It is the Friday before the New York Giants face the Dallas Cowboys in HUUUUUUUUGE NFC East game on sunday at MetLife Stadium. That means it's time for our 'Five Questions' segment, this time with Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys.
Ed: From here it seems like the Cowboys have missed an opportunity to really take control of the NFC East thus far. They probably should be a couple of games better than 5-5. Would you agree with that?
Dave: No doubt about it. The Cowboys have had a couple of opportunities to put real distance between themselves and the rest of the division and have blown it. The Lions game is probably the one that most Cowboys fans fixate on, Dallas had that game in the bag and through a combination of mistakes and stupid decisions gave it right back to the Lions. They also lost to the Chiefs by one point in a game that could have easily gone their way. And they played Denver even right down to the final minutes, that was a game they could have won and might have changed the trajectory of their season.
Ed: What do you make of Jerry Jones saying Jason Garrett will return next season regardless of what happens the rest of the way? Is he blowing smoke, or is he serious?
Dave: I think a couple of things are going on. One, Jerry was caught a little off-guard with the question and threw out the answer he thought he should at the time. He really, really wants Jason Garrett to succeed, partly because it's good for the Cowboys and partly because it would make him look smart for hiring Garrett. Second, I think Jerry really believes the Cowboys will play well over the last six games so there wouldn't be any reason for him not to keep Garrett. Jerry is the eternal optimist and I don't think he's even conceiving of the possibility the Cowboys tank over the last six games. But if they do tank, he could easily change his mind.
Ed: What is your take on the Giants at this point? After an 0-6 start are you surprised the Cowboys are facing them in a game that has this much riding on it for both teams?
Dave: I never really thought they were as bad as their 0-6 record indicated. And Tom Coughlin is a proven winner, so I always expected that the Giants would eventually get around to winning some games and looking like a decent football team. I didn't think they would end up winning four in a row so I didn't expect them to be back in contention for this second game against the Cowboys. But given the state of the NFC East and Dallas' inability to seize control of the division early on, here we are in a huge game for both teams.
Ed: What, if anything, is different about the Cowboys from Week 1? Personnel changes, style changes, etc.?
Dave: One big thing is you guys won't have to face Sean Lee, he's the quarterback on defense and is one of the Cowboys best players. That's a huge blow for Dallas. Given all the issues Dallas has had on defense this year, that certainly won't help. The one thing the Cowboys defense does well is create turnovers, and the hope is that a healthy DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher will give the pass rush a little more bite. On offense, things have kind of stalled. There has been plenty of speculation as to why that's happened, but personally I think it's because Tony Romo has been in a slump since the Denver game. I'm hoping the bye week will be the tonic he needs to come back refreshed and ready to put up big numbers again.
Ed: The Cowboys perennially seem to put themselves in position to win the division or make the playoffs, but more often than not in recent years something ends up going wrong. what is your confidence level that this season will be different?
No real confidence that this season will be any different. The Cowboys team so far this year has done nothing that seems to be significantly different from previous years. The only thing you have is hope, hope that this year they will find their stride down the stretch, that somehow the team will start playing winning football. But there's no reason to expect it, only to hope for it.
Thanks to Dave for the time. Check out my answers to his questions, and play nice while visiting with the Cowboys' fans.