Is There Reason For Concern About The Cowboys Offensive Line? ⋆
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Is There Reason For Concern About The Cowboys Offensive Line?

Jonathan Cooper

Dallas Cowboys

Is There Reason For Concern About The Cowboys Offensive Line?

Is There Reason For Concern About The Cowboys Offensive Line?

Last week, Pro Football Focus set the Cowboys Twitter world on fire by sending out one simple list.

The Top Offensive Lines in the NFL.

Long story short, they had the Cowboys vaunted offensive line 9th, which sent a large portion of our fan base into a frenzy and led to some serious discussion about the status of the team’s offensive line.

PFF’s main reason for sending the Cowboys down in their rankings was that they are enduring turnover at two starting positions. Losing longtime starting right tackle Doug Free, and one of the most underappreciated players on the 2016 roster in Ronald Leary, the Cowboys have to get creative in order to fill out the “starting five.”

Both Leary and Free were solid starters in Dallas, and were certainly underrated by most of the team’s own fan base, but I don’t believe the future at right tackle or left guard is as bleak as some are painting it out to be.

Of course, La’el Collins is sliding to right tackle. You know, the same La’el Collins who showed flashes of greatness during his rookie season in 2015, albeit at guard. There are some questions about just how smooth his transition to tackle will be, but I personally have faith that Collins will be fine on the right side.La'el Collins

What I mostly wanted to discuss today, however, was the Cowboys situation at left guard.

Former first round pick turned “bust” in the eyes of many, Jonathan Cooper has been penciled in as the starter there during the early parts of the offseason. After playing in a handful games for the Cleveland Browns in 2016, Cooper was signed by the Cowboys prior to their playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Dallas decided to keep Cooper for the 2017 season, now giving him a chance to compete for and earn that left guard spot.

While there are legitimate questions about how good Cooper really is, or can be, there is no question that he is in the perfect place to reach his full potential.

Whatever that potential may be.

Playing with All-Pro Tyron Smith to his left and All-Pro Travis Frederick to his right, Cooper will be starting at the most comfortable guard spot in the entire league. No, it will not be easy for Cooper, nor do I expect him to be a great player, but I do believe he can be a solid piece amongst this fearsome line.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

No, he’s not great and will be the 5th best starter for sure. But he proved last year he can operate off doubles, and get to the 2nd level https://t.co/HbflJgxhIn

Plus, I actually liked what I saw when watching the tape on Cooper in 2016. Yes, there were inconsistencies, but Cooper showed the ability to operate off double teams well on both DUO and inside/outside zone blocking schemes.

Plays which the Cowboys use a lot of, by the way.

I write all of that to say, we should still have confidence in the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. They still have three of (arguably) the top ten offensive linemen in the league, and now add two players which were once considered to be top draft prospects.

Sure, it might not work, and it might not be as pretty as it has been since 2014. But, I don’t think there is a reason for panic about the changes on this offensive line just yet.

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 am currently a college student. Lets get going.

5 Comments
  • Ethan Chazin

    Really sick and tired of these WORRY articles @ the O line. 1st of all, L’ael Collins is a major upgrade over Free at RT in terms of athleticism. Not sure why none of you bloggers are focusing on the glass is half full. Sure Free was a 10-year known entity which included untimely penalties that put the O in difficult situations and/or negated huge plays. With respect to left guard, I understand Leary performed well (esp. so as an UDFA) but let’s not pretend he was an All-Pro. Cooper was the 7th overall pick in the draft, so put him or Green between Tyrone Smith and Travis Frederick and I am fairly confident in saying that will not be a position of risk. I get it, you have to write about something. So why not tell us how players like Tapper are doing with their rehab, write about players that seem significantly improved (Mayowa, Thornton, Nazochia, ???) or give us fans reasons for excitement 3 weeks away from the start of training camp.

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      Ethan, I actually think my article was more optimistic than most I’ve seen. I am in “wait and see” mode on Collins moving to tackle and Cooper starting at guard, but I do feel pretty good about both.

  • John Williams

    I will quit worrying once we see the games happen. I think between Cooper and Chaz Green, they potentially could be a better offensive line than last year.

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      That’s fair, John. I think we are all justified in having some doubts.

  • redsoxu571

    People need to understand what that list was doing.

    PFF did NOT have “reasoning”. It was not trying to actually predict the best OLs. If it had to pick one, I GUARANTEE it would pick Dallas’s OL. It was RATING the OL according to a methodology, one that penalized poor past performance, did not attempt to project future performance, and depending largely on a line having strong PFF ratings across all five spots.

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