Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

Film Room: Yes, The Cowboys O-Line Is That Good

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Offensive Line, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith
AP Photo / Scott Boehm

The Cowboys offensive line has received a lot of praise over the last couple of years. Starting in 2014, when their rushing attack first busted onto the scene, they have been regarded as the best unit in all of football.

Sometimes, I think that the boatloads of credit this offensive line gets for the team success can be overstated. But then, I watch the tape, and am reminded of just how dominant each one of these five guys can be.

Monday night against the Detroit Lions, I was once again reminded of how good this offensive line is. As a linemen myself for all of my life, I love watching o-line play. It gets me into football more than any other positions or players in the game. And watching the Cowboys o-line work on Monday night was an absolute delight.

While Ezekiel Elliott only rushed for 80 yards, he did so on just 12 carries. That is absolutely insane. Sure, his long touchdown run early in the game is the reason for the inflation, but that play was just yet another example of how great both the o-line and Zeke are, and of how well they compliment one another.

https://twitter.com/VeteranScout/status/813787213301366784

Doug Free has his rough moments, but he really is one of the top-notch right tackles in the NFL. No, he isn't Tyron Smith and he probably is just the 5th best starting offensive linemen on his own team, but he still makes key blocks like this one in almost every game.

While the other four linemen execute their zone steps on this play to create a cut back line backside, Free stays on the defensive end to seal the edge. His block proves key, as Elliott cuts between he and Martin for a long touchdown run.

Travis Frederick also does a great job here of getting some movement on the nose tackle, something that many centers struggle with.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Incredible pull from Zack Martin here. Defender tries to go inside, so he controls him and logs him down https://t.co/jJJ41A2E2I

The blocking on this play might have been my favorite of the night. Yes, it only goes for a modest gain, but the way that Zack Martin and Jason Witten execute when pulling is fantastic.

Martin comes around and meets the defensive end right on the line of scrimmage. While they stalemate at first, Martin never stops running his feet, allowing himself to log the defender down the line of scrimmage and open up a huge lane.

Witten pulls as well, and does an excellent job of kicking out the incoming linebacker to compliment Martin's block.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

No better G/C combo in the league than these two https://t.co/ERC5Xo0aZK

I believe I can say with confidence that Zack Martin and Travis Frederick execute combo blocks better that any other center/guard combination in football. This play is just yet another example of it.

The key to executing the combo block in a zone-scheme is for the front side blocker to take half the man, allowing the backside lineman to overtake the defender, before releasing to the next level.

Martin and Frederick do a picture-perfect job of this on the play, as Frederick gets up to the linebacker after he and Martin get solid movement on the down lineman. Their blocks spring Darren McFadden for a nice gain.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Ridiculous cut-back lane for DMC on inside zone. Full review of Cowboys OL play Monday coming on @InsideTheStarDC tomorrow

The Cowboys offensive line is perfect for zone blocking. Like we saw earlier in the game on Zeke's first touchdown run, they do a great job of allowing for cut back lanes and two-way go's for the running back.

I took this snapshot of a McFadden run to emphasize just how big a hole they have the ability to open up. Had the middle linebacker filled the backside gap immediately to overcompensate for the hole, McFadden would have also had a nice lane on the right side to run through.

With all of the praise which the Cowboys offensive line receives, I am sure that other fan bases, and even some in this fan base, may get sick of hearing about it. But the bottom line is, this unit is the best at what they do. And with the way this team has run the ball all season long, they deserve to be given credit.



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 am currently a college student. Lets get going.

Player News

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Sean Martin

Published

on

Despite Late Push in Year One, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See the Field in 2018? 1
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.

These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.

Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, DT Maliek Collins (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.

This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.

Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.

The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.

It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.

Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.

As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.

For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys OT La’el Collins Could Become Major Bargain

Jess Haynie

Published

on

La'el Collins

When you talk Cowboys offensive line, you always think of Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin first. Right Tackle La'el Collins still has to prove he belongs in the same sentence with his elite teammates. If he does that in 2018, Collins could become one of the best bargains on the roster.

Making the move from left guard to right tackle last year, Collins improved with time and was playing his best football at the end of the year. This was despite ongoing back issues that had him on the injury report most weeks.

La'el started all 16 games at right tackle and did enough that the Cowboys committed to keeping him there in 2018, even despite a big hole back at left guard. They are hoping consistency and stability will allow Collins to really blossom this season, building on the strong progress shown last year.

For 2018, Collins has a $5.76 million cap hit. According to Spotrac, that makes him the 13th-most expensive right tackle in the NFL this year.

That middle-of-the-pack expense is consistent with where La'el currently rates among NFL right tackles. Bleacher Report ranked Collins as the 16th-best RT in football last year.

But that ranking was based on the season as a whole. If La'el plays all of 2018 the way he was playing towards the end of last year, he will have emerged as one of the better right tackles in the game.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

If Collins develops as we hope, that salary suddenly becomes a major bargain. The most expensive right tackles in the NFL are making $7-$9 million this season.

But this can go a couple of ways. With his 2019 cap hit rising to $7.9 million, La'el needs to next step forward.

If Collins were to struggle this year, it could make him a potential cap casualty next offseason. Dallas can save $6.5 million in cap space if Collins is released or traded in 2019.

Dallas could elect to give Connor Williams, their second-round pick this year, a look at right tackle next season. It's the position he played in college.

They could also consider veteran backup Cameron Fleming, who will still be just 26-year-old. Fleming has two Super Bowl rings and several starts, including in the postseason, from his time with the Patriots.

While we think of La'el Collins as a first-round talent, it's important to remember that he was ultimately an undrafted free agent. Dallas did not have to invest anything to acquire him, and ultimately that makes it easier to let him go.

Naturally, we prefer the other side of this coin. If Collins builds on 2017, he will join the upper echelon of right tackles in the league. And if the Cowboys' offensive line isn't already the best in the NFL, that would only cement them as the best unit in football.

If La'el makes the leap, it could mean huge things for the Cowboys' offense and team success this year.



Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys

How Cowboys Could Benefit From Randy Gregory’s Suspension

Brian Martin

Published

on

Cowboys Headlines - Randy Gregory Withdraws Suspension Appeal, Cannot Return Until Week 15

Randy Gregory is back! His suspension is officially over and he will be able to join the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California when training camp gets underway less than a week from now.

Speculation has already started as to what this could mean for the Dallas Cowboys defense this season, and shockingly expectations are rather high for a player who hasn't stepped foot on the field in over a year. But, that's not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to focus on Gregory's mess of a contract, because it is rather interesting.

Randy Gregory was signed to a four-year contract after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Gregory's rookie deal was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2018 season, but his multiple suspensions have now changed that expiration date.

You see, Gregory has only played in a total of 14 games in his career, 12 as a rookie and two in Year 2. His third year in the NFL was completely wiped out due to his year-long suspension. If you were to add that all up, it equates to just one accured season in the NFL. Remember that, because it could have a huge impact on his contract down the road.

Randy Gregory

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory

What all of this means is that the Cowboys can pretty much stretch out Gregory's contract now that they are three years in on the deal and have only gotten one accured season out of the agreement. That basically means they can push his contract back a year, meaning his 2017 salary ($731,813) gets pushed back to 2018, his 2018 salary ($955,217) gets pushed to 2019. That would essentially make him a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) in 2020.

Or does it?

Depending on how the Dallas Cowboys handled paying Randy Gregory during his suspension could actually make him an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (EFA). This is a similar situation in which David Irving found himself in after the 2017 season. The Cowboys placed a second-round tender on him in order to secure his services for another season, albeit at a $2.91 million price tag.

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys pretty much hold all the cards when it comes to Randy Gregory's contract situation. It's all a little confusing, but that's what makes it such a unique and interesting situation.

Of course, the Cowboys could decide to extend Gregory early if he completely dominates upon his return this season. It's highly doubtful though considering his past suspensions, but still technically a possibility. If it does happen, you can go ahead and ignore everything I've written previously.



Continue Reading



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

Trending