Chat with Todd Archer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN NFL Nation Dallas Cowboys reporter Todd Archer drops by to chat and answer all of your Cowboys questions.
Archer joined ESPNDallas.com in November 2010. He's covered the NFL since 1997 and the Cowboys since 2003. He covered the Bengals and Dolphins before arriving in Dallas. A Massachusetts native, Archer lives in the Dallas area with his wife and two children.
Send your questions now and join Archer Wednesday at noon ET!
Todd Archer (11:56 AM)
Hey everybody. We can get started a little early if you want. By this time next week we'll be in Oxnard for camp and probably adjust the chat schedule a little. I'll let you know via Twitter (@toddarcher) once we figure it out. And if you're heading to camp, say hello.Away we go
Patrick Garcia [via mobile]
If the Cowboys go 8-8 and miss the playoffs , do you see Romo getting the same treatment as Demarcus Ware did at the end of the season ?
Todd Archer (11:57 AM)
Tell me how Romo plays. If he throws 31 touchdown passes and is picked off just 10 times, then no. I don't think the 8-8 record played any part inn the Cowboys' decision to cut Ware. It was the fact that they saw him as a declining player. As I've stated before, I would've done more to keep him and banked on last season being one down year.
Erik Grand Rapids MI [via mobile]
Am I crazy for thinking this team'a absolute ceiling is 11-5? I think with an improved running game, justified by the Martin pick, this may have a domino effect on every facet of the game. There were a few games lost last year where the Cowboys couldn't run it when they had to, DET and GB, and where the offense couldn't convert on 3rd down. That aspect alone should yield more wins. I am not saying they will get to 11-5, but I think they are much closer to that than people think.
Todd Archer (11:59 AM)
I hear you, but I can also point out a few games they won that they probably should have lost. The Minnesota game comes to mind. They really shouldn't have won that one. I do think there is too much pessimism regarding this team. I don't see them imploding to 3-13 or 5-11 as some believe. I'm not so sure they can go 11-5 either. The defense is the hang up. If they can get anything from the defense, they can compete for the division and if you compete for a division, you're in the playoff chase.
Patrick (Augusta, GA)
Wouldn't a 6 game suspension for Brent (if he ends his retirement) and Spencer being put on the PUP help both players and the team?
Todd Archer (12:01 PM)
I'm not sure Brent's return is as solid as many believe just yet. That's the sense I get from talking to people in the process. But Spencer on PUP almost seems like a sure thing. You could look at Spencer as a quasi-trade pickup in that aspect, provided he's healthy. It's all about his health. He's a good player. I think he could be a boost come October/November.
Cris A. (Dallas, TX)
Why would the Cowboys pay Orton and worse off, take the cap hit for the next two years? Couldn't they have fined Orton for missing OTA's until he retired/came back?
Todd Archer (12:03 PM)
They're not paying him anything. They're saving $3.25 million against the cap by cutting him. It could have been more if they fought for money if he didn't come back. That's a big if. I was told he would be at camp because he wouldn't want to pay back already received bonus money. But what would've happened if he got hurt in camp? Then the Cowboys are on the hook for all of the money and don't have any cap relief. He was counting against the 2015 cap regardless of what happened this year, so that's not an issue either. My only surprise is they didn't do this sooner.
Is Rolando McClain in shape and does it appear that his heart is in his return to Football?
Todd Archer (12:03 PM)
I'll be able to answer this question once we see him in camp. We haven't seen him at all. The Cowboys have hope that he'll be ready to go but it's hard to no for sure.
Think the Boys will use Dwayne Harris more on offense this year? I think itd be great to get him some screen plays and let him use that speed!
Todd Archer (12:04 PM)
Not sure he will be used more necessarily. Who do you play less to get more of Harris? I think he'll get about the same snaps on offense. Maybe his production picks up. I like him as a player. I think he can be pretty good in the screen game and obviously he's an excellent returner. But I don't think you'll see him play a lot more on offense. There's only so many snaps to go around.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Where is the Dallas Cowboys Summer Training Camp?
Todd Archer (12:05 PM)
What is your sense regarding an extension for Murray? I fear if Randle doesn't show something, Murray holds too much power and Jerry will play NFL cap contrarian by investing heavily in a RB.
Todd Archer (12:06 PM)
I think they will get something done with Murray but it might be during the season. (Of course, I thought Orton was a lock for the roster at the start of the week, so take what I say with a grain of salt.) Murray is a pivotal piece to this team. I don't think, however, the Cowboys will give him a Marion Barber type deal. They'll be smart. I truly believe they have turned a corner on these matters.
9to82 (Anywhere but here)
Todd, give me a sense of Bruce Carter's status with the team? Little surprised that coaches have publicly challenged him as much as they did. Your thoughts?
Todd Archer (12:08 PM)
I like that the coaches have done that. One scene from the spring: he made a good play on Witten in coverage and I heard Marinelli yell, 'Do it again.' They don't want him satisfied. Maybe there was a sense of 'I've arrived,' after he played well for 11 games in 2012. I don't know that. He has to have a good season. Has to. He's in a contract year, so it's big for him personally. We'll see how it goes.
Patrick (Augusta, GA)
Which one would you say is more unproven: Linebackers or Defensive Line?
Todd Archer (12:09 PM)
Good question, Patrick. I think I'd say linebacker because Durant's never been a full-time Mike. Wilber hasn't been a full-time Sam and Carter is a question. Guys like Melton, Mincey, Selvie, Hayden at least have a little bit more of a track record at their postions.
Hey Todd, do you think Escobar takes over a similar role to the one Linehan gave Fauria last year (18rec, 207yrds, 7TD)? Or is Witten so far above and beyond pettigrew that he maintains his increased red zone targets from last season?
Todd Archer (12:10 PM)
I don't think Escobar will only be a red-zone threat. I think he will be a No. 3 receiver in many respects. That could be one of the big changes for this offense when they go 12 personnel. It really could be more like how NE used Gronkowski and Hernandez than they even hinted at doing last year.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Has Dirk Nowitzki ever come to the Valley Ranch to talk to the guys about how to be a champion?
Todd Archer (12:10 PM)
Nope, but Rick Carlisle has been there plenty of times. He knows something about it too.
Todd - What is DeMarcus Lawrence's ceiling as a pass-rusher? Does he have the athletic ability to be an elite DE?
Todd Archer (12:12 PM)
Tough question. I'm not sure he has that athletic ability, like a Ware. Ware would do things in practice or in drills that men his size just don't do. I didn't see that from Lawrence in the limited times we saw him in the spring. That doesn't mean he doesn't have it. It means I need to see him more. He's strong. He's thick. I'm not sure he has the bend of a Ware. But can he be a double-digit sack guy as time goes on? Sure.
The NFL is a win now league, and obviously this staff has plenty riding on this year's campaign...How much of the decision to play the trusted veteran-Durant at the Mike over a more athletic Holloman who I think, could develop over the season into the better LB, he filled in fairly well last year for a couple games?Of course that all goes out the window if McClain shows up to play...
Todd Archer (12:13 PM)
That's the balance with every team. There is a natural battle between the coaches and scouts on this stuff. The scouts would rather see what the young guy can do, generally. The coaches want the proven player because of what you mentioned. But I don't think Durant is the guy that the coaches would hold up the progress of a Holloman for. If Holloman is better, I think they would go with him.
Brent (St. Paul)
Realisticly any shot we make the playoffs?
Todd Archer (12:15 PM)
Sure. This division isn't great. The Eagles are good but not unbeatable. The Giants and Redskins have questions too. The Cowboys went 5-1 vs. the division last year with a terrible defense. I don't think it's impossible for the Cowboys to make the playoffs.
Kyle Jones (Cedar Park, TX)
Who would you select to be the head coach of the Cowboys if you could pick anyone? What traits does this coach have that Garrett doesn't have and what would the Cowboys record be this year with this scenario?
Todd Archer (12:17 PM)
I'd take Parcells back. He knows how to coax every bit of talent out of a team. Now does that mean they would be 10-6? Maybe. How he got that '03 team in the playoffs was a thing of magic. To me, Parcells' teams were always prepared for every scenario and knew how to respond. I haven't always had that feeling since he left.
Hi Todd, more likely to occur T Williams or Witen catches passes for 1,000 yds and 8 tds? thanks
Todd Archer (12:18 PM)
Let me chicken out - Williams gets 1,000 yards and Witten gets eight touchdowns. Honestly, I'd probably go with Williams in this scenario, but I still see Witten in that 900-yard range.
I'm out on you.
Todd Archer (12:18 PM)
what I do?
Hey, bro, when are you releasing your next "Mighty Mighty Bosstones" album?
Todd Archer (12:18 PM)
Love the Bosstones. Saw them a few times back in the day.
John (Toronto) [via mobile]
Is there really a certain amount of INT's Claiborne has to get this year so that the cowboys will be satisfied? 3? 4? Maybe just staying healthy and not lose his No. 2 spot? What is your take and what would you like to see him do?
Todd Archer (12:20 PM)
I don't know that there is a number of picks. I just think they want to see him play well every week. Sometimes picks can be misleading. That's not the only measure for a corner doing his job, but that's the easiest thing for us to see. I don't think he goes into camp as the No. 2 corner. To me he's behind Scandrick and has to win the job this summer.
With having 6 or 7 lineman that have been starters does it pay the same dividens that it does on defense on offense to swap the lineman to keep them fresh?
Todd Archer (12:22 PM)
I've asked that question to coaches before but they go back to cohesion as to why it doesn't work on the offensive line. It's interesting though. I think there's a needed cohesion on the defensive line as well perhaps but maybe not so much as on the O-line.
Most anticipated training camp 1v1 competition? e.g. Dez vs ? or Tyron vs ?, not about a battle for a starting or roster spot
Todd Archer (12:26 PM)
Linehan vs. Marinelli? I'm sort of serious. But Dez vs.Claiborne and Smith vs. Lawrence will be good ones. Another good one is Carter vs. Witten. He's struggled there in the past. If he does better it might mean he's turning a corner.
Cris A. (Dallas, TX)
Do you see anyone in the defensive line that can get 10 or more sacks?
Todd Archer (12:27 PM)
Not really. Well, not this year. Lawrence has the ability to do it in the future. So much of may answer is based off history. They don't have a guy who's had 10 or more that will be playing from the first day of camp. Spencer had 11 a couple of years ago, but I don't think he starts the season on the 53. I think they have guys tat can get them 4-8 a year and they hope they have six guys that do that.
Who improves more as a player this year, Wilcox or Claiborne?
Todd Archer (12:29 PM)
I'd go Claiborne. He battled much better this spring than he did in the past. We'll see if that carries over. We're talking about a guy who was a top-10 pick and every team believed he would be a top corner. Wilcox is a converted RB from a small school. To me, there's more upside to Claiborne. Still.
Todd - if or should I say when D Murray gets hurt - who is the backup RB on this team - Dunbar or Randle?
Todd Archer (12:30 PM)
I believe it would be Randle (or Ryan Williams if he wins the job). I believe the Cowboys view Dunbar as a niche back, not an every down back. Doesn't mean he won't be valuable in that niche role, but he might get overexposed in an every-down role.
I liked the answer, way to think outside the box
Todd Archer (12:30 PM)
Thanks. And thanks for the questions.
Steven (Tyler, TX)
Any second thoughts on passing on Manziel now that Kyle Orton has retired?
Todd Archer (12:32 PM)
I was waiting for this question. It's an interesting scenario isn't it? Well, first off, Orton didn't retire. He was cut. Now, I believe he wanted to retire but was going to show up to camp so he didn't have to pay back bonus money. But that's splitting hairs. Let's say the Cowboys did this back before the draft. Wouldn't their philosophy have been different regarding the quarterback? I believe so. I don't think they regret not taking Manziel because we're using hindsight of what we know now and not what we knew then.
Does Wilcox definitely open the season as the starter? Also, the 'Boys do not get enough credit for finding Barry Church and sticking with him. He has become a very solid player. Your thoughts?
Todd Archer (12:35 PM)
He opens camp as the starter but he'll have to win the job over the summer. I'm not sure how much he will be pushed by the guys behind him though. As for Church, I think you're right. They deserve credit for finding him. He's what you said - solid. Solid as a player. Solid in locker room. Solid guy. I like him.
Sorry, I'm running out of relevant ones. How much would you pay to see Trout as a RB in the NFL?
Todd Archer (12:36 PM)
what about safety?
the 4-3 is designed to get pressure with the front 4 but there is major concern about our pass rush. Is it likely that we will see more blitzing from our linebackers and are they capable blitzers?
Todd Archer (12:42 PM)
I believe so, but I'd also say Marinelli isn't exactly known as a guy who blitzes a lot. Now is that because he had Peppers, Melton and some decent defensive linemen in Chicago? Perhaps. But I think you'll see him send extra pass rushers more than they did last year. Does that mean they will be a heavy blitz team? No. They want to be sound but they'll take some calculated risks.
Could you see Caleb Hanie winning the backup job over Brandon Weeden? Any chance the Cowboys bring in another option? If so, who do you think?
Todd Archer (12:44 PM)
I don't see it. This is Weeden's job. And there aren't a lot of options out there right now to go get, so I don't see that happening. Hanie was OK in minicamp. He can be a good guy to have late in a preseason game to help everything function. Maybe he can play his way on to the roster, but now I think the Cowboys go with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster instead of three.
is romo really as fit as he says he is?
Todd Archer (12:45 PM)
Not only does he say it, so do the people around the team. Sometimes we get a sideways view if things aren't OK but we've seen none of that. He's good to go.
Todd Archer (12:46 PM)
Folks, thanks for all of the questions. Had fun as normal. I'll let you know about next week's chat if there's a time change. If you have more questions, send me one on Twitter (@toddarcher).