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oj atogwe cowboys | The DC Times

The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football


Mailbag: 5/8/10 (Alex Barron, OJ Atogwe, Jammal Brown)

Q:  The Bobby Carpenter/Alex Barron trade is going down on Monday, pending physicals.  What are your thoughts on Barron?  Will he compete for the starting left tackle job or just be a swing tackle?

Steven Frederick, Austin TX

A: We did an analysis of Barron’s 2009 stats and a comparison to Flozell Adams a few days ago.  Barron has been about average during his time in the NFL.  Last season, he gave up less sacks and quarterback pressures than Adams, despite protecting for a quarterback who moves as well as Roger Staubach does right now.  However, Barron also racked up 14 penalties–one more than Flozell.  Unfortunately, penalties have been a trend thus far in his career.

Overall, we gave Barron a ‘C+’ overall grade.  Is he an upgrade over Adams?  Maybe, maybe not. . .but he is at least younger.

We expect Barron to compete for the starting left tackle job in camp but ultimately lose out to Doug Free.  Free played fairly well at right tackle last season (we gave him a ‘B-‘ overall grade), but his athleticism and footwork are better suited for the left side of the line.  The loser will most likely be the primary backup to both left and right tackle.

Even if Barron isn’t an All-Pro-caliber player, his addition is important because it actually provides insurance for two positions.  Had the Cowboys not addressed the backup tackle spot, Leonard Davis probably would have kicked outside in a pinch.  This would force either Cory Procter or Montrae Holland into the lineup at guard (yikes!), and Davis wasn’t exactly stellar at tackle during his pre-Dallas days in Arizona.

Q:  How do I sign up for regular e-mail updates from Dallas Cowboys Times?

Fictional character I created for this question

A: You can register with Dallas Cowboys Times here.  Don’t forget we are also selling our entire 2009 Cowboys film study database for just $14.99.

And if you are really in a giving mood, feel free to make a donation to our training camp fundraiser.  This will allow us to attend and report live from Cowboys training camp this season.  Our goal is $1,000, and we have already raised nearly $200.  Thanks so much to all of you who have already donated!

Q:  Could the trade with the Rams for Alex Barron open the door for their free safety, O.J. Atogwe, to come to Dallas?

John Coleman

A: Well, remember that the Cowboys wouldn’t talk to the Rams about Atogwe.  He is a restricted free agent until June 1, meaning he is free to sign with any team.  If Dallas is interested in him, they likely have already talked to his agent and will make an offer on or shortly after June 1.

Jammal Brown is a solid player, but unlikely to come to Dallas in 2010.

They could also sign him now without giving up a pick, but the Rams can match any offer.  It doesn’t seem like a long-term deal between Atogwe and the Rams is on the horizon, so it is smart for teams to wait it out.

Despite the lack of activity surround Atogwe right now, we are still projecting him to be a Cowboy in 2010.

Q:  Jason LaCanfora speculated that the Cowboys could have interest in another free agent offensive tackle–Jammal Brown of the New Orleans Saints.  How likely are the Cowboys to acquire Brown and would he be a good fit in Big D?  Thanks!

Joe Williams, Aurora, CO

A: Brown is unlikely to come to Dallas in 2010.  First, he is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cowboys would have to trade for his rights.  He is a decent player, but probably not worth whatever New Orleans is seeking.

Secondly, the Cowboys would have to then sign Brown to a long-term extension.  With all of the confidence the team has displayed in Free so far this off-season, it seems improbable that they would just give up on him by signing Brown.

Further, Brown may not even be an upgrade over Free.  Remember he missed the entire 2009 season due to injury, and he wasn’t all that outstanding prior to last year.

With Alex Barron almost certain to become a Cowboys on Monday, the team is most likely finished upgrading the offensive tackle position.


Mailbag: 5/4/10 (Alan Ball, OJ Atogwe, Dez Bryant, Victor Butler)

Q:  Do you see the Cowboys having a problem at free safety?  Do you think either Alan Ball or Michael Hamlin are ready to start?

Michael Burns, Dallas, Texas

A: We gave Ball a C+ overall grade for his limited action in 2009.  Solid backup?  Yes.  Starter-worthy production?  Probably not.  We aren’t thrilled that, as of now, Ball will be the Cowboys’ opening day starter.  Our lack of total trust in Ball is one of the reasons we didn’t like the release of Ken Hamlin.

The Cowboys are excited about second-year man Michael Hamlin.  He has yet to play in a game, though, so he is really an unknown commodity.

We still believe the Cowboys will sign a veteran free safety before the start of the season.  We have even projected current Rams free safety O.J. Atogwe to be that guy in our 53-man roster/depth chart predictions.  If Dallas is interested in Atogwe, they are likely waiting until June 1 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.  If no action appears imminent shortly after that time, expect the Cowboys to let Ball and Hamlin duke it out in camp for the starting gig.

Q:  Do you think all of the pressure that is being placed on Dez Bryant (receiving #88, all of the post-mini-camp hype) is good or bad?

Pete Garza, Tucson, AZ

A: The pressure is really inconsequential.  Any professional athlete (particularly a first round pick) must deal with a ton of pressure under any circumstances.  Dealing with high expectations is simply part of the job requirements.

Bryant should feel honored that he was given #88.  It is a sign of respect for his skills and projected future success.  However, it is unlikely to affect the way he plays.  It isn’t as if he will be running a route thinking “Oh man, I better catch this ball because I’m wearing #88.”  If anything, it will make him work harder in the offseason to live up to the hype.

More important for Bryant than dealing with pressure is not letting the early success go to his head.  The coaches and veterans like Michael Irvin are doing a nice job of reinforcing to Bryant that he has a long, long way to go.

Q:  Do you have any suggestions for where to buy Cowboys tickets?  Thanks!

Multiple people

A: If you live out of town and want to make a trip to a game, we recommend CowboysCorral.com.  They have excellent game packages and customer service.

Q:  Who would start at outside linebacker if either Demarcus Ware or Anthony Spencer got injured?  The Cowboys seem pretty weak at that position behind the starters.

Jim Weller, Sahuarita, AZ

A: If either player gets injured, second-year player Victor Butler would likely start.  We recently graded the outside linebackers and Butler received a ‘C.’  He is an adequate pass-rusher, but currently has a long way to go before he becomes a complete outside linebacker.  We anticipate him coming into the season a bit heavier and a lot stronger after a year in the conditioning program.

Needless to say, the Cowboys could be in trouble if either Ware or Spencer goes down for a significant period of time.  Watch out for this sleeper:  Curtis Johnson.  We expect him to make the final roster and compete heavily for the primary backup role outside.  He played defensive end for the Colts before he was released and signed by Dallas last season.