Absolutely. Why couldn't they?
todd, do u agree that if Jerry and his draft people put 110% of their time to scouting all these draftable players that they can be very successful next year? you know build depth and replace guys that are old and not cutting it anymore.
The problem isn't the draft people putting the time in. They do. The problem is the structure of the organization. Jerry is the GM but he doesn't grind like other GMs do. He relies on others to give him the info, they come to a consensus (most of the time) and they make the pick. That's how it works here. Jerry does not just blindly pick guys on his own.
Does it really matter if coaches don't rip players in the media? What coaches actually do? With your access to the Cowboys do you think the players respect JG's authority? I do.
I think the bulk of the team respects him. There are going to be a few who will look at him sideways because of things that have gone on. It's not about ripping players in the media. It's about being honest with your assessments. If a player stinks, say so. If the player doesn't like it, so what?
Thanks for all of the questions. Spirited session and I'm sure it will be that way the rest of the year if the losses pile up. I'll be back next week. Thanks again. Courage.