For the next two weeks Ken Podolak, former NFL BLESTO scout and our other NFC East observer, will grace us with his insight.  Read on and enjoy.

LH:Do you foresee the Cowboys beating anyone until Tony Romo gets back under center?

KP:Not really, he is their leader and motor and without him they simply sputter and lack confidence. Cowboys dominated Philly with Romo, and competed in a breathless (like their defense in the OT) losing effort without him. This important loss coming after Philly practically gave them the game tying, upright clanging, field goal at the end of regulation. Can’t help but seeing the out of breath and out of position Cowboys defense in the OT.

LH:Has Dallas been able to truly find a capable replacement for DeMarco Murray?

KP:Not yet, they thought they could convince Murray to stay with them but the payday and maybe toxic environment (spell that Dez B) were the deciding factors. Keep looking Mr. Jones.

LH:Defensive coordinator Ron Marinelli hasn’t become stupid since last year. His defense is being blamed for a lot of the fourth quarter collapses. Is the undersized Cowboys defense just been on the field too long?

KP:Conditioning is on the players but it is up to the coaches to get the players in a position to win.  Dallas D was gassed in the OT and likely the deciding factor in permitting Philly to score in the OT. As I see it, the bigger problem in Dallas in this current six game slide is lack of scoring by the offense.  Spell that stalled drives and the head games that can develop on a team between the O and D when they get out of balance.

LH:The both of us are big believers that blaming sometime as a distraction is just an excuse for poor performances. With that being said, is the Greg Hardy situation truly a distraction for the Cowboys?

KP:Not for the players, more for the off the field people.  I’m talking about the media, fans, and general public. We shouldn’t let personal lives interfere with work lives but sometimes personal lives spill over into work lives and when that happens it is up to management to step in and clean that up. Just issuing a statement that the team is giving him a second chance isn’t enough. I am down with second chances but that doesn’t necessarily mean returning to your rank and priviledge 100% right out of the gate. Case in point was that Mike Vick also got a second chance but his glide path back to full rank and privilege was far longer than Hardy’s.

LH:Is Head Coach Jason Garrett on the hot seat or is Jerry Jones giving him a
pass with the major injuries the Cowboys have endured?

KP:Jerry Jones frequently gives out second chances…Greg Hardy…and it is a proven fact that Jones loves Garrett so yes, Garrett survives. Too much history and too much fun for Jerry.

LH:What’s the biggest weakness that the Cowboys have on offense as well as

KP:They lack confidence at the QB position and a reliable running attack. On defense, Sean Lee can’t stay on the field and their pass defense is ordinary.

LH:I see the Bucs winning 19-17 in a close one. What’s your call on who wins and why?

KP:Lack of confidence bites the Boys again especially with a Bucs team that appears to be pulling it together. Add a little home town humidity and throw in the “Dallas will likely tank” theroy and that all adds up to a win for the Bucs 27 – 24. Hey, when are they going to bring back the creamsicle uniforms?