Mick Wisselman, El Paso, Texas: I gotta tell you man, I was disappointed with Troy Hambrick's release. Me and you chatted a couple of times last season about Troy and Quincy Carter. I felt Troy was the scapegoat because opposing defenses never had to worry about the pass, especially passes over 10 yards (thrown). If anything, Quincy, who by the way seems to be a great guy, but a lousy quarterback, should have been the one cut. He gave me plenty of heartburn last year - throw it DOWWWN the field, even if it's incomplete. We needed to spread the defense. If Julius Jones becomes the running back that we need, Troy would have been a real good back up. He would have been a 1,200-yard back if we had had a decent quarterback. What do you think? Mickey: Well, that's certainly an interesting take, and one not many have provided. So you're saying, instead of Hambrick's inability to run the ball causing problems for Carter, it was Carter's inability to spread the ball down the field causing problems for Hambrick? There is something to that if you could actually see how defenses began crowding the line of scrimmage and the middle of the field. Again, as I wrote on Thursday, many of the excuses many of you out there provided for Carter have been eliminated. Now it's time for him to step up. But after giving a back 275 carries, you probably get a feel for him, and Hambrick proved he's no better than a backup because of his inability to make people miss. Robert Holdaway, Orem, Utah: I haven't forgotten how you hopped on the Hambrick bandwagon a couple of years ago. You spoke poorly about Emmitt (The Cowboys Greatest Player Ever) Smith, and many others opened the door for Emmitt to leave, thinking that Hambrick was far superior to Emmitt. Well, start eating some crow old man. People like you make me sick, flopping back and forth which ever way the wind blows. Mickey: OK, I promised myself this was going to be a good day, and I'd take all these letters in stride. But . . . sorry. You obviously have below average reading retention or can't read. If you go back and research, I was the one telling folks to be careful asking for Hambrick to get more carries; to become the fulltime back. I was the one saying sometimes a back looks good getting five to eight carries a game, but can't handle the load when it's 20 carries every Sunday. I was the one pointing out how bogus that 5.1-yard average was in 2001, that the 80-yard run greatly inflated his average. Now I don't mind being challenged here, and certainly there is enough ground for that. But don't come in here making stuff up, mister. Jason Booker, Bronx, N.Y.: This is like my 10th time trying to get my question answered. So here goes the 11th. Thanks to you, I understand why we didn't take Steven Jackson or Kevin Jones in the draft. You're right, if they were that good, they wouldn't have slipped to 22 and 29. And I apologize to Bill and Jerry for the not so nice things I said to them when they traded down in the draft instead of picking Jackson. But, please help me to understand this: So they went with Julius Jones. Fine. But then they release Hambrick? Don't get me wrong, I couldn't stand T-Ham, but now that leaves us where? Jones, and Richie Anderson, Cason and Erik Bickerstaff? Are they waiting to see what is available come June 1? I don't mind Jones, but he looks a little light, and what happens if he gets hurt? Are we just going to have to deal with the running back situation as it stands now and like it, or are there possibilities on the horizon still? Mickey: See, all you had to do was compliment me, and presto, here is your question. OK, kidding. Look, you realize I can't possibly read all the emails. Sorry. I think the Cowboys would have been fine with Hambrick competing for a backup spot on the club. But he sort of forced their hand, basically asking out after they attempted to trade him. Then again, attempting I guess suggests they didn't want him in the first place, so when he realized that, he figured it was time to leave. At this point, I think Parcells still is thinking running back-by-committee, and he sees Anderson playing a prominent role in the mix. But you're right, they are an injury away from having to go with a fullback fulltime at running back or relying on a young guy who probably isn't ready for 20 carries a game in the NFL. They are hanging out here some, and will keep their eyes out for an opportunity. Sam Hoar, Burlington, Vt.: Why did the Cowboys release Troy Hambrick? Obviously no team thought he was worthy of being a starting running back, so why not keep him as a solid back up? Who says Julius Jones is going to turn out great? Mickey: A bunch of you were on the same page on this one. That's what Hambrick's agent tried to tell him - to hang in here, and see how it works out. Hambrick didn't like his odds. There is no guarantee Jones will be all that, for sure. Then again, obviously Parcells didn't figure Hambrick was worth keeping at $628,000 for the season as a backup/special teams player. But look at it this way: Not having Hambrick sure forces the coaching staff to get Jones ready. There is no crutch. Rodney McDonald, Austin, Texas: A few of us here were arguing over what Carter would have to do, or rather, what he would not be doing in order to see Bill oust him from starting and pushing in this "veteran" we still have yet to sign. I argue that if/when his passing accuracy goes awry, resulting in interceptions, will be the time. A few others argue the fact that Bill wants checks in the win slot so he'd better be better than .550 through the first half of the season. So here's the question: What does Bill see as imploding? Mickey: He hasn't ever said. But let me take a guess. You are closer with your first suggestion than the second one. Losing doesn't totally reflect on the quarterback's performance. But if Carter is throwing needless interceptions, like he did that afternoon in Arizona, if he is not running the offense and not making proper reads, then that will get him benched faster than any one or two losses. It's the total picture, which is why I have been saying just because the Cowboys won 10 games last year does not qualify Carter as a proven starter in the NFL. Derek Wilson, Lupburg, Germany: Kerry Collins is a much better quarterback than Carter, and he is just sitting around out of work. Why won't the Cowboys bring him in for a year or two? He would make the team a lot more competitive while Drew Henson develops. What say you? Mickey: How much would you have to spend for that "year or two?" Does Collins want to be paid like a starter? If so, then you can't sign a guy for a year or two, unless he becomes desperate, and that hasn't happened yet. You would have to invest for like five years, and right now the Parcells is saying he has invested a year in Carter, now it's time to see if he has grown up. The Cowboys are betting on Carter improving against having to pay big bucks for a ready made quarterback who already has reached his ceiling. Greg Thompson, Lexington, Ky.: Throughout this discussion among us Cowboy fans as to whether Jones/Parcells should pursue a trade for Mike McKenzie, I've been a little surprised that all of the debate has centered on what McKenzie is worth, and completely left unsaid is, "Would Parcells want a guy like this who balks at a contract he signed, and thinks it's kosher to threaten to hold out?" To me, it all sounds very reminiscent of the Corey Dillon discussion of a few months ago, only to find out later that Parcells claims he never gave that option a serious thought, ostensibly because of Dillon's reputation as a head-case. Mickey: More than that, I'm thinking Parcells knows if a team is going to be successful for a long time under the current salary cap restrictions, it must hit on young players. You can't spend a first-round pick on every position, nor can you afford to give all 22 starters $10 million signing bonuses. Somewhere along the line, a young player making minimum has to contribute. (See Patriots.) This team already is spending top dollar on three of the starting four defensive backfield spots. Can you really justify all four when there are other areas of need, too? It's not a one-year thing, remember. Think long range, and understand the reason McKenzie wants out is because he feels he's worth a Champ Bailey or Antoine Winfield deal. He wants big bucks - salary cap bucks. Madril Smith, Killeen, Texas: Can you give me and the fellow Cowboy fans a little insight on our punting game? As I understand, we have three no-names on the roster as of now. Are we just going to go with one of those three inexperienced guys or is Bill just buying time until after June 1 for a reliable veteran? Last year I was happy that Jerry finally opened up the wallet for a reliable punter, only to have Toby Gowin perform terribly. In your opinion, did Gowin ruin it for future Dallas punters as far as contract dollars are concerned? Mickey: Not really. Parcells decided last year he wanted a veteran punter, and it just didn't happen to work out. As for the current situation, since you emailed me, the punting field was narrowed to two, the Cowboys releasing Josh Boies earlier in the week. That leaves first-year free agent Mat McBriar and rookie Ryan Flinn. At this point, yes, the thought is to go with the winner of that battle. If neither guy proves worthy during training camp and preseason, then they will be at the mercy of the free-agent market. But as for June 1, normally punters don't get huge signing bonuses, so it's unlikely anyone of note will be released then. Ted Michnik, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada: What's the feeling on the offensive line? Does it look like Al Johnson will be the man the Cowboys drafted? I realize this is pretty optimistic, but if Johnson is healthy, Larry Allen returns to even a shade of his old self, Andre Gurode rebounds, Flozell Adams plays like last year, the-big-man-in-the-middle-committee contribute and the draft picks develop, does this group not have pretty good potential as well as some depth? Now if all that actually happens, I think Julius Jones will be rookie of the year. Does this bunch have a chance to turn the O-line into a strength for the first time in years? Mickey: Oh sure, there is a chance. But you're sure asking for every question facing the Cowboys on the offensive line to be answered in the affirmative. At this point, Al Johnson appears to be rounding back into rookie form. At least the coaching staff thinks so, counting on him to be the starting center. The jury still must be out on Allen and Gurode, and who knows what's going to happen at right tackle. There are a lot of possibilities there, but until the pads come on, nobody really knows. So what you're saying, if the Cowboys go four-for four up front, then they've got themselves a helluva offensive line. Not many bat 1.000. Charlie Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.: Some guy jumped your stuff for not being an honest evaluator, and you ducked his question pretty good. Let's try it this way: What have the Cowboys done really wrong since Parcells took over? Mickey: Whoa big boy, you expect me to answer that? By the way, is that your real name? Well, let's start with keeping Reggie Swinton instead of Woody Dantzler. They are still trying to solve their return dilemma, and bet Parcells would rather have Dantzler now instead of all the maybes he'll take to camp. The Cowboys wasted cap money on Ryan Young, whose knee gave out and presumably that was one of the reason's Houston didn't want to invest in him. And in hindsight, as it turned out, keeping Flip Filipovic would have been as good an investment as signing Gowin for three years. How am I doing? And we'll find out this year, for sure, if choosing Carter over Chad Hutchinson was the right move. Will Hines, Lawton, Okla.: I hate to beat a dead horse, but can you explain to me why the Cowboys traded Joey Galloway for Johnson? Yes, I understand we need a possession receiver, but Johnson had all but signed on with the Cowboys. The Bucs were going to cut him anyway. So why trade for him? Makes no sense, unless Billy Boy just did not want him around. Mickey: Bingo! Only logical answer I can give you. Keyshawn would have signed with the Cowboys once he was released by Tampa Bay. But maybe the Cowboys didn't think they could afford to keep both Galloway and Johnson, which if they did would have cut into the development of Bryant. Again, look long term. Also, it's doubtful Galloway would have accepted the same cut in pay here as he did with the Bucs. But, that trade did not have to happen. Zeke Vega, Dallas: You're saying that Ty Law is 30 and that it will be unlikely for him to be playing corner at 34. Would you have said the same thing about Darren Woodson four or five years ago? Mickey: Well, I did say when he signed that five-year deal a few years back, that really it would only be a three-year deal. Hey look, at least Woodson plays safety. Corner at that age is a different story. Not many of those fossils still out there. Why do you think Philadelphia made a clean break from its Thirtysomething corners, Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent? Fabian Farr, Indianapolis: Could you give a synopsis between weak-side defensive end position and strong-side defensive end position? Who is better equipped to play those positions for the Boys? Mickey: Easy. The strong side is the side the tight end lines up on, and offenses usually are right-handed, meaning they like to run and throw right, so the tight end normally is on the right side. That would make the left defensive end the strong-side end, having to take on the tight end and the right offensive tackle. That guy has to be strong against the run; has to be able to push everything back inside. At this point, in the Cowboys' opinion, they really have two strong-side ends, but have decided to see if Greg Ellis, who has traditionally played the left side, can increase his sack total by playing on the weak side. So it appears Marcellus Wiley will go to the strong side. But I'd imagine Parcells reserves the right to change his mind if this doesn't work out.