Mailbag: Why doesn't Tony Romo declare himself elite?

June, 23, 2013
6/23/13
10:36
AM ET
Let’s get right to your questions for this weekend’s Twitter mailbag. If I don't touch on your topic, feel free to hit me up @espn_macmahon.

@AboutTHEChu: Why does Romo himself not come out and say he's an elite QB like every other QB? It's like he lacks confidence?

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Is declaring yourself elite before the season now a prerequisite for making a Super Bowl run? I know Eli Manning and Joe Flacco both did it, but I’m not quite convinced there’s a correlation between the “elite” self-proclamation and a Super Bowl ring.

If Romo does it, it’s an easy headline and sports talk radio/First Take topic. He gets ripped for thinking he’s in Tom Brady’s class when Brady has three times as many Super Bowl championships as Romo does playoff wins. There really isn’t any benefit here for Romo, who is often intentionally mundane with the media.

The closest you’ll come to hearing Romo call himself elite is him insisting that he’s “not an 8-8 quarterback.” But rest assured that he doesn’t lack for confidence.

@StevieJ626: Punt return duties...Did Harris do enough to keep that job or will Dez have another crack?

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I seriously doubt that Dez Bryant will ever be used as a punt returner again. Maybe it’s a coincidence that everything clicked for him as a receiver right after he was stripped of punt return duties, but there’s no reason to mess with success. It’s a risk/reward issue, and his disappointing performance as a punt returner last season didn’t come close to justifying the risk of the Cowboys’ most dynamic weapon being injured.

And Harris makes the decision extremely easy this season.

Talk about seizing an opportunity: Harris ranked second in the NFL with an average of 16.1 yards per punt return, including a 78-yard touchdown that gave the Cowboys the lead in Philadelphia. He was everything the Cowboys hoped Bryant would be in that role.

@AdamWBritt: It seemingly took the Dallas D awhile to transition to Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense (if they ever did). Same transition period with Tampa 2?

It better not be. The Valley Ranch decision-makers have mentioned many times that Monte Kiffin’s scheme is much simpler than Rob Ryan’s three-inch-binder 3-4. They believe – and sure hope – that the pre-snap confusion we often saw during Ryan’s reign will be eliminated.

Jerry Jones even said that Kiffin’s scheme can be learned quickly by off-the-street free agents if injuries strike hard again.(As a Ryan apologist, I’ll point out that his defense didn’t look bad until Sean Lee went down, followed by Bruce Carter, and DeMarcus Ware had to play with one arm.)

Tampa 2 experts like Tony Dungy will tell you that Kiffin does need a transition period to get the right talent. The defensive tackles and safeties are the concerns.

@jlzbeef: Has David Arkin shown the coaches anything to think he may be a player, or is he just a camp body?

He might be a backup. He’ll need a good camp and preseason to stick on the roster. Arkin has been leapfrogged on the depth chart by Ronald Leary, who has a chance to challenge for a starting job. Arkin seems destined to join the Robert Brewster, James Marten, etc. line of mid-round O-line busts.

@v_valdez89: I keep hearing Dallas wants Matt Johnson to win the S job but J.J. Wilcox is a ballhawk. Could Wilcox win the job?

If the season started today, it’d be veteran Will Allen starting next to Barry Church, but Matt Johnson will definitely be given every opportunity to win the job. Wilcox will have to have a spectacular camp to be an immediate starter. They love his toughness, instincts and athleticism, but keep in mind that he was an offensive player until his senior season at Georgia Southern. The third-round pick has a lot to learn about playing safety.

@S_Villa23: How is Travis Frederick looking? Will we move him to guard and let Phil Costa start? What about Ronald Leary?

Frederick is the starting center unless something really goes wrong. Costa will be his backup. As I mentioned earlier, Leary has a chance to beat out Mackenzy Bernardeau or Nate Livings, especially if the veteran guards continue to be hampered by injuries.

@CBA_Haynie: Why is Alex Albright making everyone's 53-man roster predictions? Doesn't seem like a 4-3 guy at all unless it's at DE.

The more you can do, the better chance you have of sticking around. Albright can play middle linebacker, strong side linebacker or defensive end and is one of the Cowboys’ best special teams players. Heck, he even worked some at tight end in camp last year. Plus, he’s a classic Garrett “right kind of guy.”

@Keiricha: Will Jerry fire Garrett midseason and appoint himself interim coach?

I sense a little sarcasm. Let’s be real, though. Jerry isn’t going to subject himself to standing on the sideline during winter road games against the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. It’s Garrett’s gig until the end of the season. Jerry just might put a headset on and help out from his heated luxury suite.

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