It’s hardly breaking news that the Dallas Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. But as one stat-driven outlet reminded us today just how good the group was last year, it leads to the ongoing speculation of the the Cowboys’ line will perform in 2020 without Travis Frederick at center.
The following tweet from Pro Football Focus shared a delightful nugget about the 2019 Cowboys offensive line:
The Cowboys passing offense was credited with allowing 23 sacks overall; an excellent number which had them with the 2nd-lowest sacks allowed in the NFL. Based on their analysis, PFF is only attributing eight of those to the offensive line.
The other 15 sacks likely came from a variety of factors. Tight ends and running backs are also involved in pass blocking, and of course the quarterback has a lot to do with it. Some sacks happen because he held the ball too long or moved the wrong way in the pocket.
Clearly, though, Dallas is did a great job overall in avoiding sacks on Dak Prescott. But with All-Pro center Travis Frederick’s retirement this offseason, can they maintain that same performance in 2020?
The good news is that the Frederick of 2019 wasn’t the same player we knew from 2013-2017. He was still very solid, but even Travis admitted he wasn’t playing up to his usual standard. So replacing Frederick isn’t quite as daunting as it was a few years ago.
The Cowboys have some good options there in veteran Joe Looney and young prospects Connor McGovern and Tyler Biadasz. Among those three, somebody should emerge who can keep the line solvent and competitive.
Additionally, we’re hoping on 3rd-year improvement from Left Guard Connor Williams. If we get the expected growth at that position while still having the great Zack Martin on the other side, whoever plays center in 2020 is going to be well supported.
Protecting the quarterback is a hallmark of just about any playoff contending team. The Dallas Cowboys have been on of the league’s best at it for a while now, and hopefully their offensive line changes won’t lessen that advantage this season.