Tim McKinley, Hampton, Ga.: It seems that some readers to this page either don't retain information or don't comprehend in the first place. All the signals were there prior to the draft. "We may trade down but not UP." Not exactly a quote from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, but pretty close. So, why the surprise? I was not surprised to see the Cowboys go 10-6 last year. I predicted 9-7 or 10-6. There's a thin line between 5-11 and 10-6. Last year we won close games. The years prior we lost them. However, to go to 12 wins and beyond (like playoff victories), it's going to take some more building for the future. Two No. 1 picks next year is a great move. Mickey: Makes sense to me, but you sure aren't in the majority of people responding to the Cowboys' trade-down out of the first round so they could have two first-round picks next year. You're most important point is the one about getting to 12 wins and winning playoff games. While the Cowboys did double their win total from each of the previous three years, they were losing those close games and very well should have won seven or eight games in each of those years. So the jump from there to 10 wins is not as great as jumping to 12. They do need more players, but are getting there year by year it seems. Scott Teague, Wilkesboro: You have the pick, the pick of any running back in the draft, the second most important person on the offensive side of the ball, and you trade it away? What was he thinking? Your pick of two super stars or two to three solid players? And you trade it away. Help me with this one. Mickey: I've tried if you guys would bother to read. Do not discount the power of having two picks in the first round next year. With two first-round picks, you definitely will get at least one superstar, if not two. But not a lot of superstars are found in the bottom third of the first round. Secondly, and I'm assuming when you say "he" you are referring to Bill Parcells, "he" didn't see a significant enough difference between the running backs selected in the first round and Julius Jones to forego the possibility of having multiple first-round picks next year. Also, if these guys the Cowboys passed on are sure superstars as you say, then why did 23 other teams pass on them? Can't be that "super." George Issaris, Athens, Greece: I have no problem with our top two picks, good value indeed. But why the guard in round three? Larry Allen is a Pro Bowler. Everybody "loved" Andre Gurode just two years ago. Matt Lehr and Gennaro DiNapoli can easily move there if needed. I think a physical corner or fourth receiver would have been smarter choices. Mickey: Well answer me this: What was the biggest weakness on this team last year? You guys all better be saying offensive line. The Cowboys needed an infusion of players there. First of all, don't know if you get the games in Greece or not, but Allen didn't play like a Pro Bowler last year, no matter his inclusion in the all-star game. Plus, you see what's going on this off-season between him and the club. There is no guarantee he is with the team opening day. As for Gurode, you are right when you say "two" years ago, because last year he seemed like a confused player at right guard. Parcells was just buying insurance against the possibility he has to replace one or both starting guards from last year. Stephen Peterman looks like one of those guys who can develop into a long-term player. Also, Lehr and DiNapoli should be no more than backups, and one must be the backup at center, anyway. Morrie Bernards, Vancouver, Wash.: I am by no means a football lord or am I a media critic. But it just seems you're rather safe on your answers pre-draft and after draft. I don't see you make a hardcore decision. It seems you dodge the bullet, ala the Cowboys front office. When someone asks how you feel towards a decision by the Cowboys, you play it off like you're a front office rep. Everything is always subject to analysis. What I'm trying to say is you're the one person we can get some real input on the Cowboys and it just seems you play it safe. You have frontline views and we really want to know what you think instead of another jury is out report. Tell us what you think of someone's skills before they gain 1,000 yards or before they fumble. Nobody expects you to be a guru, but they expect an honest analysis. You had the privilege to watch future Hall of Famers practice and play, so tell us how they compare really instead of taking the easy road, which means you're never wrong. Mickey: Sorry, I don't go off with irresponsible opinions just to illicit a reaction from you guys. This is journalism first in my books, not entertainment. And if I'm doing my job correctly, I rarely should be wrong. I would lose your trust. So there will be no mash-potato throwing here, hoping something sticks to the ceiling. If you are asking me if Julius Jones can run for 1,000 yards, I'll say if Hambrick came up 28 yards short behind that offensive line last year, then yes. So you don't want me to analyze things logically, but I see where you say you want an honest analysis. That's what you get. This ain't Jerry Springer, you know. Wade Dienert, Bismarck, N.D.: I wrote this before, so here it goes again. Enough with the Vinny (Testaverde) talk. We're going with Quincy Carter. He has earned the chance and deserves the full chance to prove what he can or can't do this year. Period. That is fine. It seems Drew Henson will get the look for the future, but still has to prove himself, which should well be. Tony Romo is somewhere off in the wings, which is where he should be until proven otherwise. Fine. But, letting Chad Hutchinson go and probably getting nothing when the team is so hell bent on gathering picks for the future just so Vinny Testeverde can back up for a year is assinine. Vinny would be a one-year solution at best, and we have all seen veteran backups lose games. If you have to be in a backup situation this year, let it be Hutchinson. Let him prove he can or can't do it. If he plays well in five or six games because of injury, and Carter plays well also, think of the market value of both! Mickey: Well, I've wrote this before, too, so here goes one more time. If Testaverde is brought in here, it's for backup purposes. He should be no threat to Carter, yet I don't understand why so many are worried about Carter being threatened. It's not like he still doesn't have something to prove. And you're right, chances are Testaverde would be a one-year solution at backup. But you know, that's what insurance is. You buy car insurance just in case, right? No one has said the Cowboys will give away Hutchinson, plus the Cowboys should have an opportunity to watch him the second half of NFL Europe and in camp to see where his development is. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said repeatedly Hutchinson could very well be the backup. Although, I will agree with you it would sure be nice to have a couple of tradable commodities. But until Carter proves himself, and Hutchinson convinces Parcells he can play at this level, there is nothing wrong with covering your bases. Chris Williams, Memphis, Tenn.: I'm just wondering, why are we getting all of these quarterbacks or rumored to get all of these quarterbacks when Quincy Carter more than held his own? It seems like he is getting most of the blame for the lack of offense, but if you look at it besides the interceptions, he was one of the top group of quarterbacks in the league if you look at his stats. I think he's due for a breakout year. So why the looking around? Mickey: See above. Insurance. Again, no one said the Cowboys are looking for a starter, and don't believe all those rumors you hear. But I don't know that Carter has proved himself to the point the club is set at quarterback for the next seven years. And I'd suggest you go back and look at those stats one more time. But you are right about one thing: Carter is due for a breakout year, and if he doesn't have one in his fourth season, then look for the Cowboys to start breaking in a new quarterback candidate. Karl Reese, Atlanta: Here we go again with all of these ingrates! Quincy Carter is the Starter, and that's that. He was given a chance, and whether or not any of you like it, he proved his worth. Ryan Leaf, who all of you, and Mickey, too, clamored for, bombed out. Chad Hutchinson, the quarterback that all of you love, lost out may I remind you, to Quincy, and is "developing" in NFL Europe. I don't understand why no one wants to give Carter a chance. It's not like they finished last in the division or league. Brett Favre was the most unorthodox quarterback to play the game when he was drafted. Look at him now. Philip Rivers is being called a phenom in the making and he is as erratic as Quincy, but I'll bet that you all want to have Philip, huh? In Carter's first full year starting, he took the Boys to the playoffs. I want Quincy to get better, too! I will be the first to admit that he was a bit erratic with some of his throws, but some of his other throws couldn't have been placed better. With Parcells' commitment to him and when his confidence grows, Quincy will undoubtedly be a perennial Pro-Bowler! You heard (read) it here First! Mickey: I sure did. Because I sure haven't heard (read) that anywhere else. Wonder why? Have mercy on us all for dropping Carter's name in the same sentence as Favre's. Please. Why are you in such a hurry to ordain Carter a perennial Pro Bowler? What's the hurry? Let him prove himself. But in the event he doesn't, and I see Karl you think that is remote, then you had better have other alternatives to fall back on, and not have to start from scratch. Isn't that the reason the Cowboys are in this quarterback pickle now, because their cap problems prevented them from grooming an alternative to Troy Aikman? You see what happens when you start from scratch? And about Leaf, my point was, if you really remember, the Cowboys had nothing to lose taking a shot with him. Hey, I guess you knew the guy's wrist would never be right again, huh? Brian Richardson, Big Stone Gap, Va: I understand why John Clayton (ESPN) said that the Boys bombed by picking Julius Jones, but why the fans? There is no way to judge how well Julius Jones will do until he hits the field. And I personally think that he will do well. He has steadily improved from high school to college, and now he has the chance to do it in Dallas. The guessing game of grading a draft is just that: A guess. Where are the Gino Torrettas, the Ki-Jana Carters, the Darnell Autrys? Where did the Corey Dillons (second round) and Curtis Martins (third round) and Amos Zereoue (third round) and Priest Holmes (free agent) for goodness sakes come from? Let's just see what Jones will do, OK? Mickey: I'm sure Julius appreciates some real home-cooking here. You probably have seen more of Julius than most of us since this comes from his hometown. The round should make no difference. It's the quality. I mean, it's not like the Cowboys passed on two top 10 picks. These were Bottom 10, and one guy would have fallen into the second round, too, had Detroit not traded up. So could all these teams have been wrong, but the know-it-alls right? As I've said, no matter need, teams do not pass on great players if they truly are great. Tim Birdwell, Nacogdoches, Texas: I think with Pete Hunter's size and speed, he could be an ideal corner opposite Terence Newman. His potential is definitely there and he could be a nice surprise this season. Do you think Bill Parcells has the same confidence in him or is he just out of options at the "7-Eleven"? Mickey: Both. I think Parcells has this inkling Hunter can play, and that he's ready. The thing about young guys is, you never know until you let them play. He's also thinking the gamble on Hunter hitting is a better one than the money you would have to spend on a free-agent corner who very well might miss. Did the Cowboys not gamble on Mario Edwards? Remember, he was only a sixth-round pick, and really never proved himself until the Cowboys basically ran out of alternatives in training camp that summer (2001) when Dwayne Goodrich ruptured his Achilles, Kareem Larrimore suffered a few more knucklehead attacks, Phillippi Sparks decided to retire again, lost Ryan McNeil to free agency and the Izell Reese experiment at corner failed. Cory Millet, Piqua, Ohio: I've been reading more and more that Bradie James is playing the same side as Dexter Coakley, and that he might compete for a starting job. Now why wouldn't the Tuna put him on the side of Al Singleton, who in my opinion is not a game-breaking player, but just a good player. Coakley made the Pro Bowl last year as an alternate, but still, making it counts. I don't see any reason to move him out of the lineup or to another position since he's one of the fastest linebackers in the game. Mickey: Coakley didn't exactly have one of his better seasons last year, and let's remember, the guy is turning 32. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Obviously Parcells sees James more of a weak-side backer than strong side. It's not about moving this guy or that guy out, but maximizing a player's talents. Those are two different positions, by the way. Gary Feeney, Tomkins Cove, N.Y.: I've heard that Parcells is interested in signing Marco Battaglia. Is this true, and if it is, why do you need five tight ends - six if you count Jeff Robinson? Mickey: The Cowboys brought in the veteran tight end for a workout/visit before the draft. But now that they drafted Sean Ryan in the fifth round, it would seem less likely the Cowboys would sign Battaglia, too. They are the same players. The addition of Ryan gives the Cowboys five tight ends, including Robinson, Jason Witten, Dan Campbell and James Whalen. Fabian Farr, Indianapolis: Please tell me, you guys are not letting Julius Jones wear Prime Time's No. 21? I don't think 21, 88, 22, nor 8 should be worn by any player. Mickey: Don't say you guys. I got nothing to do with it. Hate to break this to you, though, but Lynn Scott and Derek Ross already have worn 21. Plus, it's not like Sanders carved out his Hall of Game career with the Cowboys. He only played here five years. I'd say your service has to be much longer than that to have your number preserved, as those others you mentioned will be except for 88 since there usually are not enough numbers to go around to accommodate all the wide receivers and tight ends on a roster. Mike Geraci, San Antonio: In most of the backfield analysis I've read, Erik Bickerstaff is rarely mentioned. His role increased as the year went on last year, and I saw some much needed toughness. What are the chances of seeing increased playing time this year, considering the addition of Jones and that "others" seem to have worn out their welcome? Mickey: I assume "others" is Troy Hambrick. Bickerstaff must show continued improvement to be kept around for more than a practice squad guy. He was intriguing last year, but now he must be something, and will get his opportunity in camp. But as always with this stuff, follow the money. Jones will get the first chance. Clarence Harrison, Virginia Beach, Va.: Are the rookies going into the camps without the stars on their helmets this year as they did last year? I thought that was a neat motivational device for the rookies (you get your star when you've earned it), and I hadn't heard it mentioned this year. Mickey: Yep. None of the rookies had stars on their helmets during this past three-day mini-camp, so I'd say no stars for camp, just preseason games and then when the regular season begins. Names, too, are still being taped to the front of the helmets. Scott Smith, Marshall, Texas: Could you tell me if Parcells has Julius Jones as his personal water boy yet? Mickey: That, too. Julius Jones flawlessly brought Parcells water during the mini-camp practice breaks. But he hasn't developed the fist double thump Newman did last year after delivery.