Joe DeMayo, Connecticut:
I am going to answer all of the questions you put out because I am quite opinionated on about all facets of the organization and how it runs. I am of the belief that everything in this league is built from the trenches (O-line and D-line). You don’t win games purely on your skill players, though I think Super Bowl contenders do tend to have their share of skill players. That is one thing that Dallas DOES possess. They have a quality QB in Tony Romo regardless of what people say about him. They have Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Mo Claiborne, and Brandon Carr as well. Given the scheme of the 3-4 defense that Rob Ryan runs I feel like the best possible fit for Dallas ideally would be at the nose tackle position. I do not know if Jay Ratliff will be back, but if he is he NEEDS to move to defensive end. That is the only way his career will extend, as a 3-4 5-technique end or as a 4-3 defensive tackle. A guy I have my eye on is Georgia NT John Jenkins. He is a massive load at 6-5 360 that will require two blockers and force running backs to the outside which should in theory be the Cowboys strength with Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware as well as Bruce Carter and Sean Lee’s ability to almost cover sideline to sideline. Carr also is a pretty good tackler at the corner position, and I think that is something Claiborne needs to work on, being more physical in the tackling game. If he does that while a guy like Jenkins mans the inside I think it would be rather tough to run the ball on this defense.
Hi Cass, seems as you took the time to write an article, I figured I’d have the time to respond (slow day in the office) Hope you find my thoughts worthy of discussion. A – Given that the Offense managed to function with an average O-Line, I would lean towards adding defensive pieces specifically along the D-Line. The other side to that argument would be, when Carter, Lee, Chruch, Scandrick, Coleman and a fully fit Ware come back the defense should be a much better unit, and therefore should allow us to add supplementary defensive linemen later in the draft. If Chase Womack is available around No’18 id jump and get him. Other wise best player available out of graded D-Line and O-Line prospects. I would also look to add a safety, running back, wide receiver and corner back in the later rounds of the draft. Mark Harrison
Kevin Moore Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Jerry Lindsay, Stuttgart, Germany (Born and Bred in Euless, TX):
I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan since birth 48 years and counting.
O-Line is the biggest need in this draft, so I’m thinking trading down in the first round and picking up a center or a right tackle is the way to go.
Frank, New York:
I used to respond to some of your articles on Dallas Cowboys.com , I can’t do that anymore because I am not a member of facebook. I went under the name Defense 28. I think your articles are great. Now we have until April to wait for the draft. Happy New Year. O line, with the D line not to far behind.
Great Read Cowgirl!!! I just wanted to write a little about a few questions, I had. First goes for Mo Claiborne, I’ve rooted for him since day one, but its hard for me to say he did better than Janoris Jenkins and Casey Heyward from the Packers. I dont know if that 2nd round pick was such a wise choice. As, far as Tony goes, Im good with Romo. The offensive line was a mess all year, and it was messed up in free agency when Jerry just grabbed two quick lineman in Livings and Mackenzy B. We def need to draft one or two guys this year to fill a guard position or to be groomed into one. Since we lost to Washington I’ve been all over the internet looking at draft reports and mocks for 2013. Some guys Ive notice and liked are the safety from Lsu Reid and for the offensive line, I think Chance Warmack would be an awesome road grader lineman we need. I know this draft is gonna be heavy with offensive and defensive linemen, and I was just wondering who you have been looking at and some sleeper studs that may be hiding. I hope we can get some better organization in our offense, if it takes getting a new coach then so be it. I really hope Rob stays for the Defensive unit. Love the fire and passion he puts into his job, and its only a matter of time before many of these young guys start to follow him, if not already are. I’m wondering if we can let Miles Austin go, because for the last few years he has never healthy and these young guys we drafted look really nice. Also feel we need to finally need that power running back, not saying Demarco isnt good, but he has his issues and we need a Alfred Morris for our team. Thanks for all the hard work and time you put in Cass !! I be tuned into twitter and espn to check with your reports all through out the year!!
Brad Austin, The Landry Hat:
Just a few quick comments on Tony Romo and his offensive line. On PFF, all o-linemen used by the Cowboys were credited with allowing a total of 36 QB sacks and 75 QB hits.(I edited these numbers with official NFL stats not PFF stats.) Doesn’t sound all that bad. Not until this stat…Tony Romo was hurried 184 times on the year.How many other QB’s would have taken only 36 sacks from his o-line yet been hurried 184 times? All the while still posting 4903 passing yards, 65.5% completions, 28/19 TD/INT ratio, and a 90.5 QB rating? I say there are less than 5 QB’s in all of the NFL who could pull that off with what he had to deal with. So many fail to realize not only does intense pressure make you try to escape, it also erases all your downfield reads. You have to almost start completely over reading the defense when your eyes return back downfield from the monster breathing down your neck that you had to spin away from.
It’s very easy not to see a linebacker baiting you or a safety playing possum when you didn’t have the chance to follow his movements for a full second somewhere within your progressions.
Throw on top a highly inept running attack few teams had to respect with more than their base front, and Tony Romo had to deal with unbelievable disadvantages.
I can’t even imagine the sack totals talented yet immobile QB’s like Tom Brady or Eli Manning would have absorbed behind this atrocious offensive line. I assure you it would have been a 50/50 bet at best that neither would have made it to Week 16.
Gio in Ca:
The greatest need in the draft is a real Gm who understands player evaluation and understands building the team through the draft. This team over already 20 million and we have about 17 players who are FA. If we let these player go, their 1/3 of the turn over already. Spencer and John Phillips are part of that group. Doug Free,Miles Austin and Ratliff are not.
Jake Sander, Chicago IL:
Offensive line: Warmack in the NC game looked like a difference maker.
Dan Terry, Des Moines Iowa:
Offensive line, Offensive line, Offensive line, Offensive line, Offensive line. Thanks for the opportunity to answer your questions i have been following the Cowboys since Tom Landry roamed the sidelines and it kills me to watch this edition and hope some changes are made.
Ian F. King:
I read your “10 Questions for Cowboys fans” article linked by Bryan Broaddus on Twitter. As a 26-year-old fan that has bled blue my entire life, I was inspired to answer all ten questions. My commentary is pretty in-depth and extensive. I don’t claim to be a fan or even a football expert, however the business side of sports in combination with the performance aspects of players and coaches is of high interest to me. I refer to sports in general as my “first love” and as an international business major getting ready to graduate this May, I’m always looking for ways to combine my love of sports with my business awareness. Your questions seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to not only exercise my writing skills that I rarely get to exhibit nowadays, but also a chance to play “fantasy general manager” for the team I love the most (since I know the current GM will never give up his job no matter how bad he is at it). I hope you enjoy my commentary. Feel free to respond to my answers enclosed below as warranted. Thank you for the inspiration in the form of your article! =)
>> (in this order) OL, DL, S
OL: #1 b/c if Tony Romo has enough time to play backyard football with Witten, Dez, Murray and maybe Harris & Beasley, he’s averaging 300 yards & 2 TDs minimum for the season. Also because it’s statistically proven: when Murray gets more touches, the Cowboys get more wins and that means he needs a stellar line to block as much as Romo does.
DL: #2 b/c if Romo & the offensive attack had a legitimate, good, becoming-great O-line with the same patch work defense that existed this year, they could have realistically strived to at least reach the divisional playoff round. Plus, DL is less of a premium than OL these days.
S: #3 b/c this team already has two pretty good safeties (Church and Sensabaugh) that could be great if given enough time to play together, and actually play their position (^1) and truly get in-sync making secondary calls and direction. I’m not sure either one of the supposed starters or any of the numerous back-ups-turned-starters are the long term answers at safety. Might as well keep your options open.
MY IDEAL SCENARIO: Boys trade down to acquire 2 additional picks in addition to their current 6 for a total of 8; draft pick usage: 3 OL, 3 DL, S, TE
(^1) Sensabaugh is made to drop from SS to FS EVERY SEASON because the starter at FS gets hurt and Sensabaugh is faster, bigger, stronger and smarter than the backup FS — but not better than the lost starting FS. IF — and this is one of he biggest “ifs” on that iffy defense — Church stays healthy, the entire defense would be much better off. But you could say that for the entire LB core, half the DL and half the DBs for this team.
Cas, pretty sure you aready know my take on all these question but here goes. Entire O-Line is priority 1, D-Line and running game next.
As you can clearly see all of the fans are in agreement that the trenches are whats lacking the most. I just hope that Jerry Jones got the memo. If you can’t win at the line of scrimmage, you wont win many games.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: All of the fan submissions were published as received and therefore are unedited.