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Insider

How far Cowboys can go this season

5/23/2011

Adam Schefter answers readers' questions every Monday and Friday in his blog. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: With Tony Romo returning and a decent draft class, what do you think are fair expectations for the Dallas Cowboys next year?

-- Justin (Texas)

A: Not to sound like Jerry Jones or anything, but I think they are very high. I believe the Cowboys can compete for the NFC East title, and possibly a whole lot more. Making Rob Ryan the defensive coordinator is going to really help Dallas' defense, and Romo will be back -- and, I think, effective. If the team can manufacture a running game and improve its offensive line, the Cowboys have a chance to challenge just about anyone in the NFC. I see Dallas having a big year this season -- if, of course, we have football, which might be the more pressing question.


Q: Adam, are you as shocked by Donovan McNabb's silence as I am? Why doesn't he stand up and defend himself when John Beck (who has exactly one career TD pass) declares himself the starting QB for the Washington Redskins? Has he just accepted that he's going to be traded or cut?

-- Kevin (D.C.)

A: Of course he has, Kevin. McNabb and the Redskins are done with each other. It would be like some guy staking claim to a girl you dated for a bit but knew you didn't want to date in the future -- it might be a little awkward, but it's not something to get upset about. McNabb is looking forward to playing the 2011 season somewhere else. In the interim, Beck, Rex Grossman, or even Sonny Jurgensen can claim the Washington starting quarterback job. It's all just talk. Deep inside, McNabb is chuckling and saying "Get me out of here."


Q: The Denver Broncos loaded up heavily on defense in the draft. Do you see them attempting to add any weapons on offense via free agency (when it happens)?

-- Greg (Colo.)

A: I see them looking to add another running back, Greg. Not sure whether John Fox can recruit DeAngelo Williams to rejoin him in Denver or whether the Broncos look at another free-agent running back like Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams or Darren Sproles, but they need somebody. I think Denver spends some money at running back. It's about the only offensive position I can see them upgrading for now, though. unless they decide to trade Kyle Orton. Then they might pursue a free-agent quarterback as well. But again, it's going to be a long time before free agency. If we get it anytime in July, we'll be extremely fortunate.


Q: Chris Johnson didn't even reach 1,400 yards (on 4.3 YPC) after going for over 2,000 in the 2009 season. Do you think he will struggle this year in Tennessee, especially given that a rookie QB may be starting and Kenny Britt may be facing discipline from the league?

-- Dan (Ind.)

A: He looked a bit off last season, Dan, for whatever reason. Hard to say exactly why, but the entire Titans offense and team did. And usually when one unit struggles, another does as well. Teams keyed a bit more on Johnson, his offensive line didn't play as well as many thought it would, and the quarterback position really struggled, which enabled opposing defenses to bring extra men in the box. Johnson might struggle some again this season, but he'll also have plenty of huge days -- more good ones than bad ones -- and I'd still want him in my backfield any day.


Q: I was reading Football Outsiders' piece on the 10 most disappointing teams of the past 25 years and was surprised that the 2001 Minnesota Vikings weren't on the list. They went to the NFC Championship Game in 2000 and went from 11-5 that year to 5-11 in '01. Who would be on your top-5 list of disappointing teams?

-- Brenda (Ore.)

A: It's a tough question, Brenda, because there are so many. Each year there are two or three really disappointing teams, and to put five above any other would be difficult. All I'll say is this: The Super Bowl loser has struggled to return to the playoffs so often over the past decade. Each of those teams that came 60 minutes from hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy to not even sniffing the postseason the next year would have to be considered a major disappointment. Some of the recent Cowboys teams that were expected to be Super Bowl contenders but finished out of the playoff hunt also come to mind. There are so many it's hard to actually list them, but I'd go with the Super Bowl losers.