Twitter mailbag: Cowboys feel good about offseason

IRVING, Texas – Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys’ Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss:

@toddarcher: That's why you heard Stephen Jones say "it's all coming together," for the Cowboys. They have had a productive offseason because of everything you mentioned. It would have been a grand slam had they kept DeMarco Murray. And I keep going back to this: had Frank Gore not backed out of his contract with Philadelphia, then Murray almost assuredly would've been back with the Cowboys. I do think too many people are minimizing Murray's worth to this team. For all of the "meat on the bone" talk from Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson this week, I'm half expecting somebody to say Murray never should have been tackled at all last year. Do I believe Murray left some yards on the field? Yes, but I also think he created a lot of yards on his own as well, especially with those dirty runs. That's what the Cowboys will miss most and they will have to find out if Murray's replacements have the fortitude to get the tough yards when the box is loaded and everybody in the stadium knows he's getting the ball.

@toddarcher: I think the defense has a chance to be a lot better than ranked 19th in the league. Top-five good? No. Not yet. Near the top 10? Perhaps. But I do think they still need the offense to be as efficient and as effective as they were last year. Every defense is aided by a scoring offense and an offense that hangs on to the ball. Even with the talent added to this defense, I don't know if it's a unit just yet that you can rely on to win games 17-10. I was given a little grief for saying the Cowboys lost some key parts from last year's defense, like Bruce Carter, Sterling Moore, Henry Melton and some others. No, those guys weren't irreplaceable, but Carter led the team in interceptions, Moore led the team in pass breakups and Melton was second in sacks. They weren't perfect, but I want to at least see a padded practice from their replacements before I go on record saying the Cowboys defense will be transformed in 2015. They have questions. Having Sean Lee back helps. Adding Greg Hardy helps. Adding Randy Gregory helps. More action for Crawford, Rolando McClain and DeMarcus Lawrence helps. But it's impossible to really know what's going to happen.

@toddarcher: I think they will give it a try during training camp and perhaps into the season, but I don't know how easy it will be. The Cowboys have to make it enticing enough for Tyrone Crawford to sign and buy out his free agency before he can have a killer season but not be so high that if he doesn't have that killer season they are left overpaying him. It's a balance. The Cowboys might have extended themselves a little on Dez Bryant's contract in terms of the guarantee, but mostly they have done deals in recent years that are "team-friendly." You're right about the earlier they sign him, the better, but they can always use the franchise tag on Crawford next year if he has a big season and they can't come to an agreement on a deal during the year.

@toddarcher: Let me put on my suit of armor before answering this question: No, I don't. I don't think Ryan Williams makes the 53-man roster. I just don't see how he takes snaps away from Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden or Lance Dunbar to make it worth having a fourth tailback on the 53-man roster. Could I be wrong? Sure, and if I am, I'll say so. Williams did fine in last year's preseason work but there's more to running than just, well, running. The coaches have to know they can trust you in every situation. Backup runners have to be able to help on special teams. I'm not so sure Williams can. And people seem to be ignoring his injury history. Sean Lee has an injury history, but we've seen him excel when he has played. Williams doesn't have that track record. He averaged 2.8 yards per carry in five regular-season games. Remember, he missed time this spring with knee troubles, although they're unrelated to his patella surgery from a few years ago.

@toddarcher: The Cowboys will give La'el Collins the chance to win the left guard spot from Ronald Leary. They'll make sure they split the snaps so each will have a chance to make a claim to the job. Personally, I think Leary wins the job. He's better than people think. He can move well enough and he's strong. As far as the incumbent or youth argument, I'll say this: Leary is only 26, so it's not like he's some grizzled veteran. This isn't like having Kyle Kosier or Leonard Davis at the guard spots, like a few years ago. This might be too long ago for some fans out there to use this analogy, but I still don't believe Sugar Ray Leonard beat Marvin Hagler in their fight. He didn't do enough to beat the champ. To me, Collins will have to beat the champ in order to win the job.