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Losing La’el Collins Would Hurt, but Cowboys Have Resources to Overcome

Starting Right La'el Collins is currently missing practices with a neck stinger. While the thought of being without him in Week One is a bad one, no doubt triggering some PTSD from 2020, the have resources which should allow them to handle a potential absence from Collins.

The pains of last season are still quite memorable; Collins missed all of 2020 with a hip and joined him on after just two games. Other on the , most notably 's, left the Cowboys scrambling to cobble together a front five far too many weeks.

Any notion of Collins being out again this year, and especially against the defending champs in Week One, is a negative. Dallas will certainly be less without him but it's a situation they should be able to overcome.

While not getting the same respect as the “blind side” protection gig at , is still a very difficult assignment. But if you had to be without one guy against Tampa Bay, Dallas is far better off with it being Collins than Tyron Smith.

I think back to 2019 when La'el exited against the . With Cam Fleming already playing on the left side due to a Smith injury, then-undrafted rookie had to step in. His solid play that day and the following week in a start against the Jets were memorable and why he's still on the roster now.

Knight is just one option the Cowboys can use against Tampa Bay if needed. They currently have veteran as the supposed swing tackle and 2nd-year prospect also on the .

One of Knight, Nsekhe, or Steele may be released in the coming days as comes off the list and a roster spot has to be opened. But even then, Dallas could move someone to the and still call them up for the game.

With the rest of the starting offensive line intact, and especially with Tyron Smith on the left side and Zack Martin back at , whoever has to start at RT against the Bucs is in a position to succeed.

Nsekhe would seem the logical choice given his experience. His play at right tackle for the in recent years is what brought him to Dallas as a . But with the veteran now close to 36 years old, there's always the chance that he's not the same player.

Steele has become a focal point for criticism after last year's struggles and some bad moments in 2021 games. The thought of him going up against Tampa's Shaq Barrett, who's had 27.5 the last two years, is reasonable nightmare fuel. But hopefully working with the first team in practice and on Thursday night would help Terence to step up his game.

Another option to consider, as we saw last year, is sliding Zack Martin over to RT and then using at guard. While coaches are often adverse to making changes at two positions, there's also something to be said for getting your five best players on the field. If McGovern is the superior player to any of the OT backups, this could give the Cowboys their best chance to win.

One other factor; is back and in a much better position to adapt and overcome any issues at right tackle than the quarterbacks we were working with from Weeks 6-17.

The point here is that a La'el Collins absence, while certainly not what we want, is a less dire issue than what we faced with the offensive line in 2020. With projected stability at the other four spots, experienced depth who are all better off playing right tackle than left, and our franchise QB back under , Dallas should be able to get through this and remain competitive.

If not, then these Cowboys really aren't who we thought or hoped they were in 2021.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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