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Don’t Count Terence Steele out of the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Plans Just Yet

The was nothing short of a debacle for the Dallas offensive line. La’el Collins never played a snap and was lost shortly after the start of the season. That meant Terence Steele was required to play all 16 games.

It was an up and down season in 2020 for the rookie out of Texas Tech, but he finished the season strong, showing improved play down the stretch. Now he enters his second season with more competition for snaps on the offensive line. But Steele has a few things going for him that maybe the other guys don’t.

One of the things that Steele has going for him is that he is going to get a full with the team in 2021, unlike last year. In 2020, due to protocols, in-person meetings and workouts were limited. Meaning less time spent with his position coach on the field putting in the work. The abbreviated and no games really limited his development and it showed in the first half of the season.

Steele was thrown to the wolves in the 2020 season and while it was a rough start through the first half of the season, he got his sea legs midway through and played better down the stretch. Imagine how much more prepared he would have been with , minicamp, and five preseason games?

Do you remember the conversation between Loki and Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War.

Loki: “If you’re going to Earth, you might want a guide. I have a bit of experience there.”

Thanos: “Well, if you consider failure experience.

Loki: “I consider experience, experience.

Steele’s 2020 wasn’t exactly a failure, but there were a lot of struggles as he adapted to playing in the NFL. You’d be hard-pressed to find an undrafted going into their second year with as many snaps under their belt as Terence Steele had in 2020. It may not have always been pretty, but experience is experience and Steele has a leg up on the newcomers in that regard.

It may not have been the plan to thrust Terence Steele onto the field right away, but onto the field, he went with several major along the offensive line. He was the team’s fifth option and they even tried to get on the field in his place late in the season. However, Steele’s experience and relationships with the offensive line and should give him a headstart in his competition with and other offensive line options. Steele’s been working with the rest of the offensive line group at Duke Manyweather’s training facility. That should bode well for year two improvement.

With a full offseason to work with the team and review what went well and what didn’t in 2020, Terence Steele has an opportunity to take a big step forward in 2021 and could contend for the swing tackle job if he progresses. At worst, he’ll be a backup option at should the Cowboys’ woes along the offensive line continue into 2021.

What do you think?


Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. Completely agree with everything except the last sentence. It’s entirely plausible that “at worst” he could not even make the final roster … but even if that ocurrs, I think he’ll still find a NFL home on somebody’s 53.

  2. Dave, that’s a well thought out and fair assessment of the offensive line. Some will agree and others will not but I appreciate you taking the time to explain your reasoning. You may be exactly on point when the cuts happen.

  3. The Cowboys offensive linemen can be divided into two groups based on experience. Those with less than 5 years experience: Connor Williams (3 years), Tyler Biadasz (1 year), Connor McGovern (2 years), Brandon Knight (2 years), Terence Steele (1 year), Mitch Hyatt (2 years), William Sweet (2 years), Eric Smith (3 years), Josh Ball (rookie), Braylon Jones (rookie), and Matt Farniok (rookie), and those with more than 5 years experience: La’el Collins (6 years), Tyron Smith (10 years), Zack Martin (7 years), and Ty Nsekhe (7 years). Obviously the longer tenured players won’t be around forever, so it makes sense to build the team on young guys over a period of time to step in and become the starters when the older guys retire. Bringing in older veterans for a year or two just gets in the way of the young guys development. Last year was a blessing in disguise for the young Cowboy linemen. They gained valuable game experience and nothing beats that. I also expect we’ll see a few more young linemen in coming drafts, so it is a never ending process. Terrence Steele proved last year that he deserves a chance to grow with the team. For an undrafted rookie to step in and play as well as he did is pretty rare. Brandon Knight also did a pretty good job. Tyler Biadasz showed he knows how to play the position and he will certainly step up this year. With everyone healthy, there are lots of options and the Cowboys can depend on their front line to lead the way. I’m looking forward to seeing just which of these guys make the final roster and practice squad. My guess is the top 9 guys on the roster (not in order) will be Tyron Smith, Brandon Knight, Connor Williams, Connor McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Josh Ball, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, and Terence Steele. If the Cowboys keep a 10th lineman on the roster, it will be one of Ty Nseke, Matt Farniok, Mitch Hyatt or Braylon Jones. I expect whoever does not make the roster has a good chance of being added to the practice squad.

  4. I agree–I thought he played surprisingly well for where he came from without any real prior experience at this level. No, he was not a pro-bowler–but at least he was out there playing hard every game.

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