The Dallas Cowboys’ success depends on the play of the offensive line.
Dak Prescott has been the focal point of any conversation surrounding the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. He is now set to play on the franchise tag. The team was able to get Amari Cooper signed to a long-term deal and Ezekiel Elliott is already playing on his own giant deal.
The core on offense is there, at least in 2020. But all the talk about the skill players ignores the importance of the offensive line. This was a group that only allowed Prescott to take 23 sacks in 2019 after he was sacked 56 times in 2018.
The Cowboys offensive line remains key in 2020
Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are all set to return to their respective spots in 2020. Yet there is a question at left guard and now at center after Travis Frederick’s retirement this offseason.
Joe Looney is the early favorite at center. He started all 16 games there in 2018 when Frederick missed that season, and Looney also appeared in all 16 games last season in a backup role.
The other guard spot looks to be up for grabs between Connor Williams and Connor McGovern. Fans must also remember the team signed former first-round pick Cam Erving this offseason. Irving can play all over the line and just won a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Cowboys have been wise to stock up on offensive line talent and have backups on the roster like Looney who are capable of starting and have the experience. Frederick missing an entire season made that need clear, and Smith has also not played a full 16-game slate since 2015.
Having a great offensive line is key to any team’s success. That is just especially true with the Cowboys this season based on how many elite players are in the group. Smith and Martin are regulars in the Pro Bowl, and just one of them going down could have a major ripple effect on the rest of the offense.
We have seen what Prescott, Elliott and Cooper can do. There should also be a goal of finally agreeing on an extension with Prescott or at least getting back to having proper talks. Keeping him healthy all year is the only way for his value to remain where he believes it is right now.
Fans know things can change drastically from one year to the next. This great line on paper can suffer with some aging core pieces, or Frederick’s absence can have a bigger impact than expected. That is why the line as a whole unit will be more important to the overall success than the skill players who have already proven their individual greatness.