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5 Questions Cowboys @ Titans

Earlier this week I sent Dave Halprin of Blogging the Boys 5 questions about the Cowboys and he sent me 5 questions about the Titans.  Here are the questions Dave sent to me about the Titans with my answers.

1.  Who should Dallas be preparing for, Kerry Collins or Vince Young? Or a combination of both?

Unfortunately Collins.  For some reason, Fisher has deemed Vince Young not ready.  Collins has been terrible.  Part of this is not his fault but the organizations for not bringing him in until a week before the season started.  He has absolutely no rhythm with his receivers.  VY has shown flashes of being great and made some rookie mistakes when he has been in there.  He (VY) still gives the Titans a better chance because he can move around and make plays when the line breaks down.  People say Bledsoe is a statue but Collins makes him look like Michael Vick.  There have been multiple plays this year where the pocket is collapsing and Collins just tucks the ball and waits to get sacked.  He has to have everything go perfectly to make a good play.

2.  Besides the play of the QB, what has been the biggest factor in the Titans 0-3 start?

The next biggest factor in the 0-3 start is the lack of playmakers on this team.  VY will be a playmaker.  Until he plays, the Titans don't have a consistent playmaker on offense.  Chris Brown looked like he could be 2 years ago but he can't stay on the field, Drew Bennett has shown flashes but he is inconsistent and David Givens has the ability to be but he is still learning the offensive timing after missing most of camp with a bad hammy.  On defense we have Bulluck and Vanden Bosch but that is all. "Pacman" is a big playmaker on special teams but has not shown the ability to be that at corner yet.

3.  What can you tell us about the injuries to the offensive line, and how well have they played this year?

Guards Zach Piller, Eugene Amano, and Benji Olsen all have injuries that will keep them out of practice for most of the week.  Fisher said on Monday they will all be game time decisions.  I would guess that Piller will be out and Amano and Olsen will play.  If one of those 2 cannot go right tackle Jacob Bell will move in to play guard and rookie David Stewart will play right tackle.  If 2 of those 3 cannot play then you should prepare for VY because Collins will get hurt in the 1st quarter.

The line has played ok so far and with Bell starting a tackle for the first time in the NFL and Roos with his first year a left tackle, I expect the line to get better as the season goes along.

4.  Is Jeff Fisher's job in jeopardy? Could he be fired or could he leave after this year?

Fisher's job is definitely in jeopardy.  If this team ends up with 2 or 3 wins, which is entirely possible, I don't think owner Bud Adams will bring him back.  Fisher is under contract through the 2007 season but the 2007 season is a team option so it will be all up to Adams.  Adams recently sent Steve Underwood to Nashville from Houston to monitor how things are going.  I don't think Fisher would leave on his own because he has been here through the salary cap blow-up.  Things will get a lot better after this season.

5.  Give us your best spin on how an 0-3 Titans team can upset the Cowboys on Sunday.

The Titans best and maybe only chance to win on Sunday comes if the Cowboys miss their flight to Nashville.  Seriously though, for the Titans to win the defense is going to have to force some turnovers to give the offense a short field, or the Titans are going to have to get some points from special teams.  The Titans are not at an advantage on either side of the ball in this game.  It will take an "unconventional score" or two for the Titans to have a chance.

Here are the questions I sent to Dave with his answers.

1. How well is T.O. fitting in?

Contrary to a lot of the media reports, with ESPN being the most egregious offender, Terrell Owen has had no problem fitting in with the Cowboys so far. That doesn't preclude something happening in the future, but most of what you've heard or read about Owens and the Cowboys in the early part of this season is just poor reporting. There was no battle of wills between Owens and Parcells, nobody in the Cowboys organization felt that Owens was faking an injury to get out of camp, etc. The problem with Owens has been his hamstring injury in training camp and now the broken bone in his hand. This has led to less time working with Drew Bledsoe and the first unit offense, and their timing is not where it needs to be yet. Given all that, in the first game against Jacksonville, Owens was the Cowboys best player on the field. In the second week, he didn't play as well, but he also played a good portion of that game with a broken hand.

2. Is Parcells just waiting for Beldsoe to mess up so he can bench him?

Nothing could be further from the truth. I don't think the idea of benching Bledsoe has entered into Parcells mind yet. He is a big believer in Bledsoe, and he and Jerry Jones feel that Bledsoe is the best candidate to lead this team to the playoffs. Again, media reports jumped out in front of a non-story and created the perception that Parcells was on the verge of benching Bledsoe. In my opinion, this was patently  false, and Parcells even said that it wasn't going to happen. Parcells does want to get backup QB Tony Romo some playing time, but that would be mop up duty at the end of a big win or something similar. There's no doubt that Bledsoe will be the Cowboys starter this season.

3.  How well do Parcells and Jerry Jones get along?  Was Parcells consulted before T.O. was signed?

The relationship between Parcells and Jones has actually worked pretty well. I was skeptical about how well the two could get along, given the huge egos both men have, and  the need for control by both men. But so far, Jerry has given up control of the football decisions to Parcells, and they seem to be working together on other issues, along with Jerry's son Stephen, who also plays a large role in the Cowboys decision making. According to Jones and Parcells, yes, the Tuna was consulted about signing Terrell Owens and was given every opportunity to nix the deal, but apparently gave it his blessing. It has been reported that even on the eve of signing Owens, Parcells was given one more opportunity to say no, but instead said yes.

4.  Do you think this team has enough to get to the Super Bowl?

In terms of pure talent, I do believe they could get to the Super Bowl. The one area where the talent is suspect is along the offensive line, so in my mind that will determine how far the Cowboys go this year. The defense is supremely talented, blessed with both speed and size, but does have the drawback of being very young. We have a very skilled receiving corp and the combination of Julius Jones and Marion Barber at RB gives us an adequate running game. Dallas is a Super Bowl contender, but how well the offensive line plays is the key. If Drew Bledsoe is given time in the pocket, he is a very good QB, when he has to move around in the pocket, he will turn the ball over. It all rests on the play of the offensive line.

5.  How much does Parcells hate kickers?

When asked about his kickers in a recent press conference, Parcells responded, "Don't get me started". Unless your name is Matt Bahr, Parcells probably doesn't want to talk about you. At least in the Redskins game two Sunday's ago, Mike Vanderjagt hit a 50-yard FG, so that cooled things down a little bit concerning the kicking situation. It's still a hot topic in Dallas though, because Vanderjagt can't kickoff so we have to carry two kickers on game day. This doesn't make the Tuna happy.