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Film Review: Connor Williams Overall Impressive In Preseason Debut

The collapse of the 2017 Dallas can be, in large part, attributed to the collapse of their offensive line. When was forced to miss time with various , neither nor could get the job done in his place. Not only were these two replacements unsatisfactory, however, they were disastrous.

From the beginning of the the Cowboys had a problem at as well. With departing for Denver and La’el Collins replacing at , the left spot was left to an open competition between and Chaz Green. Quite frankly, neither was impressive.

As a result ’s sophomore season was nowhere near as fun or remarkable as his season, and the Cowboys faltered down the stretch as a team. Trying to rectify these issues, Dallas drafted Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams in the of last year’s draft.

Though it could be argued that, on paper, the Cowboys had more pressing needs than their All-Pro filled offensive line, adding a player like Connor Williams was exactly what this team needed to do if it wanted to emulate its 2016 success.

So, through one game, how does the rookie look? Let’s take to the film to decide just how good (or bad) Connor Williams was in his debut.

Let’s begin with the bad. Really the only completely poor rep of the night for Connor Williams came on the first drive of the game. Williams is working against former pick here. Buckner, lined up as the 3 technique over Williams’ outside shoulder, knows he is in a one-on-one situation with the rookie.

Buckner immediately swipes Williams’ hands down, quickly flipping his hips and getting upfield. Besides not getting a strong enough punch, Williams’ biggest mistake is that he stops his feet on contact. This allows Buckner to get him off balance, forcing Williams to bend at the waist and look lost.

Buckner then blows by him for the easy hit.

Later on the same drive we see Williams struggle to execute a reach block. Once again Williams is faced with a 3-technique, this time Sheldon Day. Day gets a great get-off, beating Williams initially with his first step. Day then does a great job of stoning Williams’ playside shoulder and redirecting the .

This is another example of Connor Williams needing to increase his play strength and speed a bit. Multiple Cowboys reporters at have mentioned these issues with Williams’ game, and they flashed on tape during this rep.

Thankfully for both Connor Williams and the Cowboys, things only went uphill from here.

On Dak Prescott’s touchdown pass to we see Connor Williams correct everything he had wrong earlier.

Williams comes out of his stance square, delivers a solid punch, and stones the at the line of scrimmage. Williams stays strong with his hands even as the defender attempts to swipe them down as Buckner successfully did earlier.

He allows for no interior and keeps Prescott’s vision clear down the field.

Earlier on the same drive we see Connor Williams work well off a double team and on to the second level. Williams delivers a solid punch to the 1-technique on the inside of him, allowing plenty of time to overtake the man and drive him back.

What’s most impressive, though, is how Williams keeps his shoulders square and his eyes on the second level the entire time. He never buries his head or over-commits to the down lineman, allowing himself to be an athlete and help spring for a nice gain.

Despite some legit reasons for concern about Williams’ game, I do believe he will be fine moving forward. Connor Williams is an excellent plug and play left guard who provides some depth as well, and is a vital addition to the Cowboys 2018 . His debut performance gives all of us even more reasons to be excited about this offensive line.

What do you think?

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Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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