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.