It was evident that the Cowboys o-line played a significant factor in the Cowboys’ loss last year in the first round of the playoffs. The offensive line was dreadful, and it cost the team the game. The o-line set the offense back with countless holding calls, and when they weren’t holding, they were getting bossed around by the 49ers’ d-line. And truthfully, the o-line was substandard all year, especially considering previous years, when the line was a strong suit for the team.
They looked average a lot of the year, and for the Cowboys to contend, the line needs to be a strong point. But coming into this season, I think there’s some added optimism with the injection of youth. With the WR core in limbo, the Cowboys will lean on the run game early in the year, and with preseason approaching, it’s a good time to look at the Cowboys’ offensive line.
Tyron Smith and Terrance Steele will be the starting tackles this season, and assuming health is a non-factor, this should be a good duo. Steele filled in admirably last year for La’el Collins after a dreadful 2020. Steele performed so well that the Cowboys opted to let the older Collins go for the younger, more reliable Steele. When he’s healthy, Tyron is still an all-pro caliber LT, but the Cowboys can’t rely on that anymore. Tyron is aging and having a reliable backup to spell the often injured tackle is critical. Rookie Tyler Smith’s flex ability gives the team more options if Tyron cannot play. Josh Ball is a swing tackle, and he, along with Matt Waletzko, will probably be the backup tackles.
Zack Martin will be the starting right guard this season, and he’s arguably the best at his job in the NFL. Starting opposite him will likely be a rookie first-round selection, Tyler Smith. The Tyler Smith selection saw a lot of criticism, but I liked it. By all accounts, Smith has been willing to learn and has been one of the standouts so far in training camp. Smith’s only real problem was that he had a problem holding in college, and that can be a little scary considering the Cowboys were dreadful at avoiding holding calls last year. Tyler Smith should still be an immediate upgrade from Connor Williams. The other remaining guard that makes the team will be Connor Mcgovern, and Cowboy fans should be ecstatic that he’s their backup guard. He will be able to play both left and right guard, but he often found more success on the right side in the games Zack Martin missed. If Tyler Smith pans out, the guards should be a strong point for this team.
Since Travis Fredrick retired following the 2019 season, the Cowboys have been searching for their next franchise center. Tyler Biadasz struggled last year, and although he’s the front runner to return as the starter, 2021 7th-round pick Matt Farniok could still steal the starting role for him. If the Cowboys can sure up this part of the line, I think it will elevate the line’s overall performance. Either way, Farniok, and Biadsz are essentially guaranteed to be the two centers that make the 53-man roster.
I like the depth of the O-line, and I think it should be an improved unit with the addition of Tyler Smith. The performance of the O-line will again be paramount to the offense’s success. If the line can’t protect Dak or consistently create running lanes for Zeke and TP, you can count out the Cowboys’ chance of making noise this year.
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