Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The Beast is fortunate to have the most prolific group of pen pals in the NFL Blog Network. As I scrolled through hundreds of encouraging letters Tuesday morning, I tried to identify the ones that would appeal to a broad audience. Keep up the great work.
And one personal sidenote: The Mailbag is not the best place to contact me if we attended high school together or lived on the first floor of Penland South at Baylor. My personal e-mail at ESPN.com is available for a nominal fee. Now, let's take some questions:
Joel from San Diego, you have the first word: Matty boy, love the blog. Not even a fan of anyone in the NFC East, but I keep coming back for more. Just a couple of quick questions regarding T.O. You see, I'm but a humble "regular" guy, not a powerful media-type like yourself. You insist that they release him. Fine. Who exactly will you replace him with that can A.) Consistently draw double-teams that open running lanes and B.) Will give you at least 10 touchdowns in a bad season? Patrick Crayton is inconsistent, Roy Williams has yet to prove himself and Witten would see even more attention without T.O. in the lineup.
I'm not saying that he will be around for another five years; his window is about shut, but the window for this team isn't going to be open for much longer either. It's so simple for the Cowboys and I don't understand why no one can see it. You pointed out in your blog: they will have a three-headed monster in the backfield. When they could run the football, things went well for them. When they couldn't, things went badly. It's simple math. Run the ball, throw it deep. Everyone wins. Why are the complicating things?
Mosley: Joel, I gave you a lot of latitude because you were so eloquent during those first two sentences. In the T.O. column that you referenced, I agreed that he's a productive player. But in my mind, that doesn't make up for the fact that he's the most divisive player in the game. If you had a hammer for a head coach, maybe you could manage the situation. Obviously, the Cowboys don't have that in Wade Phillips. If you release T.O., you'll have to spend the offseason getting Williams and Miles Austin on the same page. You have Crayton and Sam Hurd waiting in the wings. And then you take advantage of what appears to be a nice crop of receivers in the draft. And the running-based offense may seem like a no-brainer to you, but we'll see how simple it is for Jason Garrett. Boy Wonder has misplaced his cape -- and he had better find it in a hurry.
Frank from Philly sent this via fax: The receiver position is one of the keys for the Eagles in the 2009 draft, but the Eagles are notorious for trading out of the first round and the tackle position is much more important. Could you highlight a mid to late-round guy that could be a steal? Also what are the chances for running back LeSean McCoy to end up in Philly?
Mosley: Frank, the Eagles might stay at No. 21 and pick if they can get a legitimate starter at offensive tackle. But if they can slide down and still land someone like Ole Miss' Michael Oher, it wouldn't surprise me. My cousin Todd McShay has Baylor's Jason Smith going at No. 2 overall in his latest mock draft. I know for a fact that the Eagles covet the guy, but they won't go that high.
Oh, you wanted me to answer your question? I think McCoy's a late first-round, early second-round guy. It would surprise me if the Eagles took him. He does have good speed and hands, but there are questions about his power. I don't think wide receiver is that much of an issue, but I went deep into the Beast film room to find you a mid- to late-round guy that could make an impact. His name is Jason Chery and they call him the "Hatian Sensation" since he moved to South Florida from Haiti when he was 9. Chery is 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and I'm told he'll run a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. He never missed a game at Louisiana-Lafayette and he had five touchdowns on seven touches in the first half of a win over North Texas. He didn't get invited to the combine this week, but a couple of teams are already salivating over him because he's also a superb special-teams player.
Dan is worried about my negativity: Matt, I have no idea when in the past few years you have turned so bitter toward the Cowboys. Several years ago you were unbiased and would provide both positive and negative articles and seemed to have the pulse of the team. Over the past couple years or so, I have watched your articles both on ESPN.com and in the Dallas Morning News become more and more negative and very biased. You might want to explain to some of us what happened -- as we used to love reading what you wrote.
Mosley: Dan, it's a fair question. Maybe I'm becoming too cynical as I enter my twilight years (35), but it just seems like Jerry Jones has left himself wide open. When you have a team that takes on such an air of entitlement, I'm not sure how to go around writing complimentary stories. That said, I could certainly afford to be more balanced. There are some really good stories at Valley Ranch that get overlooked because of our desire to chart every Pacman, T.O. and Tony angle that breaks out. Believe it or not, I have a ton of people who accuse me of being too pro-Cowboy and others like you who think I'm too tough on them. And I certainly don't have any bias for or against the team. The Cowboys players I grew up rooting for (Drew, Roger, Danny, Randy and Too Tall) have all left the building. But I totally hear what you're saying, Dan, and I appreciate the note.
Fairfax weighs in with: Hey Matt, been recently addicted to reading your writings lately and I have a question for you about the Redskins. Do you see the Redskins trading down and taking a late first round and pick up a second round with somebody like the Jets or another quarterback-hungry team if one of the two top draft quarterbacks are there? And also, do you think Vinny Cerrato will just go for the best player available or needed positions like OL, DL and OLB? (would love to start seeing the Bill Parcells drafting process here in DC)
Mosley: If the Redskins feel like they can draft an elite pass-rusher at No. 13, I think they'll stay right there. If not, I think trading down would be a strong possibility. This team has obvious needs on the offensive and defensive lines. Last year, Cerrato & Co. may have gotten a little cute going after two wide receivers and a tight end in the second round. Those moves might temporarily energize the fan base but they don't always pan out. Would you rather have some talented young linemen or Malcolm Kelly, Fred Davis and Devin Thomas? Well, it's too early to rule those guys out, but the early returns have been awful. Last year's draft was all about building around quarterback Jason Campbell. The Redskins don't have a lot of picks this year, so they n
eed to choose wisely. They made some mystery-meat picks last year, although give them credit for hitting on Chris Horton in the seventh round. And you better not throw a draft pick at a punter unless he's the real deal.