On Sunday, the offense did something that hadn’t happened since 2003, and that was not scoring a single point. Everyone had a part in the blame in the putrid performance, from the quarterback to the play-caller to the receivers. Yet, the position group that had the biggest impact has to be the offensive line. Already down All-Pro Guard Zach Martin, in the middle of the game the Cowboys lost guard Xavier Su’a-Filo to an eye injury. So third-stringer Adam Redmond is thrust to a starting role and it wasn’t pretty. The worst combination of players on the offensive line helped bog down the offense all afternoon. This isn’t new though, the offensive line has really been the biggest factor for the offense being inept this season.
We like to blame either Dak Prescott or Scott Linehan for the reason behind this season’s offensive failures, but really since the start the offensive line has been the real culprit. First off, the loss of center Travis Frederick really has hurt this team. While Joe Looney has filled in admirably and played well at times, but he lacks Frederick’s leadership and ability to help both guards and call out protections.
Another big loss for the offensive line is that All-Pro Tyron Smith isn’t the same player anymore. Playing hurt this season has caused Smith to regress and has become a liability with his constant holding calls,which he leads the league in. He has had four called against him in the last two games.
Rookie guard Connor Williams hasn’t had the same success his counterparts had in their rookie season and has been up and down all season long. Right Tackle La’el Collins isn’t the same player he was from last season. He has given up the fifth-most pressures of all tackles in football this season according to Bob Sturm of “The Ticket”. The offensive line is just not the same anymore.
One of the major problems was the coaching and the Cowboys aimed to fix that when they fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander during the bye-week and replaced him with Marc Columbo. Yet, that still really hasn’t totally fixed the problem.
The truth is, it might take a whole off-season for this line to return back to its former glory, if it can at all. In the meantime, the Cowboys will have to just hope the line gets healthier and can get some positive play from the position going forward. There have been moments since Columbo took over that has shown promise. The consistency is just not there. Yet, when the group is balling, the offensive as a whole becomes a different animal.
Two years ago, this offensive line was the best in the NFL and the envy of every other team. Today, they are lucky to have their starters playing healthy for at least a game. Looks like offensive line will have to be added back to the grocery list in the offseason for this team.
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