I exchanged questions with Dave Halprin of SB Nation's Cowboys blog (Blogging The Boys) to get more information on Dallas. My answers to his questions can be found here, and his answers can be found below. Thanks again to Dave for answering my questions.
1. Something that has really amazed me is how great of a player Tony Romo has become in really only the last year. How has he managed to go from being the goat of the playoffs last season to one of the league's best QB's this season?
BTB: Well, we don't really equate the bobbled snap in last year's playoff game with Romo as a QB. I mean, he was just holding a snap for a kick, not playing QB. Last year Romo showed a lot of the promise that is being realized this year. I think he's taking better care of the ball this year, both in not forcing passes and not fumbling in the pocket. Our new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has also helped by creating an offense that seems tailored to Romo's skill-set as a QB. We have also gotten much better pass protection from our offensive line. But if you want to get to the core of his improvement, I think it's simply game experience. He's gotten used to managing the game as an NFL QB and it's paid off big-time for the Cowboys.
2. Terrell Owens has been my fantasy team's best receiver all season and I thank you guys for that, but what has been the difference with him this season compared to last season. To me, it just seems like he is more relaxed and is having fun. Can that be attributed to Wade Phillips being the head coach instead of Bill Parcells or is it the fact that he and Romo seem to have that connection necessary between a QB and WR?
BTB: It's a combination of factors. One is the relationship between him and Wade Phillips. It's no secret that T.O. and Parcells never really established a good working relationship. T.O. also had problems with his position coach last year, but this year WR's coach Ray Sherman and T.O. have a fantastic relationship and that has helped calm him down. The connection between T.O. and Romo is strong and OC Jason Garrett has made it a point to utilize T.O. to his fullest potential. Having said all that, for whatever reason, T.O. has also matured as a player in terms of dealing with the press and that has made things a lot less chaotic in his life. All of that put together with his natural talents have led to the incredible season he is having.
3. We all saw the Patriots win in Dallas earlier this season, but if the Cowboys make it back to the Super Bowl against New England, could they get revenge the second time around?
BTB: Sure they could. Most observers seem to forget that Dallas was leading that game late in the 3rd quarter and that they were driving for a tying TD in the fourth quarter when a penalty killed the drive and forced us to punt. We also played that game without starting CB Anthony Henry and with a hobbled Terence Newman. We had to cover Wes Welker with a little-used nickel corner and that didn't work out at all. So with a healthy secondary, the experience and confidence that the Cowboys have gained during the season and the familiarity with Wade Phillips' defensive schemes makes me believe we would have a legitimate shot at knocking them off in the Super Bowl.
4. What are your thoughts on the Cowboys' reaction to Kitna's comments?
BTB: I think it's added a little juice to a game that might not have had much hype beforehand. I also think that Kitna set himself up for what's coming by calling out specific players after a game - something most NFL players agree shouldn't be done. Now, Terence Newman crossed the line when he started referring to having no problems with getting a fine for hitting Kitna - you just can't say things like that. But, Kitna opened himself up for a little extra-motivation by the Cowboys and will have to man-up in the game. If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
5. I have seen quite a few Cowboys games this season but haven't really looked closely at one thing. Does Dallas like to use the short to medium passing game? Like short dump offs to running backs or something like that? The reason I ask is because two NFC East teams have destroyed the Lions' Cover 2 defense with that type of style, and I'm wondering if we should expect another blowout because of that.
BTB: Dallas most definitely uses the short-to-intermediate game to beat defenses in the passing game. Both Marion Barber and Julius Jones are very capable receivers out of the backfield and Romo will utilize them often. We also have TE Jason Witten who is very adept at working the zone between the linebackers and the safeties. Tony Romo is willing to take those passes if you give them to him.