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...and other news and muses from puke land...


John Webster, North Bennington, Vt.: How could Jerry Jones possibly be thinking of trading Julius Jones? The Cowboys would never receive fair compensation for him, especially this late in the year. With the exception of LaDainian Tomlinson or Larry Johnson, Julius Jones is as good as any feature back when utilized correctly. I believe Bill Parcells played way too many mind games with Julius. Last year he was pulled out way too early in games and never was given the opportunity to get into a rhythm. Marion Barber is a great change-of-pace running back and has a very good nose for the end zone but I do not believe he will ever be a top tier feature back in the NFL. If the Cowboys move Julius it will be one of the biggest mistakes ever made. There have been rumblings of the Cowboys being interested in Michael Turner from San Diego. What has he ever done other than back up Tomlinson? Jones is no doubt a much better option than Turner. I'm sorry to vent here, but I can't help myself!

Mickey: Hey, no apologies necessary. That's what we're here for. I do think at times Parcells did play too many mind games with Jones. The kid rarely, if ever, was tossed a plum. He did all that work to get the ball inside the 20, and at times inside the 10, then he had to go stand over there on the sideline and watch someone else put the ball in the end zone. To me, while he was the good soldier and never complained, that ripped out some of his desire and likely was embarrassing to him. Now I understand why the trade notion is there, since he's entering the final year of his contract, and I'd say the jury still is out on his value in free agency. But as I've said previously, you trade Jones, you had better get something pretty good in return because you're going to have to replace him.

Carolyn Kamensky, Carrollton, Texas: The Boys need to make some serious noise in the draft! Our offense needs something big. T.O. has proven he is not it. Tony Romo sits to pee is not proven and Julius Jones is hit and miss. Oakland needs a quarterback. Well, what about Romo sits to pee/Julius and our first-round pick in exchange for the No. 1 pick in draft? Brad Johnson is a proven quarterback and Marion Barber is a great runner. The Boys pick up Calvin Johnson. What do you think?

Mickey: Well, I think you probably have a better chance of fitting into one of those Cinderella slippers and going to the ball than that happening. Look, if you feel that way about Romo sits to pee and Jones, you think the Raiders would be standing on their heads over the opportunity to trade the top pick in the draft for them? Come on. Here is what you need to do when you propose a trade: Ask yourself if you would make that trade if you were on the other end. If the answer is yes, then it's a fair trade. If not, move on. You really don't find a lot of suckers out there in the trade market.

Zach Graybill, Roanoke, Va.: Roanoke is about 35 minutes away from Blacksburg, Va., so you can imagine we are very tight-knit communities. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that we here in Hokie nation appreciate all the love and support from all of you across the nation. We are such a small community, and to see such an outpour of concern and support is truly amazing. Keep writing your articles, we need things that relate to normalcy to help us cope with our grief. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, and remember, we are all Hokies today!

Mickey: Got a bunch of responses similar to this, and Zach is a lot closer to this than most of us. But he's right, doesn't matter if you are 35 miles away or 3,500 miles away, what happened at Virginia Tech affects every one of us. And if the e-mails I've been receiving are any indication, Zach, don't worry, there's a whole lot of people keeping the Hokies in their thoughts and prayers.

Dana Nielsen, Falmouth, Mass.: You're on the clock, and you're taking a wide receiver. Which one would you take, Dwayne Jarrett or Ted Ginn Jr.? I like both for entirely different reasons, and I want to know if it comes down to those two, who you like.

Mickey: Boy that's a tough one. Do you go with the prototype receiver, big body who probably is a little better than some people think, or do you add speed to your team, knowing you've got a return guy for sure? See, if I'm looking for a dimension I don't have, I'd go the speed route, but understand chances are he'll never be a great NFL wide receiver. I might need another guy to be my lead guy then in a year or two, but guarantee you I can find another Jarrett in the draft next year and the year after that. Give me Ginn.

Rolando Garza, Brownsville, Texas: To me, the Cowboys have a very solid team coming into the 2007 season. So thinking who Dallas will choose in the first round of this upcoming draft is not an easy task. Going through each position one by one I think the organization is quite satisfied with the personnel; the only position that looks questionable is the second cornerback spot. I like Henry and I personally think he is underestimated because of how good Terence Newman is, but he did get burned on several occasions. Besides, Aaron Glenn is not getting any younger and Newman needs a better complement to his other side. So, I personally think we should go with a solid play-making corner such as Darrelle Revis, Leon Hall, Aaron Ross or maybe even the Arkansas Razorback (wink wink) Chris Houston. Any of those guys would be a good asset to any defense and maybe even the return team.

Mickey: Boy, I sure like guys who agree with me. No, seriously, you make a compelling argument for a corner. Now I'd say you might be hard-pressed to push Henry aside after paying him a $10 million signing bonus just two seasons ago. But your point on return skills is well taken, plus, you need guys on your nickel defense, right? So if a corner is the best bet when you get to No. 22, grab him, because as I pointed out in today's column, you can never have enough of them.

Mike Kurkjian, Gaithersburg, Md.: You mentioned that you thought the Cowboys would only take a safety if he were a "Shark" on special teams and could cover the slot receiver. Reggie Nelson, Michael Griffin and Brandon Meriweather all have been good on special teams and all have the coverage ability to cover the slot receiver. All three could also play some corner if necessary. Chances are that at least two of them will be there at 22. Why wouldn't they take a guy like that?

Mickey: Well, see what you have to answer yourself is: What are the other choices? But if those were the best choices, absolutely, grab one of them because they are so versatile, you can put them to use. I like your thinking. Because I'm thinking there is a good chance whoever the Cowboys take with the 22nd pick might not be a Day One starter anyway.

David Flores, Las Cruces, N.M.: I'm a huge fan of Tony Romo sits to pee but I still think it's never wrong to have a backup plan if Romo sits to pee hits a wall. Do you see Dallas drafting someone like Jordan Palmer or Jared Zabransky late in the draft?

Mickey: Definitely. Now I don't know if it's one of those two guys, but I certainly can see the Cowboys taking a quarterback, like a fifth-, sixth- or seventh rounder if there is one there to their liking. I think they want someone to challenge Matt Baker for the third spot, and to start grooming someone the way they did Romo sits to pee.

Garland Frye, New York: I just read your latest on the draft. I've wondered about cornerback, especially considering one of Jerry's kids from his alma mater may be there at 22. However, my feeling is more toward them stacking the offensive line. I think it was Larry Lacewell that told Jerry "we never really fixed it." I'm wondering if they would not seriously consider Justin Blalock at that point. Here are my reasons. For starters Blalock was a tackle that switched to guard at Texas, so he is versatile. This guy could come in and challenge Kyle Kosier right away. Furthermore, he would provide insurance if Flozell Adams or Marc Colombo went down. Either he or Leonard Davis could be moved to tackle. Judging by what we paid Davis, we really value guys like that. Another reason would be to really give Romo sits to pee every chance he can to become a franchise quarterback. Jerry can protect his investment by adding a guy like Justin Blalock.

Mickey: I've got no problem with that, and your logic is sound. I think what the Cowboys must consider with this pick is this: Who will make the biggest first-year impact? Because that's really what they need, a guy who can be a producer in some aspect, not a what-if guy.

Bob Steinere, Folsom, Pa.: During your last Ranch Report, in arguing why the Cowboys shouldn't select an offensive lineman with their first pick, your question was, "Where's he gonna play?" Y'all mentioned every position except left guard, and I'd love to know why there's this automatic assumption that Kosier is the starter next year?

Mickey: In my mind, you follow the money. And when you pay a guy a huge signing bonus just the previous year, he's yours, and you can't keep hop-scotching around. I just think it's a little early to take out the eraser on Kosier. Plus, that's a lot of money to pay another offensive lineman when you already are shelling out big bucks for your left tackle, center and really two right guards, if you know what I mean.

Terry Wright, Round Rock, Texas: Would you then please give us your thoughts on former Texas Longhorns safety Michael Griffin and cornerback Aaron Ross? Given their excellent special teams play, I'd think either would be a great pick. Griffin blocks kicks and Ross runs 'em in for touchdowns.

Mickey: Hey, I'm with you on either guy, but probably would lean more towards Ross since he's a true corner and I believe a little faster. I just like the idea of the Cowboys adding some more speed to this team, be it on offense or defense, because if you do that, then you've added speed to your special teams.

Bill Puckett, Waco, Texas: We now take Flozell for granted as a Pro Bowler, but before Bill Parcells arrived, no one respected him and he was nearly run out of town. What did Parcells do to turn him around?

Mickey: Parcells pushed and prodded Adams to care. Not sure how important football was to Flo before Parcells got here. He seemed to just go through the motions. From what Parcells said, by time he left, Adams actually became much more of a leader on that offensive line. This should be a big year for Flo since he's in a contract-drive season. If he plays well, he gets one more big signing bonus, either from the Cowboys are someone else. Left tackles are hard to find. Football should then be very important to him this year, if you know what I mean.

Gregor France, London: Do you see Jason Hatcher beating out either Marcus Spears or Chris Canty for a starting position in the 3-4? I think Canty has shown more than Marcus Spears, who I'm about ready to give up on, and I liked what I saw of Hatcher, albeit in limited spells, last year.

Mickey: Beating them out as a starting 3-4 defensive end? Remember, most of Hatcher's playing time came as a pass-rushing end in the team's four-man nickel front, so that's entirely different than having to play the run as a 3-4 defensive end. Now I think Hatcher will push those guys, but I don't think he will beat either out for a starting job. If he can improve enough to jump into the rotation, possibly become an inside pass rusher on the nickel, that would be huge in his second season.

Dennis Vansa, Beaumont, Texas: How does the signing of Ken Hamlin affect Keith Davis?

Mickey: Probably moves him back to strong safety, the position Parcells always thought was his natural one, and will allow him to play on all the special teams, where his strengths in the NFL really are. Here is another guy in the final year of his contract, the two-year one the Cowboys matched last year in restricted free agency.

Allen Harrington, Parma, Ohio: I understand why the Cowboys for so many years were in California for their training camp, with the near perfect weather and all. However, they have lost the site in Oxnard, and are having to work around the crazy schedules at the Alamodome. Come on, this is the Dallas Cowboys. Why aren't they practicing at Texas Stadium where the hometown fans can just shoot over and watch? Even better yet, are there plans to hold practices at the new stadium when it opens?

Mickey: Well, these dates at indoors stadiums are booked years in advance, and the Cowboys knew they would have to cut camp short when they did the new deal this year with the Alamodome in San Antonio. They will just return here to continue training camp. As for holding camp at Texas Stadium? There isn't enough space. Only one field. At the Alamodome, when the seats are pulled back, there is almost room for two full fields. Plus, there is enough space for all the meeting rooms and training rooms they would ever need. As for holding camp at the new stadium, not sure that's going to happen, either. No word on that yet, but at least there would be enough space.

Dick Cassidy, Addison, Texas: When the Cowboys move to the new stadium in Arlington, will they keep Valley Ranch as a practice facility or does the new complex also include their practice field(s) and other needs?

Mickey: The immediate plan is to keep the practice facility at Valley Ranch. There isn't enough room around the new stadium for practice fields and parking, and teams normally utilize two fields for practice. Parking took precedence.

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