Cowboys Q&A: 'Ask BTB' Third Quarterbacks And Reasons '12 Will Be Different

Rudy, I'm trying to make a case for you on the 53, my man. Help me, help you.

We had some great questions in the latest call-to-keyboard for 'Ask Blogging The Boys'. Quite a few of them deserved in-depth responses from the front-page panel. We've already seen Coty Saxman start a three-part series answering a question about our NFC East foes; and a couple of the other submissions required lengthy responses.

In honor of that, and so you don't have to read over 4,000 words in one sitting; we're going to divvy up the questions throughout the week. Don't forget, the mailbox is always open so keep sending those questions in!

You can send an email directly to me at KDP10For10@gmail.com. If you have a quick, short-winded question, feel free to Tweet me @BloggingTheBoys. Use the hashtag #AskBTB so I know not to answer it directly on Twitter and give you a chance to be published in one of these articles. Remember to include your BTB handle in your correspondence!

Hi,

Is there a reason to not keep our third-string QB on the practice squad? I don't think either McGee or Carpenter would get much interest from any other teams, but is that the only reason to not stash a QB there vs. the active roster? Are there other factors?

Ian [Oh Hai Doggy]

Follow the jump for more...

Hi,

Is there a reason to not keep our third-string QB on the practice squad? I don't think either McGee or Carpenter would get much interest from any other teams, but is that the only reason to not stash a QB there vs. the active roster? Are there other factors?

Ian [Oh Hai Doggy]

[Ed Note]: Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter are not eligible for the practice squad, any third QB stashed on the PS would have to come from elsewhere.

Tom: Putting the third QB on the practice squad was basically the premise of my article on signing a developmental QB. It is definitely an option, because the team has Kyle Orton and the team may want to free up a roster spot to use somewhere else. Other teams have gone that route. If the Cowboys don't keep Stephen McGee or Rudy Carpenter, they pretty much have to sign an emergency option, and if he qualifies (most likely if they go with a rookie off waivers), then he could be on the PS.

KD: Here's my thing. Dallas chose not to have a third quarterback that is a young, possible future successor to Tony Romo. Signing a Kyle Orton doesn't just give the team the chance to compete should Romo miss 1 or 2 games; it was a move to save a season should Romo miss extended time. So if that horrible thought comes to fruition, what will happen if Orton gets dinged and has to come out for a series, or worse misses a game or two? Now, do I believe that Carpenter is a possible successor? Not really. Could he be a late bloomer and a feasible career backup? Why not? In this vein, I think Dallas would rather have someone like him, with extended knowledge of their system to come in.

The alternative, having a rookie that missed the entire offseason work and months of playbook study, in my humble opinion, is begging for disaster. Should Orton miss extended time, you'd probably need a week or two to integrate a street veteran into the lineup.

Why do media pundits think that the Cowboys will be greatly improved this year?

I have seen no major improvements in our team besides CB and it's my experience that unless you have an otherworldy CB like Revis adequate CB play is good enough. Was our CB play last year that bad that adding 1 good CB and 1 potentially great CB while losing 1 adequate CB is going to be good enough to get to the playoffs?

NYHorn

rabblerousr: In 2011, the Cowboys didn't fare well in the division. In division contests against the Redskins and Eagles, their offense struggled. On the other side of the coin, the defense couldn't contain either the Giants or Eagles. For the most part, this continues a pattern established in recent years. The Dallas defense has yielded 30 or more points in six of the last eight games against New York; the Cowboys are 1-5 in their last six contests with the Giants, despite averaging 28.5 points a game! Against the Redskins, the Cowboys offense broke the twenty point barrier only three times - and one of those was a loss. Although Dallas split its eight games with Philadelphia, the Eagles have been the dominant team, outscoring the Cowboys by an average of six points a game.

One of the reasons it's so hard to win division games is that the opponent knows you so well. A high level of familiarity tends to level the playing field by neutralizing the schematic advantages that can be exploited by less familiar teams. To borrow from Dennis Green, against division foes, you are who they thought you were. To my mind, the Cowboys' division record suggests who they really are: a .500 team that, thanks to some breaks and some good schematic work on offense, managed to eke out a 34-30 record.

Since 2008, the Cowboys have played 24 division games and sport a 12-12 record; the only season, 2009, in which they finished above .500 against division foes, they won the NFC East title. Although it's not mandatory that a team dominate its division to win such a title (the Eagles were 5-1 in the NFC East last year), it helps. As a consequence, a franchise's first order of business must be to build a team capable of winning its division. In recent years, the Cowboys have struggled to do so.

It does seem that the Cowboys braintrust recognizes this and is trying to fix it. Dallas has struggled against both New York and Philadelphia due to match-up problems with their CBs against the Giants and Eagles WRs; the answer is to create one of the league's deepest and, we hope, most talented group of corners. The Dallas offensive line has struggled against the Redskins 3-4 defense (and, it seems, all 3-4 defenses) in two areas: containing the pass rush from their OLBs and getting any push in the interior running game. Switching tackles Doug Free and Tyron Smith should help with this (I like Free against Kerrigan much more than I do against Orakpo); getting bigger bodies inside, in the person of Nate Livings and Mackenzie Bernadeau, seems to aim for more push inside.

These moves all make sense on paper; the question is: will they work in practice? Is it possible to improve the defense by upgrading at CB? Will the increase in size and strength be enough to give the O-line the juice it needs? If not, the Cowboys are going to continue to struggle in the division - and will be less likely to get out of it and into the playoffs.

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