By Mickey Spagnola
May 20, 2005, 3:12 PM (CDT)
Welcome to Mick's Mail, where at least once a week DallasCowboys.com Columnist Mickey Spagnola will answer some of the very best questions submitted via e-mail on DallasCowboys.com. If you would like to submit a question, click here, or go to Mick's Mail. And then don't forget to check
-in to see if your question is answered online.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Matthew Browning, San Antonio:
[/font]Does Bill Parcells have any thoughts of getting Drew Henson a small amount of playing time each game or does he plan to put him in when he is ready?
The plan is to treat Drew Bledsoe as any other starter. He plays, and then treat Henson, assuming he beats out Tony Romo for the backup spot, as any other backup. He backs up until a game is out of hand either way or there is an injury. Why would you do anything else? The object here is to win games. I think after this training camp and season we will know a lot more about what Henson will become.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Kevin McConnell, Waterloo, Iowa:
[/font]Just saw today that L.J. Shelton of the Cardinals was released. Any chance the Cowboys will go after him as an insurance
policy right tackle?
Not as this time. Read the Mick Shots in my latest column. I figured you guys would be all over this. While I'm told Shelton is in better shape now than he has been since Denny Green arrived in Arizona, the guy just isn't a big workout guy, and that won't float with Parcells. The Cards tried trading him to the Cowboys before and during the draft, and they were unequivocally disinterested. Now maybe if Torrin Tucker and Kurt Vollers just bomb in next weekends mini-camp they might change their tune, but for now, I'm guessing they are passing on the guy. But . . . you never know what a team might do if a guy is willing to play for dirt cheap.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Marcus Gresham, Corydon, Ind.:
[/font]If things go as planned, I think getting Chris Canty in the fourth round may be a coup. I recall you saying the Cowboys swung a deal with the Eagles to move up to select him. What did they give up?
The Cowboys gave the Eagles their fifth-round pick in 2005 and their fourth in 2006 for the Eagles' fourth-rounder in 2005 (Canty) and their sixth in 2006. Whew, got that?
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Bill Kemp, Sherman Oaks, Calif.:
[/font]Good one, Mickey! It's not often that a reference is made that I don't get! Can you tell us what a "Lis Franc" foot injury is, and how that applies to (one of the several reasons) why the 'Boys aren't interested in Lance Schulters?
My bad, I guess I threw that term out with little explanation and it's not exactly a common injury, especially in football. So I started doing some research and discovered it's indeed a rare football injury, and dates back to Napoleon days. Evidently French surgeon Lis Franc was Napoleon's surgeon, and this injury was common injury for soldiers on horseback getting their feet caught in the stirrup. The injury takes place in the midfoot area, involving the Lis Franc ligament, which connects a bone to the base of the second metatarsal - the long, thin bone next to the big toe. Not only is this a painful injury, it also is a long recovery. You just have to be careful with players in their 30's with foot injuries.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Shawn Boggs, Dallas:
[/font]Can you explain to us why Pete Hunter would rather play a back up cornerback than compete for a starting job at safety? What's he got against free safety?
I'm dumbfounded on this one, and hopefully when we see him next weekend during the mini-camp we can get his side of the story. But I'm guessing he's more comfortable playing corner, and doesn't want to chance changing positions in his last season before entering free agency. And I'm guessing he's been told corners make more money
than safeties. But I wonder if someone also told him, safeties make more money
than out-of-work corners.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Dave Starr, Las Vegas, Nev.:
[/font]Isn't all this concern about Woody's replacement a little premature? I don't want to take anything away from one of the great players to ever play the position, but if this front seven develops (and make no mistake folks, this group has the potential to be legendary), is free safety really that much of an issue? Isn't it gonna be difficult for Donavan McNabb to see down the field if he's constantly having to look out the ear hole of his helmet?
I'm sure that is the rationale here for not going out and spending big money
on a free safety. If you look at the history of the free safety position, the Cowboys have always had just a guy there, it seems. Cliff Harris made the club as a rookie free agent, as did Michael Downs. James Washington was a Plan B pickup. Thomas Everett was acquired in a trade. Brock Marion was a seventh-round pick. Izell Reese was a sixth-round pick. Omar Stoutmire was a seventh-rounder. George Teague was picked up for next to nothing. You starting to get the idea? And let's remember, until Roy Williams got here, Darren Woodson was a strong safety.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Jarrett Trusty, Euless, Texas:
[/font]I was curious about the status of Tyson Walter and what Parcells and his staff think of him. At Ohio State, he played tackle, but the Cowboys have never really seemed to view him as anything more than a backup center or guard. I was a little surprised that in Coach Parcells rookie camp press conference, he practically mentioned every lineman on the roster (even Ben Noll) as a possibility for the open right tackle spot, but didn't even mention Walter. In addition, if Gurode is going to compete at center, where does that leave Walter?
Basically competing for a backup job at center and guard. He's valuable since he can play all three interior positions, and in a pinch, could move out to take snaps at tackle. There is real value in a versatile guy like that. But as for competing for the tackle position, he's just not big enough, and that might sound strange, being 6-4, 300. I know he played tackle at Ohio State, but he just doesn't seem the tackle type in the NFL. Not tall and rangy enough to keep guys off him.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Paul D'Amore, Boston:
[/font]Why are the Cowboys holding on to guys like Greg Ellis and La'Roi Glover? They're good players, but it seems they don't fit Parcells' 3-4 scheme and they're taking up cap space. It doesn't look like Glover is going to get time with Jason Ferguson here now, and there is Marcus Spears who could get an opportunity if Ellis is gone. If Spears doesn't work out they could just slide Willie Blade into that spot.
You were doing well until you mentioned Blade. He's out, remember. Blade tore his Achilles during NFL Europe training camp. Who knows, he may never play again. Now then, don't be so sure these rookies just step in and start from Day One. And let's remember how valuable Ellis has been to this team. I'll find a spot for him, no matter who I've drafted. And I'm willing to make a little wager with ya on Glover: He plays. He will be on the field, and with the rotation I think Parcells envisions, Glover might have one of his best pass-rushing seasons. He'll be much more fresh, not having to play like 70 of 72 possible plays, as he was repeatedly last year.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Mariano Farias, San Antonio:
[/font] How come we have so many players? I mean come, on seven tight ends and nine tailbacks! Aren't you all wasting too much money
No. First of all, NFL rosters expand to 80 players plus NFL exemptions in the off-season. Secondly, only the top 51 base salaries at this point count against the salary cap. And finally, nobody in the NFL gets paid any salary until the season starts. So the only money
being "wasted" on all these guys would be whatever signing bonus they receiver, workout stipends and training camp per diem. So if you are going to get bent out of shape about something, better pick another topic.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Scottie Montford, Cordele, Ga.:
[/font] If we judge drafts three years after they actually happen, we notice that this is Year Three for Bill Parcells' first draft class in Big D. From the looks of it, we are going to have four starters from that draft on the team this year. Could you review those picks for me because I can't remember picks 5-7.
Let's see, his first draft would have been in 2003, and from the looks of things, starting should be first-round pick Terence Newman, second-rounder Al Johnson and third-rounder Jason Witten. Fourth-rounder Bradie James will be given every opportunity to start inside next to Dat Nguyen in the middle of the 3-4 alignment. After that, B. J. Tucker is gone, Zuriel Smith is back, trying to catch on as a fifth receiver/return guy and Justin Bates is long gone. But if you go four-for-four with your first four picks, that's pretty darn good, especially since one already has been to the Pro Bowl.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Kyle Nance, Washington D.C.:
[/font]Are the Cowboys going to settle on keeping Billy Cundiff this season? I hope they are going to bring in some competition at least. Billy is a decent kicker but doesn't have much deep range. He was nine of 13 from 40-49 and none of two from 50+ yards. It seems like they don't have that kicker that can really nail the ball on kickoffs, either. Any chance of them bringing in a big leg?
Well, that competition will come from Brett Visintainer, a rookie kicker out of Fresno State where he was pretty good on kickoffs. I'd say the biggest knock on Cundiff would be consistently getting his kickoffs deep enough. As for field goals, look, how many 50-yarders in a game do you actually attempt, even if you can hit them? At the end of halves, desperation attempts at the end of games? Normally, coaches hate to attempt 50-plus yarders because a miss gives the opponent great field position. Yep, he must be better from 40-49, where he was nine of 13. But I remember one hitting the upright and another just missing. So say he hits one of those, and he's 10 of 13. That would be 77 percent from that range, which is pretty good.
[font=Arial,Helvetica]Anthony Nguyen, Arlington, Texas:
[/font] With his size and speed, do you think Dat Nguyen really fits into Coach Parcells' 3-4 defensive scheme? He already let the other "small" linebacker go!
I guess he does since the Cowboys balked at trading Dat to New Orleans in a potential trade to acquire defensive end Darren Howard. You can handle a smaller linebacker inside on the 3-4 than you can a Dexter Coakley on the outside in the 3-4 since those guys must be big-time run-stoppers, too. [font=Arial,Helvetica]Seth Ross, Dewitt, Iowa:
[/font] Do you think the reason they passed on Cory Hall is that they are waiting for someone to become available on June 1? Such as Lance Schulters or any other possibilities? Plus I hear that the reason they didn't sign Hall was because he didn't look that impressive. Mickey:
Well, you got that part right about Hall. Heard he ran like a 4.8. And it's not as if there are a bunch of teams knocking down his door to sign him. Not sure if they will be after Schulters or not, but know the Cowboys weren't high on him when he was drafted. And as I said earlier, beware the foot injury belonging to DB's.
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