From the Sidelines

Today’s Pigskin Roundtable: Post-Week 6 edition in the NFL

NFL 18 September 2016: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) walks off the field with injured quarterback Tony Romo (R) prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, in Landover, MD. (Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

We are about a month and a half into the NFL season and a lot has transpired. Between the dynamic rookie duo in Dallas, the suffocating defense in Minnesota, and the continued dominance from New England, the NFL is headed in an interesting direction.

In this week’s NFL roundtable, the writers delve into what they would do in the Cowboys situation, identify some trades they would make with the NFL’s trade deadline on the horizon, and tell us who the best team in each conference is. Let’s get to the NFL talk.

If you were the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys would you keep Dak Prescott in or go with Tony Romo?

Jeff Smith: Prescott. There’s no reason to break the chemistry that’s been built in Dallas. While it’s painful to see a veteran quarterback’s time with a team potentially end due to an injury, Prescott has been too good to place on the bench. Plus, as soon as Romo touches the field, he’ll be under an even larger microscope than before, which obviously isn’t a good thing.

Connor Rogers: I hate attempting to fix something that’s not broken, but I would put Romo back out there when healthy. With a healthy Dez Bryant and Tony Romo tandem working together on top of an elite rushing attack led by Ezekiel Elliott, this Cowboys offense can go from good to special. Prescott has filled in wonderfully, and his time will come, but the Cowboys must be thinking Super Bowl this year, and Romo deserves the chance to get them there.

Matt Danely: At this point, I don’t think this should be that difficult of a decision. Nobody gave Prescott his credit in the preseason, and you could argue that that’s the right approach, but he’s since led the Cowboys to a 5-1 record, which is leading the NFC East, and has done it in large part without his No. 1 receiver Dez Bryant.

He’s showing everything you want from a franchise quarterback, the team has great chemistry right now, and Romo is so often injured, that it can only help allowing him more time to heal in the first place. If Dak regresses at some point, put in Romo — you’ve got a legit starter now with a rookie backup who’s proven that he can step in if he’s needed. If you automatically place Romo back in there and he gets hurt, then you’ve now got a starter who can do more than what is needed of him, but you no longer have a backup with quality experience.

Also, If Romo gets hurt because he’s thrust into the lineup the Cowboys no longer have any trade value at all for him

Sean Cordy:I’m a bit of an old school mind, so I ask why not try something like the Rams during the Waterfield/Van Brocklin days at least on a trial basis? Not saying it’s a sustainable solution to run two quarterbacks, but if you go with one over the other, there’s always some doubt that the decision chosen wasn’t the right one. If they miss the playoffs with Romo, then that was the “wrong” move, and the same goes for Prescott if he starts to fall off.

If you could make one hypothetical trade before the deadline, what would it be?

Jeff Smith: If I’m the Cleveland Browns I’d move Joe Thomas for picks. As many picks as you can possibly get. I don’t like the idea of trading Joe Haden, as I think he could be a key part of the team’s future, but if the offer is too great, then I’d consider trading him too. Give me a deal that involves Thomas, which nets the Browns a fairly high pick to help the massive rebuild they’re currently going through.

Connor Rogers: The Vikings should be in ‘go for it’ mode right now. They handed over a lot of draft capital to acquire Sam Bradford, but why not call the Jets and see if they can pry away Brandon Marshall? They’ve gotten little from rookie wide out Laquon Treadwell and could use a true impact player at wide receiver.

Matt Danely: As a Colts fan, there are so many areas of need on this roster. The most important, however, is a proven edge rusher who is still in his prime and has remained fairly consistent throughout his career. No doubt if I’m Jim Irsay, I’m offering the Denver Broncos virtually whatever their asking price is for Von Miller. Likely multiple first, and second round selections, but I’m okay with that. Miller has 32.5 sacks over the past three years, and we’re only in Week 7 of the 2016 season — and have you seen Ryan Grigson’s draft?

Sean Cordy: No players for draft picks trades here. That’s boring. Just to stir the pot, Mark Sanchez to the Browns for a pass rusher like Corey Lemonier. Not a sexy pick since people are wanting to see Joe Thomas or Joe Haden get shipped from Cleveland, but this helps improve two areas of need for both teams. The Cowboys would just have to look for a third-string QB just in case more injuries happen under center.

Who is your top AFC team?

Jeff Smith: New England Patriots. Just too much firepower and too much Tom Brady. The Pittsburgh Steelers had me debating before this past week, but the loss to the Miami Dolphins, and Ben Roethlisberger’s injury give the crown to the Patriots in my eyes.

Connor Rogers: I would be a madman to pick against the New England Patriots right now. With Brady back (and rolling), their offense is dynamite with new additions Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan, along with staple studs in Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. 

Matt Danely: Top AFC team has to go to the New England Patriots right now.

Sean Cordy: The Patriots, plain and simple. For a time, the Steelers were looking like true contenders, and both were succeeding without their stars. But now with Roethlisberger out for a few weeks after struggling against the Dolphins, they’re a bit of a question mark. The Patriots, however, have looked great every week except one misstep visiting the Bills. Tom Brady looks as great as ever, and who knew LeGarrette Blount could be this good? There’s also five players with over 200 yards receiving right now, and the tight end combo looks especially deadly.

Who is your top NFC team?

Jeff Smith: This one is a lot tougher, but I’m going to say the Dallas Cowboys. If the Cowboys had lost to the Green Bay Packers, I’d probably go with the Minnesota Vikings. On that note, very few people are talking about the fact that the Cowboys are rolling over teams with a rookie backfield and most importantly, doing it without star wide receiver Dez Bryant. This offense may be close to unstoppable once Bryant returns in Week 8. If you want to talk about a game to get excited about, look no further than when the Cowboys head to Minnesota on December 1.

Connor Rogers: The Minnesota Vikings have the best defense in the NFL, and Sam Bradford has yet to turn the ball over for them. That is a recipe for success, and the Vikings are currently the team to beat in the NFC.

Matt Danely: Top NFC team is the Minnesota Vikings.

Both of these teams have great coaching staffs, defenses, and have won multiple games with quarterbacks new tot the system. Very impressive.

Sean Cordy: This one is much more difficult. The Vikings are the only undefeated left despite the injured playmakers. The Cowboys and Seahawks are also making great cases after having early losses, but the Seahawks are one penalty away from losing to the Falcons. It’s between the Vikings and Cowboys with the edge going to the latter. This team is the real deal after trashing Lambeau, a feat that is rarely done by healthy teams. Through a mix of efficiency on the ground and through the air, there doesn’t seem to be any stopping this team right now, especially with a defense stepping up to the plate.

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