Mailbag: Dallas Cowboys Questions and Answers

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Do you actually believe Tony Romo can take the Cowboys to a Super Bowl…or are the Cowboys just wasting their time? – Eric K

That’s the $108M question isn’t it? What we know is this: Tony Romo always gives the Cowboys a chance. We have seen him single-handedly win and lose games for the Cowboys. Don’t pay so much attention to his record in elimination games. The QB does not operate in a vacuum and many times was not the cause for those losses (although last season’s loss he deserves 90% of it). What those losses taught us is Tony Romo is simply not good enough to carry the team every single week and shouldn’t be asked to do so. We must admit the team around him needs to improve for the Cowboys to improve.

December 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) throws the ball as Washington Redskins defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (99) chases in the third quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 28-18. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is teams are so evenly matched in today’s NFL no one should count themselves out (OK, Jacksonville should count themselves out, but you get my point). Even with a mistake-prone QB and a meddling owner/GM, the Cowboys have as good of a chance as anyone for a post-season run. In the NFL the best team doesn’t always win. The Giants, the Packers, and the Ravens proved that quite recently. You just need a chance and Romo gives them a chance.

What is your favorite and least favorite pick in the draft?  - Mathew

My least favorite was the trade back in the first round but I guess that’s not what you’re asking…

My favorite pick was B.W. Webb the CB from William and Mary. Great value and potential with this pick. He is a spectacular zone cornerback and should excel primarily over the slot receiver.  I love CB’s who keep their eyes on the QB because that often translates into interceptions. Many people automatically dismiss small school players but Webb is different. He is physically and mentally superior to most of the CB’s drafted before him so he has a real shot at being something special. The best news is Orlando Scandrick playing ahead of him this season will allow Webb a year to develop so he will have limited pressure (barring injuries) to contribute right away.

May 10, 2013; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar (89) and linebacker Brandon Magee (46) participate in drills during the rookie minicamp at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters in Irving, TX. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

I hate to say it but my least favorite pick is TE Gavin Escobar from San Diego State. I think Gavin will be a good pro but I consider the pick a luxury pick since he plays a position of strength rather than a position of weakness for the Cowboys. Every year the Cowboys attempt to use a 2 TE offense and every year they fail. 2nd rounders have been wasted on Marty B, and Anthony Fasano in years past, why should this year be any different?

The Cowboys needed starters – primarily the O-line and Safety positions. They could have done both in the first two rounds.

I think Gavin will be a good red-zone target and a better general weapon than Bennett ever was. But he won’t be useful to the Cowboys in 2013 unless he proves to be a decent blocker.  If he can block he can stay on the field. Blocking will assist the right tackle (Free or Parnell) in chip blocking pass rushers and it will aid the run game by sealing the edge and/or cutback lane for DeMarco Murray.

Do you feel the Cowboys waited too long to address the safety position in the draft? – Rich A

Yes I do! I will never understand why the Cowboys traded back when a ballhawking safety like Eric Reid was sitting there available. Instead…well, you know what happened.

The Cowboys entered the offseason with a multitude of question marks surrounding the safety position group. The projected starting SS is Barry Church. He is entering his 4th season in the NFL but he is returning from a season-ending Achilles injury and has very limited game experience. The projected starting FS is Matt Johnson who was last year’s 4th round pick from Eastern Washington. Johnson spent virtually the entire season injured and has NO game experience.

Dec 31, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; LSU Tigers safety Craig Loston (6) celebrates with safety Eric Reid (1) after a fumble recovery in the first half against the Clemson Tigers during the Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys may have high hopes for these two but there is little tangible evidence to support such optimism. The only free agent move the Cowboys made was to bring in veteran Will Allen who is more of a special teamer than a reasonable solution at safety. It seemed entering the draft the Cowboys would need to spend a first or second round pick on a polished safety to help “hedge their bets” at safety.

The Cowboys waited until the 3rd round (which I don’t have a problem with as long as the player is ready to contribute) and picked JJ Wilcox from Georgia Southern (which I do have a problem with). Wilcox is an intriguing player who I liked entering the draft – I just didn’t like him for this team under these conditions. This isn’t a situation where he has ample time to develop behind proven NFL starters (like BW Webb at CB). Wilcox has only played safety 1 year in college! He is a high risk/high reward player at a position already occupied by high risk/high reward players.

I’m hoping like everyone else that Matt Johnson is the solution at FS, Church is the SS, and Wilcox develops into a star of the future – But that’s a whole lot of fortune falling our way. When’s the last time the Cowboys have taken this many risks and had it all work out for them? Exactly.

Can Jason Hatcher be the Warren Sapp (3-technique defensive tackle) of the Cowboys this season?  – answer on next page…

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