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/3 p.m. ET!
Calvin Watkins (2:59 PM)
Welcome to our weekly chat. Let's go.
Calvin,while I do not think it is something that should be a major priority, I think it is somewhat important to find a backup RB in the middle rounds so that our offense does not become totally one dimensional if DeMarco Murray gets hurt again next year. The Felix experiment is over. I don't think they should get a "change of pace" back, but instead should get someone with a solid all around skill set, who can run inside and out. Your change of pace guy should be your 3rd or 4th back on the roster, not the primary backup. What do you think?
Calvin Watkins (3:01 PM)
Mike, I would agree with you. Felix Jones will not return next year and Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner might not. The Cowboys have endured health issues with DeMarco Murray and Jones the last few years. Getting a running back, fourth or fifth round, would be a wide choice.
Why do you think the cowboys are struggling? Do you think they should try and get rid of tony romo in the offseason?
Calvin Watkins (3:03 PM)
I don't think Tony Romo is the problem with this team, at least in the short term. The Cowboys should draft a quarterback in the next two drafts because Romo is entering the final year of his contract and the Cowboys have to plan for the future.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which od the 4 Remaining NFL Games that the Dallas Cowboys has a Chance Beating against or will they finish with a 6-10 Record?
Calvin Watkins (3:07 PM)
I picked the Cowboys to lose on Sunday to the Bengals, but they should beat the Steelers the following week.After that, the Saints could beat the Cowboys, but I'm picking the Cowboys because they're home. In the regular season finale, a game that might decide something, expect the Redskins to win. So, I think the Cowboys will go 2-2 to finish the season.
Jordan (Casper, Wy)
Hey Calvin, the Bengals D line is top notch and will be coming after Romo all day on Sunday. Do the Cowboys have any chance of keeping Romo clean or is it gonna be lots of roll outs and scrambling for his life?
Calvin Watkins (3:09 PM)
Bengals don't blitz a whole lot, but instead mix their coverages and keep eight defenders near the line of scrimmage. They do lead the NFL in sacks with 39, and have some talented players among the front seven. Romo doesn't roll out too much any way, but the key is how fast Romo gets rid of the ball. Cowboys have to give him time and allow his receivers to get open on short quick routes. If this doesn't happen, it's going to be a long day.
Jeff (Phoenix, AZ)
I would like to see Victor Butler get more snaps. He seems like he makes a lot of plays. Why do you think they haven't used him at ILB? It seems like he would be more productive then Sims or Connor? I mean it's do or die right now.
Calvin Watkins (3:10 PM)
Victor Butler is inconsistent and while Rob Ryan has said he's been pleased with his play, Butler's snap count have dwindled.
Morice (Virginia Beach)
I know doug free was better blocking in the 2nd half sunday. but if he is hideous again with his blocking (or whatever he calls it) this sunday, will we see Garrett bench him?
Calvin Watkins (3:13 PM)
Free has to work on his hand placement to redirect pass rushers. His balance is good but he's not getting that punch out fast enough to keep people off him and eventually Tony Romo. Parnell is somebody the Cowboys like, so it wouldn't surprise me if a change is made should Free struggle.
Rosa Duenas (washington d.c)
hey Calvin , how its going so am wondering what happen to that ilb A Hamltion #58 in the preseason he made a lot of plays and i thought we should of held on to him do you no if he still with us thanks always enjoy your post keep it up am reading
Calvin Watkins (3:14 PM)
I didn't think Adrian Hamilton made a lot of plays in training camp. He was very raw and the Cowboys had other options at his spot.
malcolm keys ft worth [via mobile]
has dez reached hid peak?
Calvin Watkins (3:15 PM)
Dez Bryant has been wonderful this year. We talked about a possible Pro Bowl berth today and he's got a chance. A very good chance. Bryant is running good routes and is catching the ball with ease. I'm not sure if he's reached his peak, but he's playing very well right now. He's such a young player that you can only see good things from him.
TJ (Decatur, IN)
Rain in the forecast for Sunday. Have the Cowboys done anything this week to prepare?
Calvin Watkins (3:17 PM)
Jason Garrett joked that he has a wet ball drill ready to implement. Garrett has told his team to prepare themselves to protect the ball in case it rains.
Jordan (Denison, Tx)
Was it just me, or did it seem like our home crowd was a little loud against the eagles? Nick files had to call a timeout once because he couldn't hear. Maybe that 3rd down video is working lol
Calvin Watkins (3:17 PM)
The crowd was pretty loud on Sunday.
Tom Landry (God's Country)
What in the hell happened to my Cowboys??
Calvin Watkins (3:18 PM)
Hey Calvin, who will be guarding Dez this wknd?
Calvin Watkins (3:20 PM)
Terence Newman and Leon Hall will defend him, depending on which side of the field Bryant lines up on. I can see Adam Jones picking Bryant up in the slot. So a combination of players will face Bryant.
Rob Cagley (Shreveport, LA)
Calvin, thanks for chattin. I dont see the Cowboys go 4-5 wide very often. THe way Romo plays the hurry up, dont you think going 4-5 wide would keep the defense from stacking the line and give Romo more options?
Calvin Watkins (3:23 PM)
Rob,Cowboys go three and four wide but three receiver sets out of the shotgun is what Garrett favors most. The Cowboys have some speed and wide receiver and you will see Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris in the game during four or five receiver sets.
SW (Va Beach)
What is the deal with Ratliff? Will he be back? Is he getting better?
Calvin Watkins (3:24 PM)
Ratliff will not play Sunday. It's the seventh game he's missed this season. Not sure when he'll return and it's got to be concerning the Cowboys, especially as they enter the late stages of their season.
Hey Calvin, What type of numbers should we see from Dez & Miles this wknd?
Calvin Watkins (3:25 PM)
Dez leads the team in yards with 978 and should reach his first 1,000 yard season. He's played fantastic this season. Austin has battle health issue and still has five touchdowns and he could end up with about 885 receiving yards.
DI (Columbus, OH)
Calvin, please tell me McCray will not get exposed this weekend?
Calvin Watkins (3:26 PM)
DI, McCray has been already exposed. He's struggled of late in open field tackling and in pass coverage.
It sure seems Rob has been playing real conserative this year. You think he says "oh hell", lets dial up the blitz and go w/ press coverage this wk? Its do or die time.
Calvin Watkins (3:31 PM)
I don't believe Rob Ryan will change. He doesn't want to rush more than four or five and he doesn't trust some of the backups he has on this team.
What's more important for our draft: offensive lineman or pass rusher for the first round?
Calvin Watkins (3:32 PM)
Both. You need a new pass rusher if you don't have Anthony Spencer and you must upgrade the offensive line, maybe get you a center or another guard.
Postmaster22 (Scotland, CT)
Cal, Have you heard either Jason Garrett or Rob Ryan really stress the importance of a quick start Sunday? Especially on the road to a team that has consistently ran the ball well the past few weeks. I can't see Dallas winning if they get down 14-3 again.
Calvin Watkins (3:33 PM)
It's not so much Rob Ryan needs a quick start, if you remember, Ware knocked down Foles on the first defensive play, it's the offense needing to make plays quickly to set the tone. It's not happening right now.
COWBOY DARYLE (BAY AREA)
Dallas is being blessed and something is telling me they sneak in , THE GIANTS, REDSKINS, along with Dallas can all lose this weekend , I am so disgusted with ROB RYAN ,WHY CALVIN, WHY CALVIN do they have the BEST PASS RUSHERS in coverage, it should cost RYAN his job !!!!!!!
Calvin Watkins (3:34 PM)
Calm down, big guy. It's going to be fine. When the Cowboys drop one of their top pass rushers back, it's normally Spencer, but it's OK to drop Ware back too. Several teams do it. But Ware and Spencer normally rush at the same time. Sometimes you need Spencer in coverage because of the injuries to Lee and Carter.
Hypothetically, if these Cowboys had the '94-94 O-Line, how good could this offense be?
Calvin Watkins (3:34 PM)
It's hard to say because that line had a Hall of Fame quarterback.
Chris (Bryan TX)
I think Romo is a great QB, he's definitly not the problem on offense. Don't you think they need to get a top notch running back in the draft as well as offensive lineman? I like Murray but he's like a plate of glass out there.
Calvin Watkins (3:37 PM)
The Cowboys have a solid running back in DeMarco Murray. He's a playmaker and there's nothing wrong with his skills. The only issue with Murray is health, he hasn't finished a season healthy, so that should concern you. If the Cowboys draft an offensive lineman in the first round, that's a positive for a unit that's struggled this season.
Angry Mike (SF,CA)
So, we can criticize the Cowboys for their non-use of Martellus Bennett, now, right?
Calvin Watkins (3:38 PM)
Cowboys didn't know how to use Marty B. However, Bennett was behind Jason Witten, an elite tight end, so do you expect Bennett to get more balls than Witten? In New York, Bennett is the No. 1 option from the tight end spot and that's why he's developing the numbers this year.
Can Free move to guard if the Cowboys make a move at tackle this offseason (either in the draft or by trade/free agency), or does he lack the correct skill set? Thanks.
Calvin Watkins (3:39 PM)
No, Free doesn't have the skill set to play guard. He's better suited for a tackle spot. If the Cowboys make a move at tackle, expect Jeremy Parnell to challenge for the right tackle spot and the Cowboys to draft a guard.
billy (bogata tx)
how many years do you think tony will be signed for?
Calvin Watkins (3:40 PM)
He's got one year left, and I think he'll get a two year extension. He's 32 now and by the time the contract ends he'll be about 35.
Calvin Watkins (3:40 PM)
Thanks for the chat guys, got to get ready for Cincy, have a safe weekend.