You know the drill. Blogging the Boys exchanged some questions with me and his answers are below. Enjoy:
Blogging the Boys: Two guys who for sure won't be playing are WR Terrell Owens and C Andre Gurode. You can also pretty much count out NT Jay Ratliff and CB Terence Newman. Reserve safety Pat Watkins might also be out. After that, you'll see a lot of backups mixed in with some regulars. Tony Romo will probably play for a quarter to a half and Terry Glenn should play some of the game, maybe the first half or so.
HH: On any other year, you show me a 13-2 team that's already clinched home field throughout the playoffs playing as well as the Cowboys, and I'd tell you that team has a very strong chance of winning the Super Bowl. But this year is different given who you'd have to face (in all likelihood) at the end of the postseason: the Patriots. Are these Cowboys destined for a Super Bowl victory? (Ignoring that they won't beat the Redskins in the playoffs)?
BTB: I don't know what were destined for, but I wouldn't mind getting another shot at the Patriots. We actually were leading them late in the third quarter and it was a competitive game until the final eight minutes or so. We were also playing with major injuries in our secondary and had to cover Wes Welker with a little-used reserve. They definitely put us away at the end but with a few breaks here and there we could get the job done.
HH: Cowboys offensive-defensive MVPs... I'd take Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware. How off am I?
BTB: Well you're dead-on with Tony Romo. He is the straw that stirs the drink. Sure, he has a lot of weapons at his disposal and a solid o-line, but he makes it all work. On defense, it's probably DeMarcus Ware but I'll make a case for some other guys. MLB Bradie James has been a machine this year stuffing the run and has also added the blitz to his arsenal. He leads the defense in tackles. OLB Greg Ellis has 12.5 sacks in only 12 games while Ware has 13 in 15 games. And while not MVP worthy, FS Ken Hamlin has righted a secondary that used to be porous and made it respectable even though we've had injuries back there. But Ware is the man, no doubt.
HH: I'm sure you are tired of this excercise but I want to hear it from a knowledgeable Cowboys fan. I was of the opinion that Bill Parcells was the best thing that had happened to the Cowboys in a long time, but the year he leaves this team has nearly unprecedented success and has a chance to fail at history this weekend against my Redskins (with 14 regular season franchise wins). Was Parcells the problem? Is Wade Phillips winning with his team, or was I just wrong about the Tuna?
BTB: I'll try to make it compact and with relevant details. Parcells took over a franchise that had fallen apart with three consecutive 5-11 seasons and immediately coached them to the playoffs. But he knew that the roster, as it was constructed, wasn't going to go any further. So he built a roster of his own players and he re-built a franchise, giving it structure and an expectation of winning again. But, we kept having December swoons and we fell short of our goals. So in some respects, he never accomplished what he set out to do. Theories range from he worked the players too hard and they were tired and beat-up in December, to he was too conservative on offense and defense, or that his coaching style wore thin on the players after a while. Wade Phillips, on the other hand was a breath of fresh air, both in style and aggressiveness on the field, and the roster immediately took to that. Wade rests players throughout the year and he's an optimistic realist. He gets the lion's share of the credit. Parcells re-built this franchise and built this roster, but it took Wade to make it reach its potential.
HH: MB3 is averaging 5 yards a carry and Julius Jones is averaging 3.7 yards a carry. At every stage of his career, MB3 has either matched or surpassed by magnitude what Julius Jones is able to accomplish on the ground. In 2005 they both had 3.9 YPC. In 2006 it was JJ's 4.1 against MB3's 4.8. This year it's even more pronounced, 3.7 for JJ and 5 for MB3. The only reasonable argument I recall for why MB3 was doing so much better than JJ was that he was getting the better carries, though now he's carrying the majority of the load and has succeeded over JJ more than ever. What gives? Isn't MB3 the better of the two running backs? Can I assert that confidently in argument?
BTB: There's no doubt that MB3 is the better back. The Cowboys keep doing it this way because it's been working. They are winning and they'd just assume leave well enough alone. But you can confidently assert that MB3 is a superior back.
Not a pretty job, but someone has to do it, and I'd choose him over anyone else.