Does the fact that the Cowboys have five players going to the Pro Bowl indicate that they have talent, and the coaching just needs to get better?
Rowan: Not to take anything away from any of the players going because they all had stellar seasons, but let's keep in mind three of them were alternates and only two were initially selected. Plus, five solid players won't win a championship. There's 17 more starters total. Only one of those players that made it, Jason Hatcher, came from the defensive side and depth was lacking on both sides of the ball. That's not to give the coaches a free pass and the play-calling on both sides left more to be desired, but sometimes the evaluation of the talent can be skewed or misconstrued.
David: I certainly think the Cowboys have talent. You look around the roster and see Romo, Smith, Bryant, Murray, Hatcher, Lee, Ware – there are definitely some incredibly talented players … at the top. The problem is, I'm not sure how deep it goes. The 49ers lost Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati and All-Pro linebacker Navorro Bowman to gruesome injuries during Sunday's NFC Championship Game, but they had quality players to fill in. The Cowboys' five or 10 best players are top notch, but the rest of the roster needs addressing.
Why do you think there has not been a move made at defensive coordinator? The defense was awful. I understand injuries play a role, but there were too many times we just flat weren't competitive. Do you think changes are coming or is Monte Kiffin getting one more chance?
Rowan:It certainly sounds as if Kiffin will get another chance, which leads one to believe that the front office and the general manager believe the players are solely to blame for being the worst defense in the team's history. Given how Rob Ryan was quickly shown the door and wasn't offered any immunity despite a slew of injuries, I'm surprised to see [embedded_ad] injuries be offered as any sort of excuse this time around. The takeaways were greater this year, but that's the only statistic to point to as a positive from the 2013 defense, which never got to see its full arsenal in place.
David: This is just a guess on my part, but it sure seems like Rob Ryan's rejuvenation in New Orleans had an effect on Jerry Jones. The Saints' woes on defense have lost them a lot of games, even with an elite trigger man like Drew Brees at quarterback. That sounds incredibly familiar to the situation Tony Romo found himself in the past two seasons. After seeing his old coordinator find success, it seems like Jones doesn't want to once again pay for a knee jerk reaction.