IRVING, Texas – Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys’ Twitter mailbag is ready.
In it we discuss: the left guard starter, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, the benefits of an owner/GM, and the starting linebackers.
Away we go:
@toddarcher: The Cowboys have not been shy about making their rookie offensive lineman starters. They did it with Tyron Smith in 2011, Travis Frederick in 2013 and Zack Martin in 2014. Of course, the Cowboys had replaceable parts at right tackle, center and right guard those years. Ronald Leary has done a solid job in his two years as a starter. He remains an ascending player. Jason Garrett likes to say the best players will play. I would make Collins earn the spot rather than trotting him out with the first team on the first day he practices. Collins has some position flexibility in that he was a left tackle at LSU. While scouts aren't sure he can play there in the NFL, he might be able to get in the mix at tackle if not in 2015 but the future.
@toddarcher Will Leary be the Day 1 starter for camp now that Collins has signed? #cowboysmail- August (@OuttaHerrrrreee) May 7, 2015
@toddarcher do you see the Cowboys looking at Chris Johnson? #cowboysmail - Manny (@Manny2Hotty) May 6, 2015@toddarcher: I don't see them looking at Chris Johnson at all. OK, maybe not "at all," but only if they suffer injuries to their current running backs. On a conference call with season-ticket holders during the week, Stephen Jones said Johnson is on their short list. That's a nice way of saying, "no thanks." He is not the same runner we saw with the Tennessee Titans. He ran for 663 yards and one touchdown last year for the New York Jets. He is 29 years old. He's a declining player. And for those wondering, I would give the same answer on Ray Rice.
@toddarcher: I wouldn't write anything down yet with the running back spot. It's too fluid. I made a bold prediction - well, I thought it was bold - that Joseph Randle will run for 1,200 yards in 2015. So that should tell you who I think gets the "bulk" of the carries this season. The Cowboys will go with a committee approach at running back. I don't think you will see a guy come close to 300 carries. It could work out better for McFadden to be a committee guy. He's not been able to stay healthy for most of his career. To me Randle is a better fit for the scheme and showed in small doses he has a feel for the Cowboys' scheme. There is a lot more to playing the position than just running the ball, but to me Randle should be the guy.
@toddarcher should we expect McFadden (or someone not yet signed) to take the bulk of the carries? #cowboysmail- Leach (@leachmusic) May 7, 2015
@toddarcher Does having owner/GM give slight edge in drafting? Since he wont be fired for risky but poss. steal like Gregory #cowboysmail - Corey Thudium (@CThudium) May 7, 2015@toddarcher: I know Jerry Jones believes that is one of the benefits of him carrying the general manager title. There is the benefit of having the guy who writes the checks and the guy making the final decision being the same guy. It cuts down on wasted time. But is it an ideal structure? I think there can be an argument made otherwise given the lack of playoff success around here since the 1990s. But I believe Jones' risk comes from his business sense. He made his living taking risks that paid off and he correlates that to taking risks in football and winning.
@toddarcher: I'll answer this question by taking injuries out of the equation this offseason. To me the starters should be Sean Lee at weak-side linebacker, Rolando McClain at middle linebacker and Anthony Hitchens at strong-side linebacker. But the starters don't matter as much as what happens in the nickel defense. The Cowboys are in their sub packages more than their base defense. Do they keep McClain on the field for all three downs? Do they go with Lee and Hitchens? They have time to figure all of that out this summer. As for Keith Rivers, I'm not sure where he fits or how he fits. He has a minimum salary benefit contract so there isn't a large cap payout there. I think he'll be in the mix on the strong side, but he has to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
@toddarcher who do you think are the starting LBs when the season starts? Where does Rivers fit? #cowboysmail- Luke Ford (@avonford) May 7, 2015