IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.
In it we discuss:
Dealing with expectations
Training camp battles
The QB position
Offensive line vs. AFC East
If you want to see Part 1, click here.
Away we go:
@toddarcher: I was asked something like this a couple of times, especially when looking back to 2008 and 2010 when those Cowboys failed to reach the playoffs after making it the previous years. The 2008 team had a sense of entitlement from the beginning and fell apart from within at the end of the season. The 2010 team just played poorly even before Tony Romo broke his collarbone. That was an aging team. To me, the 2016 version is different because it's a young team that still doesn't know what it doesn't really know. And I believe coach Jason Garrett has a better feel for how to push the right buttons for a team that has experienced a little bit of success. There is always hype and high expectations around the Cowboys. Sometimes players need ear plugs and blinders to fight through it, but if the Cowboys don't make the playoffs this year, I don't think it will be because they bought into the hype and expectations.
@toddarcher: I had to go through this exercise in the camp preview and there aren't a lot of position battles in terms of starting positions. But what you bring up is a little different take. Last year, there wasn't much of a battle between the offensive and defensive lines in camp. The O-line won the majority of them each day. I think there will be a better competition this summer. As for Dez Bryant vs. Byron Jones, I don't know how much we'll actually see them compete against each other in camp. Usually these matchups are starters vs. starters so Bryant will see Orlando Scandrick or Brandon Carr more. There will be occasional matchups I'm sure, so it will be interesting to see two top athletes go against each other. I will probably watch a lot of Hardy vs. the line to see how he is coming along after missing so much time. Overall, I think the camp will be much more competitive when it comes down to the offense vs. defense drills.
@toddarcher: This isn't really an issue that is only belonging to the Cowboys. Do the Broncos feel confident if they lose Peyton Manning? The Patriots may have to play Jimmy Garoppolo at the start of the season. Are they confident? The same with the Saints behind Drew Brees. It's all relative. I believe Brandon Weeden will benefit from being in the same offense in back-to-back years for the first time in his career, but that doesn't mean the Cowboys will win if Romo goes down. As for Romo's health, this is as good as he has felt since 2012 so that has to be a bonus. I'm sure he will take days off for rest but the state of his back won't be a constant question.
@toddarcher: I hate to be a downer here, but I doubt it. Those will be some of the best fronts in football (save New England). The Cowboys' line is one of the best in football. They have all the pieces you want to have, but I can't say any team will dominate another. The talent difference from the best to the worst is razor thin. Miami added Ndamukong Suh and already had Cameron Wake. Buffalo has Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus. The Jets have a strong front and new coach Todd Bowles caused the Cowboys problems last season. I do think a big difference for the Cowboys' bid for making the playoffs will be playing the AFC East. Last year they swept the AFC South, perhaps the weakest division in football, in making the playoffs.
@toddarcher: I wish I could give you a great answer here. I've never been around Hardy. He's not talked since signing with the Cowboys. I know what his teammates and coaches say and it's all been positive. But what else would they say? From looking at his games in Carolina, you see a high-effort player. You see production. That will mean more than personality and attitude. Production matters most. If he produces, then he brings an attitude. If he doesn't produce, then not much changes to the Dallas defense.