The Dallas Cowboys offensive line has been near the forefront of reasons for the team's turnaround in the last three weeks. Marc Colombo took over as offensive line coach prior to the Cowboys week nine loss to the Titans. Winners of three straight from that point on, the Cowboys have dealt with injuries to Left Tackle Tyron Smith, Left Guard Connor Williams, and Right Guard Zack Martin remarkably well recently.
Colombo has the Cowboys committed to maintaining their reputation as one of the league's best offensive lines. With both Cam Fleming and Xavier Su'a-Filo in the lineup on Thanksgiving, few would argue that the Cowboys have the most talented OL anymore, but that didn't matter to Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys were practicing on Sunday in preparation for another Thursday night game this week. With the top scoring offense coming to AT&T Stadium, Elliott and the Cowboys ground game looks to be all-important against the Saints. To control this game with their offense, the Cowboys may be relying even further on the backups behind those already in the lineup who've stepped up.
Cowboys practicing inside today because they play again on Thursday. No Zack Martin, Tyron Smith or Xavier Su'a-Filo.
LT-Cameron Fleming pic.twitter.com/AicsS3HGDU
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 25, 2018
Martin, Smith, and Su'a-Filo were all absent from the Cowboys practice on Sunday. The rookie Williams, who has been healthy enough to play over Su'a-Filo for two weeks, returned to the lineup at left guard while Adam Redmond replaced Martin.
It was Redmond that did the same for Martin when he came off the field in Philadelphia during the Cowboys week 10 win. Martin was able to return to the lineup, and has been playing some of the best football of his career since, though Redmond did hold his own against a tough Eagles front in limited reps.
Fleming was brought in this offseason for experienced depth at tackle, filling in for Smith on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys should feel encouraged by Fleming having a start under his belt before potentially replacing Smith for any extended time.
A year ago, the Cowboys season was derailed by even fewer offensive line injuries. This season, the Cowboys were pronounced dead even with their five starters up front leading them to a 3-5 record through eight games.
At 6-5 atop the NFC East, the Cowboys have a lot of work left to do if they want to close out the division and get healthy for a playoff run, facing a reality check game in four days against the 10-1 Saints.