The Cowboys have thrown a late curveball at the Vikings ahead of today’s contest. Just announced this morning, All-Pro Guard Zack Martin will be switching to right tackle when Dallas visits Minnesota in Week 11.
This will send undrafted rookie Terence Steele, whose been a weak point for the offensive line in multiple appearances this season, back to the bench. Connor McGovern is expected to move up into Martin’s traditional spot at right guard.
Just said on @NFLGameDay: The #Cowboys plan to start All-Pro guard Zack Martin at right tackle against the #Vikings, sources say. Rookie Terence Steele goes to the bench. A big shakeup as they return from the bye with Andy Dalton back at QB.
Martin has been the full-time starter at right guard since entering the NFL in 2014. The former 1st-round pick has exceeded even those expectations and been arguably the best guard in the league since he arrived.
While Zack’s potential to play offensive tackle had been a talking point in previous years we’d never seen it tried until 2020. During Dallas’ Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, injuries and performance issues from other players finally forced the Cowboys to shift Martin outside just before halftime.
In that second half Martin showed how some NFL players are just different and special; the true naturals who can make an impact in many ways. He looked like he’d been playing OT for years and helped the Cowboys remain competitive in a tough road game.
Honestly, it’s been a surprise to me and others that Dallas didn’t leave Zack at tackle from that point forward.
Starters La’el Collins and Tyron Smith have been gone most of the year and neither is expected back this season. Even swing tackle Cam Erving was gone at that point; Dallas was down to Brandon Knight, Terence Steele, and table scraps going into the Seattle game.
But the Cowboys saw something in Steele that made him a Week One starter with Collins injured and has kept getting him playing time up until now. Clearly, though, the team finally determined that he wasn’t their best option.
The NFC East is still wide open and Andy Dalton needs protection to succeed. Maybe you give reps to a developmental guy like Steele when you’re truly out of it, but for now, the Cowboys are still in it to win it.
And it’s not like Connor McGovern won’t benefit from some playing time himself. Hopefully, this move makes it easier for the Cowboys to succeed today and in weeks to come as they still try to make something out of this 2020 season.