The Dallas Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL, which has been one of the biggest reasons for their success in recent years. Going into the season, the Cowboys still haven’t figured out who their starting left guard is going to be, making it one of the most interesting training camp story lines. With America’s Team back to being a contender, don’t forget to bet on NFL this 2017 season.
Last year, there was little question as to who the Cowboys’ starting left guard was going to be. La’el Collins started the season at LG before giving way to Ronald Leary, who was firmly entrenched in the position thereafter. However, Leary left the team in the offseason and signed with the Denver Broncos.
If Doug Free didn’t retire in the offseason, La’el Collins could have replaced Leary. But, since Free decided to retire, the Cowboys moved Collins to right tackle.
With a pretty big hole on the left side of their offensive line, the Cowboys are hoping either former first round pick Jonathan Cooper or 2015 third round pick Chaz Green can fill the void. According to a Cowboys insider, the front office and coaches are hoping Green will step up and win the job.
The reason the Cowboys brass want to see Green win the job is because they are invested in him. The team took him in the third round of the draft, but were very impressed with his potential.
When he was given an opportunity to play, Green showed he was more than up to the task and impressed the coaches with his performance. The insider said the team had been hoping Green would eventually replace Leary as their left guard if he continued to perform as well as he did.
Despite being very high on Green, the coaching staff were unable to put him in the starting lineup because he is injury prone, which isn’t something you like to see in an offensive lineman. The insider said if Green had been able to stay healthy, he would have been inserted into the starting lineup already.
In Cooper’s case, the Cowboys see him as a temporary solution and not a long-term starter. Cooper, who was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, is considered a bust. After two ineffective seasons in Arizona, he was acquired by the New England Patriots in 2016.
Cooper didn’t last long in New England because he suffered an injury and was released by the team. Later in the season, the Cleveland Browns signed Cooper and he started three of five games for the team.
In December, Cooper was waived by the Browns and was picked up by the Cowboys a month later to provide depth for their playoff run.
Despite wanting Green to win the starting left guard job, the Cowboys brass don’t have much of a choice now because Green hurt his shoulder in training camp. MRI results showed that Green won’t require surgery on the shoulder but he is still expected to miss some time.
If Green misses significant time because of the injury, Cooper will likely be the Cowboys’ starting left guard on opening day unless they trade for a left guard before the season starts.