Don't worry about Romo, playoff berth
Welcome to another mailbag as the Cowboys prepare to open their organized team activities Monday. Some of you are concerned about Tony Romo's commitment to football. Why? The man likes to play golf; what's the big deal? He plays basketball in a church league with Patrick Crayton, so what's the big deal? So here we go.
Q: Will the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs again? -- Ryan (Needville, Texas)
A: Ryan, sure the Cowboys will make the postseason this year. I have the team winning 10 games and winning the NFC East again. As far as going deep in the playoffs, that's going to fall on Wade Phillips' defense to create turnovers again. Last year, the Cowboys forced 21 turnovers and had four games when they didn't have any. That number has to increase in 2010 if the Cowboys expect to go further in the playoffs this year.
Q: Are the Cowboys seriously considering Alan Ball as the starting free safety this season? I don't think that he has the size or ball-hawking skills to last an entire season at the position. -- Earl Burke Jr. (Hempstead, N.Y.)
A: Earl, how are things in Long Island? Alan Ball will be the starting free safety, and while he's not as big (6-foot-1, 188 pounds) as even Wade Phillips would like, the team does like his ability to make plays in the secondary, and he's more athletic than Ken Hamlin was.
Q: Do you think the Cowboys have the personnel to win the Super Bowl? -- George Nasrollahzadeh (Dallas)
A: Yes, I do. They have two excellent pass-rushers -- Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware -- a good offensive line, playmakers at key positions such as running back (Felix Jones), wide receiver (Miles Austin), tight end (Jason Witten) and quarterback (Tony Romo). The secondary has two Pro Bowlers in Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman. The chemistry on this team is so much better than in years past that it can block out any distractions that might hit the team. The schedule, the third-hardest in the league, will be difficult to manage, but I believe the Cowboys have the personnel to deal with it.
Q: Why didn't Dallas try to pick up a quarterback to push Tony Romo, or do they still have plans to do so? -- Ken Darden (Houston)
A: The Cowboys had no plans to draft a quarterback or sign one in free agency. Jon Kitna is the backup, and while he didn't play last year, that might have been a good thing. It speaks to Romo's durability. Stephen McGee will get more snaps in the preseason this year, and the club is expecting bigger things from him. Romo is one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the game. Worrying about pushing him shouldn't be a problem. He's one of the first people at the facility on a daily basis, and the Cowboys have never worried about his work ethic.
Q: I would like to know do you think the Boys would be interested in a guard like Deuce Lutui from Arizona to replace Kyle Kosier being that he is in the last year of his deal and Deuce is a younger option that plays just as well? -- Jason Dennis (Baltimore)
A: I used to live on the west side and east side of Baltimore in my younger years. It's a good town. As far as Lutui? Nope. Forget about that. The Cowboys should try to lock up Kosier long-term, but the signing of Montrae Holland a few weeks ago could mean Dallas lets Kosier go. When Kosier missed 13 games in 2008 with foot injuries, the Cowboys realized how important he was to the offensive line when Cory Procter struggled with consistency.
Q: Do you think the Cowboys will adopt a more of a West Coast type offense? -- Robert (China Spring, Texas)
A: The Cowboys use a variation of the West Coast offense, derived from Norv Turner's offense from the Cowboys' 1990s teams. Jason Garrett was the backup quarterback on those teams, so he's taken things from that offense and implemented it here. The Cowboys are trying to develop a new version of the Triplets in Miles Austin, Felix Jones and Tony Romo. Roy E. Williams, or quite possibly Dez Bryant, can become the Alvin Harper of that offense.
Q: Do you think there's a possibility that there might be a controversy at the WR position now that Dez Bryant is there in Big D? I sense there might be a tension or rather an uncomfortable feeling among those three there. -- Isato (Parts Unknown)
A: Here's the deal: The Cowboys selecting Bryant was meant to add competition to the position, and if it creates tension, so be it. Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd have asked out, fearing their status with the club is in doubt. The only real controversy for me regarding the Cowboys' wide receiver position is when and if Dez Bryant becomes the starter.
Q: What is Tony Romo's playing situation for the OTAs this week? How is he going to mix golf and football? What is more important? -- Javier Tapia (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
A: Tony Romo is trying to qualify for the Byron Nelson golf tournament this week. He has to qualify Monday, but his tee time -- 9:57 a.m. -- conflicts with OTAs, which begin at 11 a.m. Romo has said he will pick football over any golf event. Now on Thursday, Romo has a chance to qualify for the U.S. Open, and that won't mess with his workouts at Valley Ranch.