Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys O-Line, Are They Good Enough?



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?

  • Jonathan

    I’m convinced. Your research speaks volumes. Count me as one of the many that’s been critical.

    • bags030404

      Thanks to a few commentors the last few days my curiosity was kicked into gear. I have never really looked at the numbers or really investigated the situation until now and I am so glad that I did!

  • Jonathan

    I’ve been saying since off-season began that the Cowboy’s need to be more balanced. And I, also, have pointed to scheme as being a huge issue. But I never delved into the stats driving my belief. Like many, I assumed much of the problem was due to the OL inability to give Romo time. But like you said, they really aren’t built to do that on a regular basis to begin with. Hopefully will see a change in that direction this season. And if we do, I agree with your prediction.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: OT Byron Bell

Jess Haynie



Byron Bell

Offensive tackle became a problem position for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. One guy who helped the situation was veteran backup Byron Bell. He is now a free agent, but Dallas could may be interested in bringing him back next year.

Bell was signed last March to provide depth and insurance on the offensive line. He had experience at both guard and center, starting almost every game since entering the NFL in 2011. Byron had missed all of 2016 with an ankle injury while a member of the Tennessee Titans.

After spending the first part of the year at the bottom of the depth chart, Bell was called into duty after a disastrous performance by Chaz Green in the team's Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons. With starting left tackle Tyron Smith injured, Green got the start and was obliterated by Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn to the tune of six sacks.

Byron got the start the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he was clearly better than Green. He would remain the team's swing tackle the rest of the season and got another start in the meaningless Week 17 finale.

Byron Bell, Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys OT Byron Bell (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

Now Byron Bell is a 29-year-old free agent. With Chaz Green seemingly a failed experiment, Dallas has to figure out what to do about their depth behind Tyron Smith and La'el Collins. Could they be in the market to re-sign Bell?

Given his vast starting experience and position flexibility, Byron may have some other suitors in free agency. Offensive linemen age slower than other positions, so 29 isn't the same mark of death that a running back or corner might deal with.

A likely scenario here is that Dallas, assuming they'd like to have Bell back at all, would let him test free agency and then hopefully re-sign him later in the offseason to a minimal contract. Like last year, he would make sense for insurance at the position and especially if the team is going to part ways with Green.

What's more, Byron has increased value after a year in the Cowboys system. Also, in 2017 he was coming off an entirely missed season with the ankle injury. He's a more attractive asset in 2018.

That increased value could be seen by other teams, too. While Bell has had his ups and downs, he's accomplished enough that his name will be noticed among other free agents. A team with major needs on the offensive line might even consider him to compete for a starting job.

We don't know what the Cowboys' interest level is in bringing Byron Bell back, but they may have competition for his services. Given the role he filled to finish 2017, he could wind up an underrated free agent departure this offseason.

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

4 Depth Players to Keep in Mind on Dallas Cowboys Roster

Sean Martin



4 Depth Players to Keep in Mind on Dallas Cowboys Roster 2

Maneuvering through the NFL offseason is a funny task for committed football fans, especially those of Cowboys Nation. Prior to the start of each new season bringing hope for all 32 clubs to reach the Super Bowl, every NFL roster enters a tumultuous state. Talent will be added through free agency and the Draft, while promising players will also be shuffled around through practice squads and training camp releases.

All of that to say, despite criticism for appearing stagnant so far this offseason on the heels of a 9-7 campaign, nobody knows what the Dallas Cowboys will actually look like in 2018. This is why I've decided to feature four under the radar players on the current Cowboys' roster below, all of which provide depth at positions of need.

4 Depth Players to Keep in Mind on Dallas Cowboys Roster

Dallas Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin

TE Blake Jarwin

An undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, Blake Jarwin found his way onto the Cowboys' practice squad for 2017.

Jarwin showed enough promise early in his Cowboys career to earn fans on the coaching staff and throughout the organization, as he was promoted to the active roster in week eight. The Philadelphia Eagles were reportedly in position to snatch Jarwin from the Cowboys - who protected their versatile tight end.

The TE position remains unsettled for the Cowboys in 2018 and beyond, with Jason Witten's production clearly declining. The Cowboys will also be on their third TE coach in three seasons this year, transitioning to Doug Nussmeier.

Nussmeier brings no previous experience as a TE coach specifically, meaning the team's overall philosophy on the position will still be determined heavily by Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan. Favoring tight ends that can block in the running game over those with higher upside as receiving threats, Jarwin is a name to keep in mind as a tenacious blocker that plays with sound technique.

4 Depth Players to Keep in Mind on Dallas Cowboys Roster 1

Dallas Cowboys WR Lance Lenoir, QB Cooper Rush

WR Lance Lenoir

This past summer, I had the chance to interview Dallas Cowboys WR Lance Lenoir following his signing with the team out of Western Illinois. In that interview, Lenoir shows off the confidence he took into training camp as a receiver that would have a hard time making the team.

By the end of this long season, the Cowboys went from being perceived as deep and talented at WR to in need of new play makers on the outside.

Perhaps pressing a bit through the preseason, Lenoir did provide practice depth as a reliable pass catcher and punt returner, struggling on special teams in live action and ultimately spending the season on the practice squad.

The 2018 NFL Draft features a deep class of talented receivers, and the Cowboys would be wise to draft one with real potential that can push up the depth chart in a hurry. As far as current options on the roster to fill this position, WR Lance Lenoir can't be overlooked as an athletic target with NFL size and strength - entering his second season in Dallas.

DT Datone Jones

A mid-season acquisition from the Green Bay Packers, Datone Jones flashed as a defensive tackle in the limited opportunities he received. A five-year league veteran, Jones showed the ability to play with power and leverage at the 1T position - a spot the Cowboys are thin at right now.

Jones' versatility also suited him well, playing with impressive burst and disruptive ability as a pass-rushing 3T.

The addition of one more starting caliber DT could truly put this Dallas defensive front over the edge. With how much Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli believes in his DL rotation though, players like Datone Jones can prove immensely valuable.

DT Lewis Neal

Similarly to Jones, Lewis Neal is a fan-favorite defensive tackle for the Cowboys. Neal has absolutely earned the attention he's gotten, a UDFA out of LSU that plays the 1T position better than expected given his size.

The Cowboys have gotten by in recent years with smaller, more mobile players at this interior DT spot, with Neal being their latest post-draft steal to make an impact.

Lewis Neal appeared in seven games for the Cowboys this season, finding ways to help those around him by anchoring the line of scrimmage and disengaging with active hands and a quick base. This is a player that should be a valuable part of the team's depth on the defensive line.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The year-to-year nature of the NFL can be a wonderful thing (unfortunately, ask any Eagles fan right now). Part of this reality is understanding that none of the players listed above may actually stick with the Dallas Cowboys for 2018.

Next week's NFL Scouting Combine will kick "draft season" into full gear however, as the Cowboys will be working to better understand their teams needs and how they can be addressed.

Jarwin, Lenoir, Jones, and Neal all contributed or showed the promise to do so at positions the Cowboys must improve at this season - warranting a closer look through this dull portion of the offseason.

Tell us what you think about "4 Depth Players to Keep in Mind on Dallas Cowboys Roster" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys 2018 Free Agents: RB Alfred Morris

Jess Haynie



Alfred Morris

After two seasons of providing veteran depth for the Dallas Cowboys, running back Alfred Morris is about to be a free agent again. Does the 29-year-old still have value for the club, or will Dallas go with younger options in 2018?

Morris was signed in March of 2016. At the time, it was assumed he would be the backup to incumbent starter Darren McFadden and perhaps even split carries.

But a month later, Dallas drafted Ezekiel Elliott and drastically changed the landscape at the running back position.

If Alfred suddenly seemed expendable, that quickly changed in June when McFadden broke his elbow. Morris wound being the number-two back after all, but he was rarely used as Elliott immediately became the workhorse RB and held that role for all of his spectacular rookie season.

Last year, we all know what happened with Ezekiel Elliott. Morris became the primary RB during Zeke's suspension and had solid numbers, averaging 4.35 yards on his 99 carries during that six-week stretch.

By Week 16, though, not only had Zeke returned but Rod Smith had started to break out from the depth chart. In the Cowboys' pivotal game that week against the Seattle Seahawks, Alfred didn't even get a touch behind Elliott and Smith.

Alfred Morris

Dallas Cowboys RB Alfred Morris

Considering Smith's emergence last year, and him only being 26, it's easy to see why Dallas may not be looking to bring Alfred Morris back. They seem to have their one-two punch already set at the top of the RB depth chart.

What's more, Morris isn't likely to settle for a likely third-place role. He may not be interested in coming back to Dallas given the situation.

Thankfully for Alfred, he enters the free agent market with some good tape from 2017 showing that he can still produce. It's not a loaded crop of free agents this year and, despite his age, Morris could still find a good job somewhere. He's earned an opportunity to compete, if nothing else.

That opportunity likely won't come in Dallas, though. As I wrote about last month, the Cowboys have enough power already and need to add a speed option in their RB rotation.

That said, Alfred Morris spent the last two years giving Dallas good value for the money. He was a solid free agent pickup and his time as a Cowboy should be remembered fondly. At this point, though, I doubt that relationship will continue.

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here