Questions & Concerns: Miles Austin, Red Zone, Safety, O-Line

David Moore, Cowboys beat writer for The Dallas Morning News, answered some questions about the team Thursday during a live chat which you can review in it’s entirety here.

I picked out some questions that I found very interesting and wanted to share on LSS.

Here’s my two cents: FS position doesn’t impact games unless you have a total stud. Having a mediocre one doesn’t hurt you as long as you have 3 good corners, and we do. I think the bigger issue on the Cowboys D, is the lack of defensive line depth if Ratliff, Ware, or Spencer get hurt. 1) do you agree this is a bigger issue 2) are there any FAs we may add for depth (Greg Ellis?)

I see your two cents and raise it two more. The Cowboys were a top defense last season while getting minimal impact from the free safety position. Would they have been a dominant defense if the free safety position had produced some turnovers? The Cowboys need to receive some benefit from all of the pressure they put on the quarterback beyond sacks. They need to come up with more turnovers to take the next step as a defense. The safety position is the logical place for that to come. That being said, you’re right. The Cowboys are in good shape with their three corners. But I’d argue their depth in the front seven is better than you think.

Do you think the Cowboys will pick up the safety O.J Atogwe after June 1st? 

If Alan Ball and Michael Hamlin don’t look good in the OTAs and mini-camp, the Cowboys will likely give Atogwe a more serious look. The Cowboys like him but feel the price to land him right now would be a bit high. But don’t rule it out.

Surely the Cowboys can’t be comfortable with our current kicking situation. Do you see them bringing someone with experience in during training camp? Who is out there available? 

No one will be brought in to start camp. The Cowboys are committed to seeing if David Buehler can get the job done. If camp wears on and it’s obvious that won’t happen, then I think you’ll see them bring someone in. But not before.

Shouldn’t we be concerned about the short yardage running game? It was terrible at times last year and Flo was arguably our best run blocker. Free is not know for his power, Gurode wasn’t getting leverage, and Garrett’s running toss sweeps with Barber to avoid powering up the middle. Not good.

That has been a point of emphasis for the Cowboys in the off-season. They know they must get better in the red zone. 

Our final problem seems to be one of attitude, at least for key playoff games. We have to prepare in a superior way to our competition. In other words, our game prep sucks in crunch time, we are out-coached to begin with and out coached at half time… across the board, are we doomed to make the playoffs and not close the deal!

What you describe is not a problem of attitude, it’s a coaching problem. I don’t share your pessimism about getting out-coached all of the time. Andy Reid and his staff certainly didn’t out-coach the Cowboys last season. Coaching is important, but the key ingredient is talent and performing under pressure. The Cowboys took a step forward in that last season. It’s time for them to take another step this season.

Is Jerry concerned that Miles will have a sophomore slump to his breakout year or something? Why aren’ t they paying him? Seems like he’s going to command Fitzgerald type money if he does it again this season.

He’s not concerned with a sophomore slump, but if you’re paying big money, don’t you want more than one year of outstanding production before you commit to a long term deal? That’s what makes these negotiations so difficult.

What do you think Hudson Houck can do with the crop of linemen he has now? Do you think he can turn Barron, Young, etc. into the level of player that he managed to turn Davis into? 

Jerry Jones will tell you he can. Jones mentioned again yesterday that he considers Houck one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, and pointed out that he is the highest paid.

What in your opinion do the Boys need to do to create more turnovers on defense? Whoever starts out of Ball or Hamlin, I just don’t see neither of them being “ball hawks” at the safety position.

This has been a point of emphasis for the last two seasons and virtually no progress has been made. It’s getting to the stage where you have to say this group doesn’t have the personnel necessary to create turnovers. Unless Ball, Hamlin or rookie Akwasi Owusu-Ansah comes through to help, the only way to produce more turnovers would be to change personnel. But ask yourself this: the Cowboys are a very good defense against the run and the pass. Do they risk upsetting that balance and leaving themselves vulnerable by putting too much of an emphasis on turnovers. This may just be their defensive identity.

Even if Felix starts over Barber and Barber goes back to the “closer” role, does Choice get more carries/touches this yr or about the same as last yr?

About the same as last year. I don’t see how he can carve out many more in this offense unless someone is hurt.

Comments
  1. irvin ross jr

    i really think dallas should pay austin use choice felix and barber like the giants did there big rushing attack but if you ask me the offensive play calling sucks garrett should have been fired for that dumb red zone offense he did last year inside the 15 pound barber people dont give up on him barber has heart he may not be fast but dude a beast

  2. Raina

    I wish Jerry would go ahead and give Miles his $$.

  3. Chris Knight

    Miles Austion should get his MONEY an CONTRACT EXTENSION NOW !!! Heis the Cowboys # 1 WR an Dalls will be Awesome with Miles on one side an Bryant on the other , an Witen in the line up an the 3 headed monster in the back field i want to see Dallas RBs used like the NY Giants RBs OUR Offensive Cord. NEEDS TO GET HIS HEAD AN PLAYS MORE IN THE GAME an use the RBs we have an thats ALL OF THEM T. Choice Punished the Steelers defense a couple yrs ago when Jones an Barber was hurt, QUIT making him ride the bench please!!! ( Didnt jerry jones pay ROMO an give him like a 5yr Extension before his lAST yr of his contract run out right?????????/ NOW DO THE RIGHT THING jERRY SIGN MILES AUSTIN NOW !!! You lose him to someone else it will BE the Giants , Eagles, Redskins where it will come back to bite them ) Cowboys # 1 an i have been a FAN for 41yrs an 4 Life !! Chris Knight

  4. Chris Knight

    SIGN MILES AUSTIN NOW , JERRY DONT LET HIM SLIP AWAY !! YOU THINK COWBOYS FANS DONT LIKE NOT WINNING THE SUPERBOWL , YOU HAVENT SCENE ANYTHING IF YOU LET YOUR # 1 WR GO BECAUSE YOU WANT PAY HIM WHAT HE IS DESERVED . Jerry will give up Several draft pics for a never has been or will be Roy Williams , BUT he want give Miles Austin at least a 5 Yr Extension an more money , he got ROMO out of some tight spots alot last yr what 3rd an 15 or more an Miles Austin gets hime the 15 yeard 1st down an several more yards of a TD !! Also he needs to use WR Ogletree more often an Tashard Choice ALSO should have tried HARDER to sign Darren Shaper from the Saints alot harder. LASTLY Dallas NEEDS to FIRE there Offensive Cord. id this year he dont pick up the pace with his calls. GO !!! COWBOYS !!! SIGN MILES AUSTIN AND USE OLGATREE Wr AN Tashard Choice RB MORE MORE MORE MORE OFTEN LETS WIN NOW COWBOYS !!

  5. Chris Knight

    I KNOW YOU ALL ARE TIRED OF MY MESSAGES BUT HERES MY LAST ONE FOR AWHILE . ( Someone tell Jerry to either let out Coach make the calls an coach like he was hired to do OR Fire Wade an hire another Coach BUT jerry jones NEEDS to quit controling his coach an team like he does OR he will become another AL DAVIS of the Raiders see where they are now there in RAIDERS SUCKS BADLY TOWN !! ) Dallas would be the BEST with the KC Chiefs GM , Off Cord an Def Cord …..Just watch the KC Chiefs over the next few years ok.