The Dallas Cowboys offensive line used to be considered the best in the league. But here’s why they can no longer be viewed as being elite.
There’s a few things we learned in Dallas’s unfortunate loss against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. We learned that our defense, despite the trade for jack-of-all-trades defensive lineman Michael Bennett, is still weak against the run.
We learned, for the millionth time, that head coach Jason Garrett doesn’t make the greatest decisions when the game is on the line. We learned that quarterback Dak Prescott is a much better quarterback than last year. None of those things is much of a surprise.
Unfortunately, we learned one more thing: The Cowboys offensive line is still not back to its exalted Great Wall of Dallas status of 2016. Once upon a time just a few years ago, Dallas had the best offensive line in the league.
Then, after the season ended, offensive tackle Doug Free retired, and guard Ron Leary became a free agent and signed with the Denver Broncos. The Cowboys offensive line hasn’t been the same since.
At the time, it seemed the head office assumed it would be pretty easy to replace those two pieces. Reserve lineman La’el Collins would become a starter and so would Chaz Green or Jonathan Cooper, whoever was better. It would be fine.
After all, the other three lineman, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith were all Pro Bowl players. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like that. Collins had some growing pains switching from guard to tackle, and Chaz Green… Well, my momma told me if I couldn’t say anything nice about somebody, not to say anything at all.
By that rule, I can’t say anything about Mr. Green. Suffice it to say, he wasn’t the solution the coaches were hoping for. It was such a problem in fact, that it kept Dallas out of the playoffs in 2017.