Chat with Calvin Watkins
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, Dallas Cowboys reporter Calvin Watkins stops by to chat about the team.
Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. He joined ESPN in September 2009.
Send your questions now and join Watkins Friday at 2 p.m. CT!
Calvin Watkins (3:01 PM)
What's up guys. I'm ready to chat.
Neil (Richmond, VA)
Do you see Roy and Romo's connection ever becoming consistent and successful?
Calvin Watkins (3:02 PM)
Wow, what a way to start off. I think Roy and Tony have to get it in gear at some point, because teams will begin to slow down Miles Austin. I do believe Roy will get his act together with Romo, when I don't know. But it has to happen this year. If not, then this whole trade is a bust.
floyd (greeneville, tn)
who is your pick for the Cowboys-Eagle game and why
Calvin Watkins (3:04 PM)
Before the week began I would have said the Eagles, but now, after looking at both teams, take the Cowboys 28-23. The players seem so relaxed this week.
Chris Avery (Austin (From Dallas tho fo sho!!!))
Calvin... Are you related to Pat?(Watkins of course)
Calvin Watkins (3:05 PM)
No. Pat is from Tallahassee, Fla., and I'm from NYC. Plus he's a lot younger than me.
Howie (New Jersey)
Hi Calvin, Big fan, I'll be at the game Sunday routing on the boys. My question for you is how does Marion Barber look this week in practice?
Calvin Watkins (3:07 PM)
The 20 minutes the media is allowed to watch practice, doesn't give us a fair assetment of how Maroin is looking.However, the coaches have told us he's getting better, meaning he's almost 100 percent but can tell during games he's struggling to get through some of the holes and he's not as physical. I'd say Barber is about 75 percent and might not be 100 percent until late December.
do you think newman can cover jackson one on one like he did steve smith of carolina
Calvin Watkins (3:09 PM)
I think he can, but I was told today Jenkins and Newman will cover Jenkins and Maclin. Wade Phillips has gained a lot of confidence in Jenkins' ability to cover anybody on the field. Last year, Newman would have taken on the opponents' best wideout, but now with Jenkins improving in zone coverage and man-to-man, the team has no problems using him on anybody.
Can you get a sense of will this game affect the Cowboys players/coaches win or lose? If they win, can they handle the success? If they lose, can the handle the adversity?
Calvin Watkins (3:12 PM)
The thing that's different about this Cowboys' team in comparison to year's past, is attitude. The team remains calm when it wins or losses. This week the media and fans made a big stink about Roy and Romo's lack of connections, but the players didn't think it was a big deal. They understood that the chemistry will happen, eventually, and that to me was a good sign. If the Cowboys lose, not big deal because they realize the NFC east race is open.
Alex (Houston, TX)
What do you see the Cowboys doing with Tashard Choice in the long run? He seems like a complete back and could be a hot commodity for a lot of teams in the league. I would really hate to see him go, but with Jones and Barber it might have to happen.
Calvin Watkins (3:14 PM)
Tashard is the third-down back and he's not going anywhere. I would like to see him get more carries, but right now, Barber and Felix Jones are the main guys in the run game. In the NFL, you need at least two or three RBs because health is not guaranteed.
Hi Calvin, I was wondering why you said "Tony Romo is out of line, the media has nothing to do with the locker room or the problems he is having with Roy Williams"I personally think that comment is more out of line than anything Tony Romo has said.Why is it that even when everything is going right in Dallas, the media finds something wrong and blows it out of proportion.In an article you wrote you said "This in some ways shouldn't be a story. The Cowboys have won three consecutive games and are tied for first place in the NFC East with the team they play on Sunday night, the Philadelphia Eagles."I agree completely with that and the only reason it is a story is because the media is making it one. Romo will not admit that there is a problem there because it is that obvious they are not connecting and admitting it does not fix it, working hard daily and after practice is a step in the right direction.You are correct that Romo cannot control the media, and unfortunately the wrong points have been written about Williams this whole time.Why not look at this comment form Williams: I just love winning, and coming from the place that I came from you would love winning too! enough said, Dallas is winning, Williams is happy, all three phases are working and there are still things that can get better with this team, now that's a real story!!Thank You!!
Calvin Watkins (3:17 PM)
Danny, Check this out. You should never blame the media for your problems. Never. We have nothing to do with the wins and losses. Now, saying that, despite all the success on the field, Williams and Romo not connecting is interesting because the team is having success, ranked No. 2 in offense, with a 5-2 mark. Williams was brought here to be an elite WR and he's not playing like one. That's an issues, regardless of what the record is.
marquel lewis (myrtle beach)
is romo ready for this sunday
Calvin Watkins (3:18 PM)
I will tell you this, I chatted with Romo briefly today in the locker room. We were joking about his baseball cap. Anyway, Romo leaves the locker room and goes into a dark room to watch film. Some players are leaving the locker room to get home, others bible study, but here's Romo doing extra film work.
Henry (Houston TX)
Is the Philly game a must win for the Cowboys? I think it is because the Boys schedule will get tougher in the next few weeks.
Calvin Watkins (3:21 PM)
Henry, I don't believe this is a must win. If the Cowboys lose to the Eagles and then beat the Packers, they're in good shape. Dallas' last two games in November are winnable, Washington and Oakland. Say the Cowboys are 8-3 going into December. Do you like their chances? I do.The games that worry me is that three game stretch in December, at NYC, vs. San Diego and at New Orleans. That might decide the season.
I'm 18 and can't remember the last Cowboys playoff victory. Was it awesome?
Calvin Watkins (3:21 PM)
I'm 41 and I can't remember it.
Looking ahead, do you think the Cowboys have enough team depth, to beat the Saints.
Calvin Watkins (3:23 PM)
That's a tough question. I was telling somebody today that the Saints are so talented. Very athletic, fast, powerful. I saw the Saints practice at training camp and during the preseason and wow, they're hard to beat. I'm not sure how athletic the Cowboys defense is when facing the Saints. If it is a high scoring game, the Saints lose.
joe norman (columbus ga)
If the eagles don't do something great this year how long do you think philly sticks with the Mcnabb/reid team?
Calvin Watkins (3:25 PM)
There you go, Joe, trying to run McNabb out of town. Reid too.McNabb has two years left and should finish out those years with Philly. The Eagles gave him a raise this summer so they showed a commitment to him. As far as Reid goes, he still has some power. He convinved Jeffery Lurie to sign Michael Vick and after cutting Brian Dawkins he's filled in with a trio of guys at safety. Reid and McNabb will be there for a while.
Why the Cowboys did not look at WR Chris Chambers? Do you think he could have help the Cowboys?
Calvin Watkins (3:26 PM)
No. What does he bring to the table? He's not as fast as Miles Austin. Is Chambers better than Patrick Crayton or Roy Williams?The Cowboys like the youth at WR.
Isaac Stubbs (Opelousas, La)
I think Wade has 2 get them 2 the championship game, what u think? And also think Mike Holmgren would b the coach. Your opinion?
Calvin Watkins (3:27 PM)
Never been to Opelousas. Been to new orleans, but not sure where Opelousas is from.I think Wade has to make a deep playoff run to keep his job. Holmgren would be the favorite to get the job, but if the offense continues to produce, then jason Garrett is your man.
Calvin - careful not to insinuate extra film work is greater than a bible study.
Calvin Watkins (3:28 PM)
Yes, you are right Eric.
mike (Keller TX)
Y is every1 all on the eagles bandwagon when they have lost to the highschool raider and almost lost to the middle school redskins?
Calvin Watkins (3:29 PM)
Cowboys lost to the Broncos and went to overtime to beat the chiefs. This is the NFL, anything can happen. As of now, the Eagles have won two straight games and blew out the Giants. It was probably the best game the Eagles have played this season and now they host the Cowboys with first place up for grabs in the NFC East.
Calvin, can you explain Witten's low production this year and do you see him putting up bigger numbers as the year goes on?
Calvin Watkins (3:31 PM)
Witten is blocking more this year, much like he did in 2006. he still leads the team in catches, 37, but his yards per catch, 9.4 worries me. He's not having an impact season, but when the team uses him the right way, passes over the middle and such, he will beat teams.I expect Wit to have a nice game on Sunday.
Calvin, do you think Jenkins is our best corner right now?
Calvin Watkins (3:34 PM)
Yeah, he's playing real well. He had a pick vs. Atlanta and he's knocking passes down every week. The key for Jenkins was him getting an understanding of playing the different coverages the Cowboys use. In college, Jenkins played mainly man-to-man. Well, few teams do that on every play now in the NFL. So Jenkins had to make an adjustment to playing zone and once that started to happen, he gained more playing time and eventually the starting job.
do you think the boys will make the playoffs and win a game in post season?will coboys win in pilly?
Calvin Watkins (3:34 PM)
Cowboys win in Philly. I'm not sure about the playoffs.
You mention if the offense continues to improve that Jason will be the next head coach of the Cowboys. Do Jason have that fire to push players to thier full potential?
Calvin Watkins (3:36 PM)
I think Jason has the respect of the players. He commands their attention and that's hard to do. He's a young coach so he can still relate to some of them, especially the QB. the big question regarding Garrett is who's the defensive coordinator. Dom Capers? Who?
Calvin, how cool is it to be paid to watch football and follow the team around? Also, any idea if the Spurs --- coached by the greatest coach every --- will realize Matt Bonner is not an NBA starting power forward? I can't figure that one out.
Calvin Watkins (3:36 PM)
It's cool to watch sports and write about it. As for the Spurs, I got my own problems watching the Knicks.
CalvinWill Vick trick us out of the wildcat and throw deep instead of running for the three or four yards he has been ?
Calvin Watkins (3:39 PM)
B, Vick hasn't played much this year. Wade Phillips said he's not worried about seeing Vick because the Eagles haven't used him that much.Stephen McGee was the QB in the Wildcat this week in practice, to help the Cowboys simulate playing against Vick. Not sure if it will be needed. I wouldn't be surprised if Vick was on the field for fewer than 10 snaps.
Dom Capers would be great but he is a DC already, we blew it a few years back when Stewart whined about us taking Capers too. We would have been set with Garrett and Capers together
Calvin Watkins (3:39 PM)
That's a good point, but hey, you can't have everything.
Justin (Ottawa, Ontario)
The way is see it, noth teams, Cowboys and Eagles are playing pretty good football right now. This game is shaping up to be a shootout. But, as cliche as it sounds, the team that makes the least amount of mistakes, turnoves and penalties, will win this game. What do you think?
Calvin Watkins (3:42 PM)
That's true. But the key to me is slowing down the Eagles speed receivers. That speed has allowed the Eagles score a touchdown of 50 or more yards in six of their first seven games this season with a league leadign 12 touchdowns of 20 or more yards. Big plays as a result of speed guys like DeSean Jackson hurt teams. Deep help will be a key for Dallas this weekend.
Isaac Stubbs (Opelousas, La)
About 2 hours from New Orleans, u r not missing much. Who would Garrett or Holmgren bring n 2 run the defense?
Calvin Watkins (3:44 PM)
Cool. With Dom Capers out of the mix to coach the defense, who knows where the Cowboys might go. Ted Cottrell maybe?
Calvin - Werder said all of the Cowboys receivers lack the explosiveness to separate from Philly's DBs (including Austin)...tell me you don't agree.
Calvin Watkins (3:45 PM)
I disagree. Austin has the ability to break tackles. He leads the team with 272 yards after catch, which means, he breaks tackles and runs from people. Is austin faster than jackson and maclin? No. But he's can make explosive plays.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Calvin, do the Cowboys have any desire to join the ranks of teams drafting and developing a young QB?
Calvin Watkins (3:46 PM)
The Cowboys have a young quarterback for the future in Tony Romo. Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter are two guys with a future. You could be like Green Bay and draft one every year. But Dallas has found their QB.
Why I don't here Bill Cowher name come up as a candidate for the head coach?
Calvin Watkins (3:47 PM)
Cowher's name comes up from time-to-time. I think I read something in one of the Cleveland papers that said Cowher wants to coach again.
Do you think the cowboys will try to give the ball to felix's earlier this sunday to save barber for the forth? Cause i think choice and jones could wear down the D of the eagles early and if we can have a lead going into the forth barber can do his think and keep mcnabb off the field...
Calvin Watkins (3:48 PM)
Last Sunday, Felix started the second half and that was mainly to keep Barber fresh for the fourth quarter.I expect the same thing to happen again, this week.
Mike (Fort Worth)
So, is the game plan defensively to go with more of a cover 2 zone and have Hamlin help Jenkins
Calvin Watkins (3:49 PM)
Yeah, because you dont want to give up the deep ball, but then again, Jackson can take a shorter pass and get behind the defense. You also have to play physical on the Philly WRs.
Mike (Fort Worth)
What do you really think the impact of Keith Brookings has been? Has that been over-hyped or is it a real impact in the locker room?
Calvin Watkins (3:50 PM)
Keith has played well. He's been good on the field, second leading tackler, and in the locker room, he's fit right in with the players. he's had a bigger impact on the defense than zach thomas did last year.
Calvin Watkins (3:51 PM)
Guys, I have to go. See you next Friday and don't forget our live chats during the game on Sundays. Take care.