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Mailbag: Was Center The Position That Needed Addressing?
WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, OH
Phil Costa at center was a pleasant surprise. Injuries killed last year for him, and yet of all the issues on the O-line, the one addressed was arguably the one needing the least amount of addressing. What have I missed here? Do we have that much confidence in the oft injured guards or the giant question mark at RT? Or is it just that I do not know enough about the young guys coming up?
Rowan: I don’t think you’re wrong. When it came to the draft, though, the Cowboys wanted the best player available that could help on the offensive line at the spot they selected at. After much deliberation, they believed that played was Travis Frederick and that they didn’t lose much from a talent standpoint based on the offensive linemen available by dropping back in the first round. Still, in terms of grading the needs position by position on the offensive line, it could certainly be said that other areas needed more fixing than the center spot. The belief is that strong center play will allow the rest of the line to play better, but no doubt it was risky not to take another guard or tackle.
David: Wish I had a better answer for this. The Cowboys obviously liked Costa enough to extend his contract, and that was well before Travis Frederick entered the picture. Hopefully Bernadeau and Livings will enter training camp at full health, though it’s hard to feel confident after both of them spent most of the spring sidelined. It seems like a lot of people in and around Valley Ranch are high on Ronald Leary, and it’s always possible that either Frederick or Costa could wind up as a guard for the time being. We’ll have to see how it shakes out.
Do you think Dez Bryant and Jason Witten's numbers last year are somewhat inflated due to how much the Cowboys were forced to throw the football? Should we take this into account when comparing production to this year, especially if we have a good run game?
Rowan:Yes, they were. A lot of their stats were accumulated in the second half and fourth quarters of games when the Cowboys had to air it out to mount a
comeback. It’s a bit ironic that the worse their statistics are next year, the better the team might be. That wouldn’t mean they regressed in talent. If the Cowboys get early leads that the defense can hold, the reliance on the passing game can lessen.
David: There’s no denying the Cowboys threw a boatload of balls last year. Tony Romo’s 648 attempts in 2012 was his highest career total by a full 98 throws. But that’s not to say those numbers are inflated. This is a passing offense, as evidenced by the fact that Romo has produced two different 1,000-yard receivers in five of his seven seasons as the starter. Even when Dallas had a 2,100-yard rushing offense in 2009, Miles Austin chalked up 1,320 yards while Witten posted 1,030. The receivers will get their yards, regardless of how well the Cowboys are running the ball.