Thursday night’s matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys was not only an important matchup between two clubs that were then 6-6. It featured a rematch of a 2017 matchup in the trenches between All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack who was then with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys Right Tackle La’el Collins.
In that matchup, which the Dallas Cowboys won, Collins provided the promise of what we’re seeing this season. Namely, that he’s an elite right tackle in the NFL capable of battling the best edge rushers in the NFL.
In the 2017 game, Collins only allowed four pressures per Pro Football Focus and didn’t have a sack attributed to him. Though Mack had two sacks in that game, neither was attributed to Collins. Again on Thursday Night Football, Collins showed up again and played extremely well against Mack and the Chicago Bears defensive front.
On Thursday night, per Pro Football Focus, La’el Collins allowed just two total pressures (a quarterback hit and a hurry) while both sacks were attributed to Quarterback Dak Prescott.
It’s becoming routine for La’el Collins to be highlighted among the bright spots in what has been mostly terrible team performances. What’s even more impressive about how effective Collins has been, is that the Cowboys have had to play from big deficits a lot in 2019, which should, in theory, give the pass rush the advantage. Even with opposing defenses knowing the Dallas Cowboys have to be in pass-heavy mode, Collins has been extraordinary this season and is a big part of the passing game success we’ve seen with Dak Prescott.
In the offseason, it was thought that La’el Collins would be playing his final season for the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. Then a surprise contract extension was announced, keeping Collins in the silver and blue through the 2024 season. Collins contract made him the fifth highest-paid right tackle and 21st in the league in average annual salary for a tackle. Based on his performance in 2019, the Dallas Cowboys got an absolute bargain.
On the season, La’el Collins ranks 11th in Pro Football Focus’ “Pass Blocking Efficiency” among players with at least 284 pass-block snaps, which measures pressures allowed per pass rush snap. The metric puts an emphasis on sacks allowed. Per PFF, Collins has only allowed one sack this season on his 460 snaps in pass protection.
Amidst all of the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the future, La’el Collins’ future with the Dallas Cowboys looks really bright. With injuries mounting with Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick still not all the way back, and some uncertainty about Connor Williams at left guard, La’el Collins’ ascension at right tackle has been a huge development for the Dallas Cowboys.