What makes a good Offensive line? How do we judge their performance? The questions could go on and on, with many different outlooks. I am sure my assessment is different than yours, but one thing is for sure everyone has doubts about the Dallas Cowboys Line and I am not so sure all the doubts are warranted!
Many of us were spoiled by the O-Line of the 90’s teams, and there are some of us that believe that if you cannot operate the way that line did then you’re not any good! Well this is just not true!
The design of the teams offense can make or break a line, just the same as a line can make or break an offense.
There are many out there who always want to look at sacks allowed as the judgment stat, this is the wrong way to look at things.
In 2006 this O-line paved the way for 1936 yards rushing on 472 attempts for an avg. of 4.1 yards per carry. In that same year Bledsoe and Romo combined for 4067 passing yards on 506 attempts for an avg. of 8.0 yards per attempt. They were also sacked 37 times.
Then in 2007 they rushed for 1746 yards on 419 attempts for an avg. of 4.2 yards per carry. While Romo threw for 4211 yards on 520 attempts for an avg. of 8.1 yards and was sacked 25 times.
Finally last year they rushed for 1723 yards on 401 attempts for an avg. of 4.3 yards per carry. The group of QB’s last year combined for 3789 yards passing on 547 attempts for an avg. of 6.9 yards per play and were sacked 31 times (11 of those over a 3 game span from Bollinger and Johnson).
So are you seeing the trend? What I see is a team game planning away from the run, not because they cannot do it but rather just because they want to.
In three short years this team has gone from a super balanced attack (50% runs vs 50% pass) to a very one sided passing team (last year 42% run vs 58% pass) and in every year since 2006 there number of plays and rushing yards have gone down! There average yards per carry have increased to further prove the point that it is not a line problem but more so a scheme problem.
When you are dealing with a line built at an average 6’5” 327 lbs. you cannot expect them to sustain blocks for very long! Guys that big are built to smash folks in the mouth and blow open a hole and then release.
As far as the sack numbers are concerned this unit averages 1.9 sacks per game over the last three years. Just to put this figure into perspective, the Indianapolis Colts give up the least per game with an average of 1.1 sacks per game (12 less per year than Dallas) but the Cowboys line protects as well and better than most in the rest of the league. The Giants come in at 1.7, Patriots 2.1, Eagles 2.0.
What I am trying to get to is very simple, This Line may not be the best in the league but they are most definitely in the top tier!
For those of you who wish to argue and live in the 90’s please go look at the numbers! From 1992 to 1995 (the hay day) the O-Line of all O-Lines gave up an average of 1.5 sacks per game (a mere 6 less sacks over the course of the year)! Over that same time period the Cowboys offense averaged 30 pass attempts per game , and 32 rush attempts per game with a average of 4.1 yards per rush attempt.
Now I have never claimed to be the smartest guy on the planet but the only thing I see wrong with this group is the way that they are used!
This team has a wealth of talent on the Offensive line that is not being used properly. I have never been one to play around much with predictions, but I feel compelled in this situation!
So I am hereby making my first prediction of the season (it may be my last too!) If this unit (Jason Garrett) changes there scheme and gets back to being more of a 50 – 50 offense, this offensive line will be regarded as one of, if not THE top lines in the NFL!
I am also going to go on record as saying this team will win the division and end its playoff win less streak!
I realize I have opened myself up to some harsh criticisms, but I am willing to defend my thoughts are you?