The Dallas Cowboys have had to answer questions all off-season regarding the lack of depth on the offensive line. A thin group coming into the off-season got even more delicate with the Tyron Smith injury, putting him out until at least December. Those close to the team have said they are expected to start a group that consists of Tyler Smith, Connor McGovern, Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, and Terence Steele.
The production you get from a line like this is either heads or tails, let's flip the coin and see if we call it right.
The Cowboys lost starting left tackle Smith last week with an avulsion fracture of his knee, meaning his hamstring is tearing from his bone. Dallas has been reportedly trying to trade for New York Jets offensive lineman Chuma Edoga, who is not in line to start for the Jets this season. They are trying to add depth, a problem they should have addressed long before Smith went down with injury; they had to expect this to happen at some point, right?
Jerry Jones yesterday on 105.3 The Fan said it's safe to say Dallas will be going with rookie Tyler Smith as their starting LT.
Reports say McGovern should follow at LG, Biadasz at C, Martin at RG, and Steele trying to hold down the RT spot. As the season progresses, I want to dive into the realistic expectations for these players and the Dallas offensive line now that we know who we may see at least for one week.
Cowboys’ starting offensive line in Week 1 vs. Buccaneers is expected to be LT Tyler Smith, LG Connor McGovern, C Tyler Biadasz, RG Zack Martin and RT Terence Steele. Good chance an offensive tackle will be acquired before then for added depth.
The Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith with the 24th overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, looking toward the future as a possible replacement for Tyron Smith.
He got early reps at LT in minicamp and during the first two preseason games. Still, until Tyron went down, it was a mystery where he might have started the year.
When Jones says something to the media regarding a player's starting position, we fans have no choice but to believe it. That is the problem; he also noted that Tyler has a high ankle sprain which typically causes players to miss 4-6 weeks. This situation could get even uglier very quickly.
The rookie needs to be ready to take full advantage of the opportunity that has come his way. We can talk about his work at Tulsa coming out of the draft and what we see on tape, but he has not seen legitimate NFL starters even playing in a few preseason games.
If the Cowboys have done something right over the years, it has been drafting offensive linemen. Let's hope they hit another home run.
McGovern is the expected LG for the Cowboys; he has a few starts under his belt that came a season ago. He was brought in when Connor Williams was benched in the middle of the year. We have only seen a sample size of what McGovern will bring forward; going into his third year, he could benefit from getting a full year of work.
He concluded the preseason by starting at the center position. I will admit I hated it and may have overlooked this against Seattle, but maybe this might be a good idea if the thin offensive line gets hit with another injury and he needs to slide over and help out at a different spot, including center.
Let me say that when it comes to Steele, he seems to be a hard worker, and even though it seems the Cowboys have been very high on him since day one, I would rather have La'el Collins rolling into week one of the regular season.
Dallas has much more confidence in him than most. I am most worried about the defenders that have a power move and will not be afraid to use it against him.
If he struggles this season, the Cowboys may not have a backup plan to ease the problem; maybe we will see Jake Ferguson out there to help chip. His blocking looked impressive this preseason. Steele is my most significant question mark on this starting group.
This year might be the biggest for Biadasz, with the Cowboys still looking for a long-term answer at the center position; a PFF grade of 65.1 last season won't cut it. He falls into the backup category, and the center is one of the most critical jobs on the offense.
I want him to succeed because he can be a great player, and since entering the league from Wisconsin, he has struggled to be consistent, and the numbers tell you the same as the eye test.
You can't keep taking the good with the bad at this level. At some point, it has to be more positive than negative.
Saved the best for last; this offensive line goes as much as Martin can pull them, even without legit talent around him.
Martin has not played an entire season since 2016, but if he does miss a game, it is one or two, not 10 or 11. The 2020 season was a wreck when he only played 10 games due to a concussion and a calf strain.
Arguably the best guard in football was voted the 68th best player of 2022 by the players, but guess what? You can't name 67 other players who do their job better than Martin.
I will be happy if they reduce the penalties this season and show discipline on this side of the ball.
As mentioned above, this unit will be a coin flip, but don't be bad in every phase of your job. Cut out some of the bad penalties and start to improve elsewhere. Jones won't let it go; he wants to run the football, saying they go as Ezekiel Elliott goes, but I am afraid they may go as this offensive line goes.