Grizz from Blogging the Boys shot me a few queries and I did the same to him. Find his answers below and a huge thanks to Grizz for setting this up. I don't read Cowboys Blogs, plural, I read Cowboys Blog, in the singular, and his is the one. Whether you hate or are indifferent towards the Cowboys, BTB is a worthwhile daily stop, even for Redskins fans. Here we go:
Blogging The Boys: I consider it a rivalry game and probably always will. The history is so rich and the hatred so ingrained for the older generation of fans that for them, it will always mean a little more that just a regular season game. Having said that, the rivalry worked so well in the far past because both teams were shooting for the playoffs, and the Super Bowl. Both teams were elite in the NFL. Lately, neither franchise has done much in terms of the NFL landscape and that takes away a little of the heat. We need both franchises to become good again for the rivalry to really take off for a new generation. As I found out on my blog, a lot of fans who came of age with the Cowboys over the last 10 years or so seem to have more intense feelings for the Dallas-Philadelphia game. Cowboys fans really hate the Eagles now.
HH: Roy Williams, Pro Bowler?
BTB: Depends on what you're asking me. By a strict definition, he's a Pro Bowler because he goes to the Pro Bowl every year. But the selection process for the Pro Bowl is influenced by name and reputation as much as ability and on-the-field production. To me, it's just a fun thing that doesn't really gauge a player's worth or status. Roy Williams as a Pro-Bowler doesn't mean much to me; it's his actual production that concerns me. Besides, I don't really keep up with every safety on the other NFC teams - of course I know Taylor and Landry - but really, evaluating the strong safeties on other teams is not something I do. So I can't speak intelligently about exactly where Roy Williams stands in the pecking order of NFC strong safeties. But, as I wrote recently, I think Roy is actually playing a better, smarter brand of football this year. He's making sure tackles and getting into the correct position on defense instead of loading up for the big hit or trying to make the highlight reel. Wade Phillips has also found a way in passing situations to utilize him as a linebacker instead of a cover deep safety.
HH: The Cowboys are even better than they were offensively last year. There was a presumption that the defense would get better (and it has) as Phillips would be willing to use the personnel in a more creative manner than Parcells. How much of the offensive improvement is credited to Jason Garrett? Is he the real deal?
BTB: I have to believe that Jason Garrett is the real deal. The Cowboys offense is better this year even though last year we were among the league-leaders. A lot of that credit goes to Jason Garrett. He's an aggressive play-caller that wants to score on every play, but he's not reckless, he is smart enough to take what the defense is giving him. He tends to probe early in games to see what the defense is doing and to give Romo an opportunity to see different looks from the defense. But once he's got it figured out, he will exploit it the rest of the game. He will utilize whatever player on offense he thinks has the better match-up and from week-to-week that player, or players, can change. Plus, his rapport with the players and his professionalism with the media have all the hallmarks of a head coach. If he's not the Cowboys head coach post-Wade Phillips - whenever that may be - I'll be disappointed.
HH: Marion Barber the third or JJ? I'd take MB3.
BTB: MB3 is the better back.
HH: How do the Cowboys lose this game? What, if anything, worries you about it?
BTB: I'm worried every week. This is the NFL, a team can go down in flames on any given Sunday - or Monday, or Thursday. We're a team that has to overcome mistakes to win, so far we've done it pretty handily, but there's always the chance we won't. Tony Romo is like his idol Brett Favre, including wanting to make something happen on every play. So, like Favre, he will turn the ball over on occasion, usually though, he more than makes up for it with the rest of his play. In fact, if Romo is on, and he's been on almost every game, our offense is too much for the opponent. We also make stupid penalties, I'm sure we're still the most penalized team in the league, and we can make them at the worst time. In general, the Cowboys have the potential to beat themselves in every game. It's hard to say how you'd beat the Cowboys this year without their own mistakes helping, unless you do what the New England Patriots did and that's simply to out-perform the Cowboys offense.
Unfortunately, I can't stay long to chat up the game. I am headed to Dallas within the hour to attend the game on Sunday to support Your Washington Redskins. I will enter hostile territory garbed in Redskins gear hoping to escape without having anything broken over my head. That shall not deter me. I will make arrangements for someone to get an open thread up on the weekend and will try to return with tales of victory. Until then, have a safe weekend and Hail to the Redskins.