For the first time in a few years, there have been some questions about whether the Cowboys possess the league’s best offensive line in football this offseason.
With changes coming at both left guard and right tackle, it can be easy to forget that the Dallas Cowboys still have three of the top ten offensive linemen in the entire league on that same line.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier hasn’t forgotten, however.
In his latest piece for the Player’s Tribune, Shazier named the five toughest players he has faced during his time in the NFL. Considering this is being written about in a Cowboys blog, you can assume he had high praise for our favorite offensive linemen.
In fact, he did!
Shazier named Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith the best offensive tackle in the league, and the toughest player he has faced thus far. His praise went beyond just Tyron, however, discussing how great the whole Cowboys offensive unit is.
“Tyron Smith is a freaking Sasquatch out there playing football. He’s huge and he’s super quick, and when he gets his hands on you, forget it. It’s like they’re glued to you. You’re not getting out of his grasp. In my opinion, he’s the best tackle in the game.”
Shazier also discussed one of the most important, yet underrated, aspects of offensive line play.
As a defensive lineman or linebacker, you always study the opposing team’s offensive line to see if they give away any play-calls by alignment. For example, some offensive guards will be heavy on their hands when a run is called, or will be lined up further off the line of scrimmage when pulling.
According to Shazier, the Cowboys offensive line doesn’t give away any tells.
“But Dallas’ guys never tip you off with their pre-snap setup. Those guys are a well-oiled machine. When the ball snaps, they all have a consistent technique when it comes to their zone blocking. It’s one thing to block your man and open a hole. It’s another level to block your man and stick to him and move him upfield. More often than not, you’ll see their linemen finish the play four or five yards past the line of scrimmage.”
This is high praise from one of the league’s best defensive players, and has me very excited to see what is in store for the Cowboys offense this season.
It feels like it’s going to be special.