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 (3:00 PM)
Hello, welcome to our weekly Friday chat. Hope the shopping is going well. I'm at Wendys. Let's chat.
Who's under more pressure with McCoy, DE's for containing him in the run game or LB's for the screen/pass game?
Calvin Watkins (3:01 PM)
Todd,I would say the ILB because McCoy likes to cut back a lot and when that happens it puts pressure on them to make plays in the run game. The ends have played well this season, especially Spears of late, but James, Brooking and Lee will be key.
With as bad as it burned him last time, will Rex still stick with his exotic blitzes or keep it more base to contain Vick and McCoy in the run game?
Calvin Watkins (3:02 PM)
Rob is going to blitz. That's what he does. The issues is the defenders need to get to Vick. If they can't reach Vick it will be a long afternoon. Having Sean Lee should help. He got hurt the first time they met when he tackled Vick. He's the signal caller out there and having him should help in the rematch.
Hey Calvin thanks for the chat. How effective do you think Felix Jones is going to be against the Eagles? I'm a little worried that his hamstring might be a little worse than the Cowboys are admitting.
Calvin Watkins (3:03 PM)
Felix Jones is questionable for the game on Saturday. When I last saw Jones, Thursday morning, he was running pretty well. He ran a wheel route, and did some cutting. Showed a good burst. Jerry Jones said today he expects Jones to play.
Hey Calvin assuming Rob Ryan doesn't get a head coaching job do you think the Dallas defense can improve next year? Because I've heard that it takes time for the defense to learn Ryan's schemes.
Calvin Watkins (3:04 PM)
I think the players know the defense pretty well. The issue is execution and it's been inconsistent at times in 2011. If Ryan goes next year, I wonder who might take over. Mike Nolan comes to mind because of his experience in the 3-4 and he's been a head coach before.
freeport.tx [via mobile]
will romo do the usual in his december play?I feel that he will.
Calvin Watkins (3:06 PM)
Romo has played well in December this season. You can't blame the offense for the two losses in the late stages of the season. Now Romo will be under the microscope vs. Philly and the Giants with the playoffs on the line the next two weeks. He'll be fine.
Seems to me like Morris is the better between-the-tackles runner, shouldn't they utilize him more this game to exploit what has been an Eagles weakness all season?
Calvin Watkins (3:09 PM)
I would agree. Morris is better between the tackles, but that's ok, he did get about 50 yards vs. Tampa's front. Not sure what Washington can do out there since he hasn't played all year. If Jones can't play or gets re-injured the Cowboys run game is in trouble.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Merry Christmas! How do you think that the Dallas Cowboys will do on December 24 against the Eagles & Janaury 1 @ Giants?
Calvin Watkins (3:10 PM)
Chris,I think the Cowboys will lose on Saturday and then beat the Giants on New Year's Day. That's how it will play out in my mind. Eagles have too many weapons for the Cowboys defense to handle.
The knock on Murray was that he was injury prone (which he obviously disputed). How does his season-ending injury impact that assessment - just something that happens or should Cowboys fans be concerned going forward?
Calvin Watkins (3:11 PM)
It was a freak injury that knocked Murray out. It's interesting that both the starting running backs were knocked out of games this season. Jones and Murray both had durability issues, remember Murray had a hamstring issue prior to training camp, so I'm not convinced yet about his long-term status for staying healthy a full season.
What are the chances we bring norv turner in?
Calvin Watkins (3:12 PM)
I doubt Norv Turner will work here with Garrett. Not because he doesn't like Garrett, but Norv might remain in San Diego if the Chargers get into the postseason.
Which CB will draw Jackson on the outside, or are they looking at more zone?
Calvin Watkins (3:13 PM)
In the Tampa game the Cowboys played more zone, especially in the second half, but I would think Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman will get him depending on where he's lined up. I think Jenkins will handle him better than Newman. If Jackson is in the slot, Scandrick picks him up.
Any chance Bruce Carter gets to have a career making game controlling McCoy?
Calvin Watkins (3:14 PM)
Cowboys like Carter, but he's not ready for significant snaps just yet. He's healthy but he missed so much time because he was recovering from knee surgery, he's a little behind. Alex Albright will get more snaps than Carter.
Hey Calvin, why do you think in press coverage our D B's dont chuck the recievers off the line of scrimmage, instead they let them run free?
Calvin Watkins (3:15 PM)
I would like to see them more physical, but the technique is to get a hand on them and guide the receiver toward the coverage.
nate k. (sioux falls)
it's ware & ratiff going play this saturday.
Calvin Watkins (3:17 PM)
Yes. Both are questionable on the injury report, but Ware (neck) and Ratliff (ribs) have been hampered the last two weeks with health issues. The limited snaps they had vs. Tampa Bay was concerning but with the team blowing the Bucs out, it gave them a chance to rest.
Cal, will we see a big game from Witten on saturday? I think this might be a nice tight end battle with Celek.
Calvin Watkins (3:20 PM)
Both players haven't been superstars this season, though Witten is the better player and is expected to head to another Pro Bowl. The inside linebackers of the Cowboys have struggled this season and Frank Walker has been inconsistent covering tight ends. Celek might have a big game, but Witten is my favorite to have one.
What kind of relationship did Dez have with John Outlaw? Any concerns about any negative affects on Dez due to Outlaw's passing away?
Calvin Watkins (3:21 PM)
Dez was close to him. I haven't spoken with Dez about this but knowing how loyal he was to John Outlaw, I'm sure he's pretty broken up about it.
Mick (Fort Worth)
If the Cowboys do make it to the playoffs, what are their chances with having an effective run game, since we've been bitten by the injury bug so many times.
Calvin Watkins (3:24 PM)
Hard to say right now. Felix rushed for 100 yards the last two weeks for the first time in his career and the return of fullback Tony Fiammetta makes things happen.
Hey Calvin, merry Christmas. A lot of mock drafts have the cowboys taking LaMichael James in the 3rd round. Is there any possibility this happens?
Calvin Watkins (3:25 PM)
Here are the draft needs: DE, CB, G, QB, S, OLB
Who is the most important matchup to watch when the Cowboys have the ball, Babin vs Smith or WRs vs CBs?
Calvin Watkins (3:27 PM)
Babin is unreal. Having a great season. I like how he gets in a track stance by being so low and pushing of the line of scrimmage. Smith will have his hands full, but he's playing well right now. He's handling players who like to spin past him with good footwork and his hand placement is also good. I can see Smith moving to the left side next year. Babin vs. Smith is the best matchup of the day.
What happened in the locker room with you and Ratliff?
Calvin Watkins (3:29 PM)
A little dust up. Shouldn't have happened. But it did and we've moved on.
If the Giants beat the Jets, does Garrett rest key players? I know he indicated he will not scoreboard watch but this the right move. What are your thoughts?
Calvin Watkins (3:30 PM)
It's an interesting move because I would think you want the defense headed into the regular season finale on a positive note. There are about five players who could use the rest: Sensabaugh, Ratliff, Ware, Jones and Robinson. I think Garrett will play the starters but if things get out of hand in the second half, good or bad, he rests them.
IF we get into the postseason, who should we be hoping for in the WC round? Detroit or Atl?
Calvin Watkins (3:31 PM)
Atlanta. Falcons' Tony Gonzalez has never won a playoff game. If you play Detroit, Suh is gonna cause problems.
Khaled (Dallas, TX 75243, USA)
I want to get your view,is our defense ready for this??
Calvin Watkins (3:34 PM)
Rob Ryan said the defense is ready. The biggest issue is the communication problems the secondary has endured the last few weeks. Abram Elam said it was solved last week vs. Tampa. We'll see how things go with Philly on Saturday.
JORDAN JAMES (Garland tx)
Will Sammy Morris have a impact this game ? Do you except more passes from Romo this game ?
Calvin Watkins (3:37 PM)
He should whether Felix Jones plays or not. Last week was big from a confidence standpoint for Jason Garrett in terms of giving Morris more carries. He handled the third-down plays well and did a nice job of running the ball late in the game.Cowboys have confidence in him.
If the Vikings get the #1 pick and take Andrew Luck, would it make sense for the Cowboys to try to trade for Christian Ponder (assuming the price isn't too high)?
Calvin Watkins (3:38 PM)
No, they don't need Ponder. If anything draft a QB in the first or second round.
Merry Christmas Chris! Why would the Cowboys risk putting Felix Jones out there tomorrow??
Calvin Watkins (3:38 PM)
Erik, It's not the end of the world if he plays tomorrow. He's been nicked up before and played through it, remember that shoulder has bothered him all season. If the game gets out of hand, I can see where Jones sits in the second half.
Calvin Watkins (3:39 PM)
Guys gotta go. Have a safe holiday season.