The Dallas Cowboys have had to adjust their offensive line for much of the season due to injuries or quality of play. With Xavier Su’a-Filo doubtful for today’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Cowboys will be forced once again to make an adjustment along their offensive line. Connor Williams will likely get the start agains the Seahawks and he’s a key to what the Dallas Cowboys would like to do on offense.
Connor Williams has had some struggles this season, but he’s gotten better as the season has gone along. While Su’a-Filo has had his moments as the starting left guard, he’s also been an issue, particularly in pass blocking.
According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier Su’a-Filo allowed 20 pressures on 269 pass blocking snaps, or one pressure every 13.45. Connor Williams has been slightly better, allowing a pressure every 14.21 snaps. Su’a-Filo also allowed a sack at a higher rate than Connor Williams allowing a sack every 44.83 pass plays. While Williams has only slightly been slightly better than Su’a-Filo on pressures allowed, Williams has nearly doubled his sack rate. Williams is allowing a sack every 79.6 pass plays, on average.
Over the last five games especially, Williams has been much better at keeping Dak Prescott clean. On 156 snaps over the last five games, Su’a-Filo has allowed 5 sacks and 14 pressures. On 110 snaps, Connor Williams has only allowed two sacks and nine pressures.
Whoever starts at left guard, whether it’s Su’a-Filo or Williams, will have their hands full tonight facing off against a powerful interior tandem in Jarran Reed and Poona Ford. Jarran Reed has double-digit sacks for the Seattle Seahawks this season. Poona Ford has been excellent as a run defender. Pro Football Focus has rated Ford as the third best interior defensive lineman in the NFL over the last five weeks.
Connor Williams may not have played well early in the season, but he was making a transition to a new position and having to deal with players that he may not have been prepared for quite yet. Well, with a little more seasoning, Williams has been performing well enough to possibly keep his starting spot at left guard. How well he plays tonight will go a long way in determining which team advances to the divisional round and the waiting arms of the New Orleans Saints or the Los Angeles Rams.
For the offense to keep humming the way it’s been, they’ll need Williams to step in on that left side without missing a beat.