After spending time chatting with coach Jimmy Johnson about Jason Garrett and the coaching change (Part I), I turned the subject matter to other Cowboys subjects. I threw some questions to Coach, he returned answers in a rapid-fire session.
Blogging The Boys: Suppose Jon Kitna remains hot and the team keeps winning. What do you do if Tony Romo is ready to play again? Do you make the change, or say you don't want to risk injury to Romo and stay with Kitna?
Jimmy Johnson: I would be ultra-conservative with Tony Romo. I would lean more on the side of not playing him this year. I just think with the record, and the way Kitna is playing, I think it's too big of a risk, and why make the risk when Tony Romo is going to be the quarterback for years to come.
BTB: What are you seeing in Jon Kitna that he's doing really well?
JJ: He's an experienced quarterback so you're not going to fool him. The other thing is he's an accurate passer,and a good athlete, I've been impressed with how well he's played not having played much the past couple of years.
BTB: Before the season, a lot of people discussed how much talent Dallas had on the roster. Do you believe that's still true, or were we over-estimating their talent-level?
JJ: No, I think it's still a very talented roster, I don't think anybody would disagree with me there. It is a talented roster.
BTB: With such talent, why do you think they came out and played so poorly this year?
JJ: I just think they got sloppy, they got a little bit complacent and they made mistakes. You can't make mistakes and win in the NFL.
BTB: I think we all knew Dez Bryant was going to be good, but he looks like he's more than just good. Is he the best receiver on the Cowboys roster right now?
JJ: There's no question in my mind he's the most talented receiver on the Cowboys roster. I think he's one of the more talented receivers in the NFL. He doesn't have the experience, but he's one of the more talented receivers in the league.
BTB: What are some of the things a wide receiver needs to learn on the pro level? We hear about how it's one of the harder transition positions from college. Why is that?
JJ: I think the college game has improved so much in the last few years as far as the route-running, as far as reading coverages. So a lot of receivers come into the league, not only receivers but quarterbacks as well, so much better prepared than in the past.
BTB: So the old saying about receivers might be changing?
BTB: How will we be talking about Dez in three years? Will we be saying he's one of the top three receivers in the whole league?
JJ: I don't know if we go that high, but he could be. He certainly has the talent to be there.
BTB: It appears Cowboys coach Paul Pasqualoni is calling a much more conservative defensive scheme. Less blitzes, more help in the secondary. Are you seeing the same? What's your take on a change like that?
JJ: He's playing more zone coverage which I really think helps. They got in a bad rut there of playing so much man-to-man coverage, people were taking advantage of it.
BTB: When you run this more conservative scheme it seems like tackling becomes very important if you're allowing the udnerneath stuff. The Cowboys were a poor tackling team, do you see improvement there, how would that happen?
JJ: When you're in zone coverage you are able to converge on the ball, I think it helps your tackling. When you're chasing receivers, you're not as good a tackler because you're not converging on the ball.
BTB: The Cowboys offensive line was getting worse by the week. Now, under Garrett, they're doing a decent job. They're actually running the ball effectively. How does that kind of turnaround occur?
JJ: I think Jason understood that they need to run the ball more, and so that's what they're doing. I think they've gotten better on the line, they had some injuries there early.
BTB: As of today, pick the two teams that will meet in the Super Bowl.
JJ: Oh I am the worst in the world at picking games, and as far as who is going to be hot at the end of the year. I am impressed by how well Green Bay is playing right now.
BTB: Are they the premier team in the league?
JJ: One week to the next, it changes every week.
Crown Royal, with the help of Jimmy Johnson, will be on a search for fans with a sheer determination and passion for winning and celebrating responsibly. The two lucky winners will each bring four of their friends on an all-expenses-paid trip to Dallas. Each team will receive a VIP tour of the stadium, meet the world-renowned cheerleaders, enjoy a celebratory meal and watch footage of their game on the Jumbotron.
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