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CHARLES BRANCH AUSTIN, TX: Is it premature to assume this was Terence Newman's last season as a Cowboy? Is it worth the risk trying to start a rookie corner, or potentially overspending fir a free agent? They will come with some warts, too.
Nick:You are right about that. That's why you probably have to either draft one high (first or second round) and probably get some help in free agency, too. I think it's a pretty good assumption to think he won't be back, only because of the money the team saves to let him go.
Josh: I see your point there, but how could they expect to get better with him returning in the same role? His contract won't allow them to make him, like, their fourth corner. It's too clear he's regressing, and the team needs to be looking for young playmakers in the secondary. That was really the point I made in a blog on Thursday - it says something about the other guys back there that Newman led the secondary in both interceptions and pass breakups.
TIM KOSTAL SIOUX FALLS, SD: Do you think if the Cowboys had kept some of their older offensive lineman, they would have protected Tony Romo better?
Nick: There's probably something to be said for that. I'm sure Gurode would've played better than Costa and Leonard Davis was probably better than Bill Nagy, and who knows about Dockery or Holland. But for the money they saved, the Cowboys simply thought the production was much closer than the savings, which is why they did that. But I think you're right about Romo being protected better. I think Tyron Smith played better than they could've expected from Marc Colombo.
Josh: Well, the stats sort of suggest that. Romo had been sacked only seven times in more than five games played in 2010, but was dropped 36 times in basically 15 games in 2011. Of course, the older guys had other problems, like run blocking, and the line did get better in that area. At some point the team was going to have to move on from those expensive veterans. The rebuilding effort continues, however.