We’re smack dab in the middle of the slowest few weeks of the NFL year, which seems like a good time to bust out a Twitter mini-mailbag. I always try to give 140-character-or-less answers to questions received (@espn_macmahon), but we’ll go a little longer here.
How do you see the defense ranking this year? Top 10? 5? -- @wChadMiller
I wouldn’t wager on top five. If they aren’t top 10 with this new crop of corners, that will be a major disappointment. The Cowboys finished 14th in total defense (343.2 yards per game) and 16th in scoring defense (21.7 points per game) last season.
I'll take a great pass rush over great DBs any day. Do you think Dallas did enough to improve pass rush? Will anyone besides DWare be able to rush the passer with any consistency? -- @MJThrill
The question is, how much will improved cornerback play help the pass rush? You can say the Cowboys didn’t do much to immediately address the pass rush, as I don’t anticipate third-round DE Tyrone Crawford and fourth-round OLB Kyle Wilber playing significant roles as rookies. But the Cowboys hope the major investments made in corners Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne pay off for the pass rush. It stands to reason that if the coverage makes quarterbacks hold the ball a bit longer, one-step-slow Anthony Spencer will be on time a lot more often. It’s also worth pointing out that, as much as we rip the pass rush around these parts, the Cowboys tied for seventh in the NFL with 42 sacks. The pass rush will seem a lot better if the secondary makes more plays when pressured quarterbacks do get rid of the ball.
What have you been able to learn about the personalities of the rookies so far? How are they fitting in to the locker room? -- @Matthew97527020
Based on the little bit of exposure I’ve had to this rookie class, it seems like a humble group that grasps the symbolism of having to earn the stars on their helmets. Claiborne has come across as confident but not cocky -- and he wants to learn from the vets, particularly Carr.
Will Dallas try to pick up Mike Williams? What would it hurt to try? -- @Sooners1866
I’d be surprised if the Cowboys pick up any veteran receiver off the scrap heap before camp. They want to let the competition play out among all the candidates for the reserve receiver spots. If none of them grasp the No. 3 WR gig, they can be aggressive on the waiver wire in September, like when they picked up Laurent Robinson last season. As far as Mike Williams goes, it’s not exactly a good sign that his college coach Pete Carroll cuts him just before camp opens. Wonder what he weighs these days?
Why have the Cowboys, once again, decided to not aggressively address a position of serious need? #Safety -- @MrCowboy74
They’ve got to pick and choose their priorities. They chose cornerback and guard. (We’ll see whether they’ve really upgraded at guard. Count me among the skeptical at camp.) Barry Church might be better than the safeties the Cowboys added this offseason, but they brought in a potential stopgap solution in Brodney Pool and a long-term candidate in fourth-round pick Matt Johnson. They might not have solved the problem, but they didn’t just ignore it, either.
Can we stop the T.O. to Dallas talk? -- @Cowboy1brian
Hey, it is the slowest time of the NFL year. Would Jerry Jones even consider infuriating his son/right-hand man Stephen Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and franchise quarterback Tony Romo by inviting Terrell Owens to return to a locker room he torched four years ago? Well, I’ll leave you with a short list of things more likely to happen than T.O.’s return to Valley Ranch.
- 1.Ryan Leaf breaks out of prison and is re-signed to compete with Romo for the starting job.
2.Santa Claus is signed to start at center.
3.Dave Campo is inducted into the Ring of Honor.
4.The Cowboys’ home games are moved to the Cotton Bowl.
5.Jerry keeps a season-long vow of silence.