According to The Mothership's Rob Phillips, the Cowboys now know who they want to be introduced as Tony Romo's protection in NBC's snazzy graphics when the offense hits the field in the season opener Sunday September 11th. With the release of five-time Pro Bowler Andre Gurode earlier today, it was apparent that the youth movement is in full effect for head coach Jason Garrett. Moving on from Gurode means moving on to Phil Costa, a second-year pro who was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Maryland.
Even with that move, there was still some question as to whether the team would commit to going young across almost the entire line. Experienced guard Montrae Holland returned to practice today and filled in for RG Kyle Kosier who was out with a yet undisclosed injury. There remained a possibility that he could be penciled into the starting lineup at the other guard position when Kosier returns.
From this tweet, however, it looks like the youth movement is starting as soon as the injuries will allow.
Five-year pro Doug Free will man the blindside position, while the right tackle will be first round rookie Tyron Smith. Veteran Kyle Kosier is moving from left guard to right to better assist the rookie. The left guard spot is now being manned by a player who wasn't even a full time starter in college, Bill Nagy, a seventh-rounder in April's draft. The interior backups appear to now be Holland, fourth-round selection David Arkin, and undrafted free agent Kevin Kowalski, who started against Minnesota this last preseaon game and didn't embarrass himself.
The Cowboys will now boast one of the youngest offensive lines in the league. Whether it allows them to proceed to the the playoffs this season is up for debate, but it does situate the Cowboys to have a cohesive unit for years to come, if the players chosen pan out. Here's a look at the amazing transformation from just last season's starting lineup.
|25 years, 10 months, 5 days||9,441||25.8|
|31 years, 11 months, 23 days||11,681||32.0|
The one remaining part of the offensive line to be addressed is tackle depth. Currently, Jeremy Parnell and Sam Young are in a battle to be the swing tackle for 2011. There is still the possibility Dallas augments it's current crop with players that come free after the cutdown to 53 players on September 3rd. The team might look to sign a veteran after the season kicks off, when their salary for 2011 would not be guaranteed.