We know the offseason has been incredibly busy for the New York Giants, who will field a 2014 roster drastically different than the one they fielded in 2013. What about the Giants' NFC East opposition? The offseason has been interesting for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, so let's try to get caught up.
Today we check in on the Cowboys. Blogging The Boys head honcho Dave Halprin joined me for an online chat, and we will bring it to you in two parts. Below, are Dave's answers to my questions. On Wednesday, we will bring you my answers to Dave's questions about the Giants.
Ed: Assess the Cowboys offseason for me to this point?
David Halprin: The loss of DeMarcus Ware is the headline. It will be interesting to watch how that turns out. Injuries had been severely limiting his game recently, it's unknown if he'll ever return to what he was. Dallas would have loved to keep Jason Hatcher, but not at the overpriced contract the Redskins gave him. Still, that left a bad defense even worse. Henry Melton's signing should help, and the cowboys added a lot of free agents and second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence to try and rebuild the defensive line, which was a huge issue in 2013. That's defense, on offense, all eyes will be on Tony Romo's recovery from back surgery.
Ed: Time marches on, I guess. I will be weird to see the Cowboys without Ware, just like it will be weird to see the Giants without Justin Tuck. Let me ask you a draft question. I was a little surprised Dallas didn't opt for defense in Round 1. How has the reaction been to the selection of Zack Martin? A guy, incidentally, I thought would wind up with the Giants.
DH: The Cowboys had three guys targeted on defense, but all three were taken before their pick at No. 16. The only other guy they had rated high at that point was Martin, so they did the smart thing and took him. Most Cowboys fans are excited by the pick. Dallas has been working hard to re-build their offensive line. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and now Zack Martin are making that a reality. The offensive line is actually turning into a strength instead of a liability.
Ed: Did you like the rest of what the Cowboys did in the draft?
DH: Not too sure about the trade up in the second round for DeMarcus Larwence. They desperately needed a pass rusher and they hope he will be one, but they gave up a third rounder in the process, a very valuable pick. So Lawrence better pay off to make that worth it. Fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens didn't thrill me, they could have waited and drafted him later, but 5th round WR Devin Street was a good value pick. They also picked up a bunch of guys in the 7th round, some have potential but who know. I like the top and end of the draft, but the middle part leaves me with some questions.
Ed: Finish this sentence (and expand as much as you want). The state of the Cowboys right now is ...
DH: Uncertain. Tony Romo's injury is a big factor. If he returns to form then they can keep building the defense and hopefully get back to the playoffs. If he never gets back to where he was, then they have a big problem in front of them. The good news is Dallas is making smarter decisions. Instead of paying huge money to guys like Ware and Hatcher (defenders over 30), they decided to pass and use the money elsewhere. They're starting to make better decisions.
Ed: Ah, that. My question is can they ever consistently make the 'smart' decision with Jerry Jones insisting on being the guy pulling all the strings?
DH: Over the last few years, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett seem to have a much bigger input into what is happening with the Cowboys. I don't know if this is just because Jerry is aging and is relinquishing some control or if he realizes he needs help (unlikely), but for whatever reason those two seem to have more input. Stephen Jones will someday run this organization and he is much more conservative and more about balancing the money and the players instead of just looking at the shiny object like Jerry.
Ed: Interesting. There is, of course, always talk about Jason Garrett and his job security. In fact, I read some of that 'Garrett has to make the playoffs to keep his job' stuff this morning. What's your take on Garrett at this point?
DH: I like everything about Garrett except for one thing, he hasn't lead us to where we want to go yet. He's organized, he demands accountability from the players, he keeps things on an even keel, he is extremely bright, everything you could want. But he's got to start winning big. As for the make the playoffs or lose his job talk, that's entirely possible, but I hate speculating on that stuff, it's just impossible to know without seeing how the season plays out.
Thanks to Dave for his time and his insight. Remember to look for Part 2 on Wednesday.