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

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.

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

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

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.

What do you think?


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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