We normally have our mailbags on Mondays. But some of you are interested in what the Cowboys just traded for plus some other things.
We have some leftover notes from the people, and the first one is a comment from John in Charlotte.
Q: Hey Calvin, this trade for Barron is purely to create some depth on the OL. He won't sniff the starting lineup without someone getting hurt. Doug Free is a tremendous athlete. Find me another offensive lineman who ran 30 yards downfield to make the final block on Felix Jones’ 49-yard TD run in week 17. That was an amazing display of talent for a 300-plus pound man, and don't forget he was ahead of Jones at the time of the block. Larry Allen is the only other linemen I've seen do that, and he did it on a Monday night game early in his career at New Orleans. Doug Free will start easily and have a great year barring injury. Let's hope that’s the case as I've read very little on this Barron guy to instill any confidence. -- John Byrne (Charlotte, N.C.)
A: John, I think Alex Barron will be good for Doug Free. Now, Barron has underachieved big-time in St. Louis. It's almost as if the Cowboys are trading for a bad tackle in place of a bad linebacker. But that's not the case. Both guys need new places to play, especially Carpenter, who never fit in here on the field. As for Barron, he has at least started over 70 games, so he should challenge Free for the starting gig at left tackle. If it doesn't work out, you have Barron as the swing tackle and Robert Brewster as the other tackle on the active roster.
Q: Hey Mr. Watkins, I just read your piece on the Cowboys’ preseason schedule and was curious as to why they play five preseason games. -- JT Carter (Gainesville, Texas)
A: The Cowboys have five preseason games because they're playing in the Hall of Fame game, which is the opening of the preseason schedule. The Cowboys can open up training camp earlier than most teams because they're playing in this game. Wade Phillips said this is a positive thing because it gives the organization a chance to give more reps to some of those young players, especially those 2009 draft picks. Also, the Cowboys will have training camp in two different cities, San Antonio and Oxnard, Calif. Those dates have not been fully determined.
Q: What is the plan for a field goal kicker? I heard a rumor that Buehler was going to take on that duty also. Do you think that is a good idea? -- Sam (Charlotte, N.C.)
A: I don't know if it's a rumor, Sam, but David Buehler is the favorite to win the field goal job. Now, the team did bring in Connor Hughesto challenge Buehler for the job during training camp, however, kicking coach Chris Boniol was hired to help Buehler.
The problem with Buehler is that, as the kickoff specialist, he didn't work on his field goal-kicking duties last season. Now he has to get his mechanics down to make sure the Cowboys can depend on him as the field goal kicker. He has the leg, but the ability to become consistent is the issue for him.
Calvin Watkins covers the Dallas Cowboys and answers your questions and comments weekly. You can send questions and comments to his mailbag.