Chat with Calvin Watkins
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 2 p.m. CT!
Calvin Watkins (2:08 PM)
What's up guys, sorry for the delay. Welcome to our first chat of the regular season.We had a wild one last night. Let's get to the questions.
Chris [via mobile]
Penalties were the only stat the cowboys were horrible at and once again got us beat. Parcels always said he doesn't coach penalties, yet his teams were always good at avoiding penalties. What can Wade do to correct them?
Calvin Watkins (2:11 PM)
A few years ago, Phillips made players sign a pledge that they wouldn't commit penalties. The penalties the Cowboys made on Sunday night were mental. You can't put choke holds on people, watch the ball before you move. Others were just part of the game. Ratliff getting one for holding Portis, was accidental. But when he crashed into McNabb's knee, that wasn't good. These are problems that can be fixed but if the players don't fear the coach, it won't matter.
Alex Barron (Dallas)
Hey Calvin,I'm packing my bags just in case...I'm hoping the fact that as a vet, the team would be on the hook for my entire 2010 salary, works in my favor, but what do you think the chances are that I get cut today?
Calvin Watkins (2:13 PM)
I was told today you are staying with the team. And besides you will make $2.7 million this year and since you've already played Week 1 of the regular season, that salary is guaranteed. If anything, Mr. Barron, you need to work on your technique. If you don't stretch out your arms and move your feet faster you don't get those holding calls on Orakpo.
Rusty (Germantown Tn)
Romo had a decent game against the "Skins" but why can't we finish drives? AND why can't the D' get any turnovers?
Calvin Watkins (2:15 PM)
The Cowboys have a talented defense. They have two outstanding pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Plus, Jay Ratliff is a guy who can get up the middle and take on two offensive linemen. With all this pressure you would think the Cowboys would get more interceptions because quarterbacks are always hurried.Mike Jenkins is the only player that is consistent at making plays on the ball. Terence Newman doesn't do it enough, though he had a pick taken away from him due to a penalty. In terms of finishing drives, that is a major problem, espeically in the red zone. Sunday night the Cowboys went 1-3 in the red zone and lost.Jason Garrett has to be more creative in his playcalling to finish off drives and he's not.
What was Jason Garrett thinking at the end of the first half? There was hardly any time left and we are over 50 yards away. I don't understand the play calling there and it ends up costing us 7 points. What could Jason Garrett be possibly thinking during that time to make us run a passing play to risk getting a turnover?
Calvin Watkins (2:17 PM)
Garrett said after the game he should have taken a knee. Wade Phillips said if not for a holding call, on Alex Barron no less, on the previous play the Cowboys would try a Hail Mary. Nobody on the coaching staff said anything about calling off the pass play to Choice.Plenty of blame to go around here. Phillips is the head coach and he needs to take control of the sidelines.
What happened to Wade's chin? Did Jerra rough him up before the game?
Calvin Watkins (2:17 PM)
He's got a red mark on his chin. I asked Phillips did he get hit during the game and he said no. He said he was fine. I think Jerry's shoulder would prevent him from throwing punches.
The question everyone wants to know: when will the Cowboys make any moves (trade draft picks or players) to acquire offensive line help? The pickings are slim,... but they can no longer deny that this will be a huge problem.
Calvin Watkins (2:20 PM)
I know a lot of you are worried about the offensive line but Marc Colombo is coming back, or expected to return to practice this week and Kyle Kosier is in the same boat. If these two players return, the Cowboys offensive line should be OK. There were lots of problems with the three remaining starters, especially center Andre Gurode, but the backups are not ready for prime time just yet. Cowboys want to go younger here at this position so that's why they're not going for veteran help.
Wish Marion Barber would have helped Barron block on that last play...Instead he swung RIGHT next to him, up and around him, into the flat...Like for what reason?...ugh
Calvin Watkins (2:21 PM)
I noticed that too Michael and I'm not sure if Barber was supposed to help him there. But Orakpo is so fast off the ball, Barron has to get his feet set to slow him down. He didn't and that's why you got the holding call at the end of the game. Need athletic players at the tackle position.
Albert (Fort Worth)
Why isn't Jason Garrett held more accountable by Jerry Jones for very visible mistakes? I get sick of the padding on the back for dumb decisions as if we'll cruise into the playoffs ala-superbowl.
Calvin Watkins (2:23 PM)
Jason Garrett didn't have a good night. He got away from the running game a little too early I thought and sometimes he tries to be too cute. The first time the Cowboys get in the red zone they try a halfback pass with Barber. Why not run it off tackle with Jones? Garrett called three consecutive smoke routes with the Redskins pressing the receivers. No way you can get yards with those plays against that defensive setup.
Cody Willis (Alamosa, Colorado)
Why are people blaming Romo for last night??? People are so rediculous! Romo didn't fumble with 4 seconds left or hold on the last play of the game. The Cowboys would NOT be who they are WITHOUT Romo. Why don't people see that??
Calvin Watkins (2:25 PM)
I don't know who is blaming Romo for last night's effort,Cody.Romo wasn't the problem. He had an OK night. His QB rating, 89.1, completed 31 of 47 passes and had no interceptions. On a deep pass to Williams, I thought he put too much air on it and his wideouts ran some bad routes at times. That's not his fault. I thought he should have gotten his team out of some situations with a few more audibles, but that's just how the game is sometimes.
How come nobody is talking about miss hold calls by the redskins?
Calvin Watkins (2:27 PM)
The Redskins were called for five penalties totalling 42 yards. Two of those penalties were holds. You could say there is holding on every play, but if you're putting a choke hold on somebody, then the referee has not choice but to flag it.
Steve Tagliamonte (Wayne, New Jersey)
This year is a big year for Wade Phillips and Crew and it did not get off to a good start. If the Cowboys are to falter this year and don't make the playoffs Wade probably be fired. My Question Even though Jason Garrett is the quote unquote coach in waiting if that happens shouldn't Jason Garrett be fired as well?
Calvin Watkins (2:29 PM)
I think it's way to early to say Wade Phillips is going to get fired. It's only one game and say the Cowboys beat the Bears next week. The Cowboys would be 1-1 and everything is right with the world. If Dallas is 2-1 going into the bye week, then I'd say you will forget about the Redskins game. If the Cowboys are 1-2 going into the bye, then I would say you have some issues.
When do you expect Dez Bryant to be the other starting receiver? I know he ran the wrong route a few times, but it is obvious that Romo already seems to be looking his direction as his first choice after Miles Austin.
Calvin Watkins (2:32 PM)
I thought Dez played well on Sunday. He was targeted 12 times, more than any other player. He's a physical receiver with good speed and hands and you can tell once he grasp the offense he and Miles Austin will be an awesome duo. In terms of starting, Roy Williams wasn't that bad. He made a tough catch while getting slammed down and he caught what would have been the game-winning touchdown pass. Bryant will start eventually, just not right now. He's getting enough snaps to keep him happy.
c.j. cann (revere ma)
When people around Boston talk about the Brady-Romo comparison it drives me crazy, I feel as if Romo had the coaching and deep threat like Moss, he would be even better, how do you feel about that?
Calvin Watkins (2:34 PM)
It's all about coaching. I think Brady is more skilled than Romo, but that's not to say Romo isn't any good.Romo's development took more time than Brady's yet, Romo is moving into an elite status if he can take his team deep into the playoffs. He's a good quarterback who can make plays with his legs and arm. Not a lot of quarterbacks can do that.I have this running debate with fans all the time: Is Romo a top 10 quarterback? The answer always seem to be yes.
Clay Defayette (NY)
The last play of the Cowboys-Redskins game was fitting. The holding call was well-deserved, not only because it was indeed holding but because Jerry Jones skipping out on an offensive linemen in the draft. What do you think?
Calvin Watkins (2:36 PM)
The Cowboys wanted to draft an offensive linemen in the first round of the draft but when Dez Bryant became available to them, the Cowboys had to take Bryant. It was still a good move. Also, the Cowboys picked up Sam Young in the sixth round and offensive line coach Hudson Houck likes his potential.
We all kno the last play of the 1st half was just a horrible call. There are many things that could have prevented the TD. Coaching staff not calling the play rather than just taking a knee, or Romo throwing the ball away or Choice just going down and calling it a half. I just don't get why it's so hard to play smart football. I mean these guys are professional athletes, u would think they would make the smart decision. 2nd, whats up with Barron committing a holding penalty at the last play of the game!?!?!. It's just doesn't make sense. Don't these guys visualize what they are about to do before the play?? Bottom line every mistake made last night is due to bad coaching. Every year thy have the same issue; stupid penalties.
Calvin Watkins (2:37 PM)
Football IQ was lacking on Sunday night. In fact it was missing at times during the preseason.
Calvin, please tell me Alex Barron will not be on our roster next sunday
Calvin Watkins (2:37 PM)
Adam, Alex Barron will be on the roster.
Craig (Salisbury, MD)
Does Jason Garrett need help from an experienced coordinator? Another set of eyes?
Calvin Watkins (2:39 PM)
That's a good question. You see here's the deal with that, Ray Sherman has been an offensive coordinator twice, Pittsburgh and Minnesota, and if Garrett had left for a head coaching job, Sherman would probably take over as OC.Now, there is plenty of experience on the coaching staff, from Sherman, Houck, Peete and QB coach Wade Wilson. So Garrett has plenty of people to bounce ideas off.
come on guys. lets face it. all the talent isnt any good without leadership!! coaching leadership. wade.. gotta go, garrett... gotta go, barrone.. never should have came, gotta go. be a leader jerry. demand perfection. your only as good as the people you surround yourself with. jerry hasnt surrounded himself with the best out ther, and romo isnt surrounded by the best out there. agree??
Calvin Watkins (2:40 PM)
Leadership was lacking on Sunday night. Too many mistakes from the sidelines for a season opener.
Will Barron be cut today?
Calvin Watkins (2:41 PM)
Hey Calvin, how empty is the band wagon today?
Calvin Watkins (2:41 PM)
I think just Jerry and Wade are on it.
gabe (long beach)
is there a way the cowboys could go and trade for unhappy patriots guard Logan Mankins ?
Calvin Watkins (2:42 PM)
I don't believe the Cowboys want to pay a huge salary or give up the compensation needed, at least two picks, for Mankins. This team will stick with its young backups as the future.
ben (los angeles)
Calvin, what is missing from the cowboy offense? is it a lack of creativity or ??
Calvin Watkins (2:43 PM)
I think they have nice plays and talented players, sometimes you have to know when to use them. If you struggle with the type of plays you call then it doesn't matter how many talented players you have. Sometimes, I think Jason Garrett has too many weapons. He's trying to get everybody the ball. In reality Miles, Dez, Witten and Felix should be your primary playmakers. After that get what you can.
Hey Calvin. Any updates on Colombo and Kosier? Don't you think Holland actually did a pretty decent job filling in for Kosier? Wouldn't Brewster be an upgrade over Barron at RT?
Calvin Watkins (2:45 PM)
Colombo and Kosier are expected back at practice this week. It's funny you're talking about Brewster because some in the media and fans didn't want Romo starting at QB in the San Diego game with Brewster at RT. Now I'm hearing Brewster talk and people want Barron sent home.Just relax if Colombo and Kosier return, the line will be much better. If they don't return it will be interesting to see if Brewster gets some first-team reps in practice this week.I doubt it will happen, because Barron is still better than Brewster.
As a Redskins fan was yesterday's game more about the Cowboys not living up to they're standards or the Redskins getting lucky and dodging a bullet. Both teams left to many plays on the field.
Calvin Watkins (2:46 PM)
Both teams looked pretty bad. Why is Larry Johnson in the league again?Dallas gave the game away to Washington, that simple. But the bottom line is you got to take games. Dallas didn't.
Skins fan here after enjoying the wild one last night in person. Dallas will be in the playoff mix if they get down to brass tacks and start earning it on and off the field. I find it shocking to say, but the difference in that game and the reason my team won was the coaching staff and the mental tenacity that they have instilled in their players. Can't say I'm used to that. Good luck till we meet in Arlington.
Chad (Las Vegas)
How tired are Cowboys fans of the OVERRATED chant? Though it is starting to get to a point of a deserved chant.
How big of a factor was McNabb in this loss?
Calvin Watkins (2:48 PM)
McNabb did scramble away from defenders last night to make some throws down the field. He had one scramble for 17 yards, but other than that, he was hit three times and was able to make 32 throws.McNabb said he's lost some weight and that's why he seems faster. Ware said after the game, McNabb is like a 240 pounder with speed.
With the schedule being as hard as it is for the Cowboys they can't just let games go like they did this one. This should've been a win for us but penalties and inconsistency hurt the team What does this say about the season?
Calvin Watkins (2:49 PM)
Nothing. It's only one game and you got 15 more to go. If you lose to the Bears, now starting 0-2 and reaching the postseason. You got some slim odds there.
este (san antonio, tx)
If Colombo can't go this week do they really start Barron again?
Calvin Watkins (2:49 PM)
Mike Jenkins All pro this year?
Calvin Watkins (2:50 PM)
I don't know about that. It's just one week into the season. Jenkins had a strong 2009 and he has to carry that into 2010. He did play pretty well last night.
Craig (Lindsay, ON)
Calvin, I usually agree with much of what you say. But come on, you can't ask Garret to be more creative and then diss him for calling a halfback option and being too cute. It is one or the other. And on the last play, if Barber does not go out into the flat, Roy Williams is not that open (look at the replay, the guy in front of Roy came up to cover Barber). So if he stays in to block, maybe there is no hold, but there is no TD either.
Calvin Watkins (2:51 PM)
Craig,You are so right. But don't be cute in the red zone. If you want to be cute at your 27, fine, go ahead. With the struggles the Cowboys have in the red zone, pound it in there and make plays. You have to create mismatches and I don't think the Cowboys are doing that.
Do Wade and Garrett get along? Sometimes it looks like Wade wants to choke him!!
Calvin Watkins (2:52 PM)
I think so.
Calvin Watkins (2:52 PM)
Guys I have to head to the locker room, thanks for spending some time with me. Take care.