The Dallas Cowboys have officially ruled Guard/Tackle Zack Martin “out” for Tuesday’s Week 13 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. That means Dallas will now have to do something that they haven’t so far in 2020; win a game without their All-Pro offensive lineman.
Martin has missed one full game and exited early in two others this year with injuries. All three were losses; Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals and both games against the Washington Football Team.
This season we’ve seen Zack have to play offensive tackle due to injuries to both Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, and even then he was still still Dallas’ best lineman. His presence has been the difference maker, even more than the quarterback issues, for the Cowboys having a solvent offense.
Second-year player Connor McGovern has been in at Martin’s tradition spot of right guard and hasn’t been the key problem. The real issue is at offensive tackle and when Terence Steele has to play, which will be the case this week.
Steele has been decent in as a run blocker but is a huge liability in pass protection. And while many quarterbacks suffer from this, Andy Dalton has been particularly bad under pressure in his first season with Dallas.
The Cowboys’ most recent loss to Washington was the best they’d performed so far without Martin on the field. Even after Zack had to go out with a calf injury they were able to stay competitive until Ezekiel Elliott’s fumble and Mike McCarthy’s poor decisions let things get out of hand.
The Baltimore Ravens are far more equipped to take advantage of Dallas’ miscues than even Washington was. That means the Cowboys will have to play nearly perfect football to overcome Zack Martin’s absence.
Martin’s calf injury was given a “2-4 week” recovery timetable and Zack has always been one of the toughest guys on the roster when it comes to playing hurt. Hopefully the Cowboys can get him back for the final four weeks of the season, especially if they remain in contention for winning the NFC East.