Thanks to Dave for taking the time. My answers to his five questions are up over on Blogging The Boys.
1) If you had to choose one man to keep next year, who would it be: Tony Romo or Jason Garrett?
Halprin: This one is easy for me, Tony Romo. I know that Romo has faults, but following the team week after week leads me to believe that many of the Cowboys problems are far from Romo-related. But when Romo screws up, he does it on a grand scale and everybody remembers it. Still, Romo is not what is holding this franchise back from success. I'm not ready to totally give up on Jason Garrett, but I think he's had plenty of time to show what he can do and so far it's a mixed bag. He's done some very good things in bringing accountability back to the players and he has them concentrating on the right things during the week. The problem is he has made some terrible decisions on game day and his ability to manage the whole team is questionable. Take last week for example. At some point he has to put his foot down and say "Run the ball" no matter what Bill Callahan and Tony Romo want to do. There's no debate for me, if forced to make a choice Garrett goes.
2) The Jerry Jones Question; 575th edition: Has he learned on the job enough to warrant the responsibilities he has given himself, or is he still an impediment to the development of the Cowboys' organization?
In my opinion, Jerry Jones continues to make a mistake by keeping himself as general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. It hasn't been working well for two decades and he fails to see that he's part of the problem. As an owner, Jones does everything he can to make the Cowboys winners, and he does a phenomenal job of marketing the team. He'll open the checkbook for anything the team needs. But his ability to judge talent and his long-term planning are not his best qualities. If I had one real wish for the Cowboys it is that Jerry would finally hire a general manager AND give that person real power.
3) Who would win in a Hall of Fame vote right now: Jason Witten or DeMarcus Ware?
That would be a close vote. DeMarcus Ware would probably win because he played his career at one of the glamour positions in the NFL, designated pass rusher. He's made big hits and spectacular plays that tend to stick with people. Plus, in his prime, he was absolutely one of the best pass rushers the game has ever seen, so he's definitely Hall-worthy. Jason Witten's career is a study in consistent excellence. His ability to continually get open and make catches without having spectacular speed, quickness or leaping ability has been perplexing defenses for a decade. He's also a very good blocker, a true two-way tight end unlike some of the other big-name tight ends who are basically big wide receivers. So both should be in the Hall, but deciding between the two is very tough.
4) Do you see the NFC East coming back strong in 2014 or do you think it will be mediocre for at least another year or two?
The way the NFL operates these days, teams tend to go up and down very quickly. The NFL has lost it's true dynasty teams even though the Pats are trying to hold on. So predicting the future of a team, let alone a division, is tough going. I can't really make a prediction on this that would hold any merit. The Eagles look to be ascending while the Cowboys are treading water. Will RGIII return to form? Is Eli Manning really going to continue a decline or will he come back? I truly have no idea.
I guess I would have to see a little more of Kirk Cousins to make a true determination. The evidence and sample size on him in the NFL is so small that you can't truly extrapolate yet. I do know that when RG III is healthy, he's very hard to contain. The running ability of RG III sets him apart from most QBs in the NFL and as long as he remains healthy, the combination of run/pass makes him a tough opponent. Of course he has to be able to throw the ball credibly for the run/pass abilities to really make defenses uncomfortable. At this point based on what I know, I'd rather face a healthy Kirk Cousins than RG III.