Terrible, just terrible. I don't know what else to make of the First Team Offense last night. Well, ok I do.
I'm just going to cut right to the elephant in the room: The O-Line. We had good and bad from last night. First of all, from what I saw, Tyron Smith looked good at the Left Tackle Position. David Arkin was kept in for 3 quarters at the Center Position and while I didn't think he blocked well, he didn't have a bad snap. And, boy is it painful that that is a positive.
However, the Oline as a whole, especially against the Raiders First Team Offense, was absolutely atrocious. And I have heard the excuses. I have heard the fact that we were missing two projected starters on the Offensive Line, and that this will be the magic pill which cures our woes. Ok, so maybe I'm exaggerating but certainly there is some hope in the Offensive Line that it will be better with health.
To this I say, not good enough.
Here's the thing about Football: injuries happen. Are we going to forget the reason that Costa and Livings are out is because of injuries? So we're missing our Starting Center and one of our Starting Guards, and we're going to act like this is impossible during the Regular Season? Backups are there for a reason. I guarantee at sometime during this season one or more of our Oline starters will be hurt and we will have to look at a backup.
Remember last year, when Kevin Kowalski acquitted himself well as a backup center during the preseason, we were happy that we had somebody to backup Costa if he got hurt? That's what we want to see, and that's what we didn't see. I don't want the Cowboys entire season hopes to be based off 5 starters, 2 of whom were pickups from teams who didn't want them anymore.
Look, I get that the backups are not going to be as good as the Starters, but what an indictment of the Dallas Cowboys O-line that if we lose 2 starters, it is going to just fold like a pile of cards. And to make it worse after an unsuccessful 2nd Drive Garrett had to throw Romo out for a third series; somehow trying to prove that the offense was better than what it showed during the second series.
And it was a great idea, don't get me wrong. I mean, the Raiders had already put out their second team defense, and it should have been a slam dunk where the first team overpowered a bunch of backups. Of course, when the Cowboys had a 3 and out, and were giving up penetration to back-up players, that just made fans more anxious.
When Romo was interviewed after the game about the O-Line he had this to say (Quote Courtesy of Cowboys Corner):
"You look at the coverages they were running, we could have gotten to some thing we really like but that’s not what we do in the pre-season. And for good reason," Romo said.
Now, I trust Romo. I trust that Romo believes that, and further Romo will make do with what he has. But, you cannot tell me that this is the kind of O-line we want to give him. Let's take the assumption that this was a vanilla scheme. If it was, then a lot of what we should have been seeing during Run plays was straight 1 on 1 blocking. The Cowboys failed at that. Miserably. And not just against the Starters but against the Second Team. We generated no push along the lines really at any point of the game.
Let's take the vanilla idea a little further. If the Offense is running a vanilla scheme, then the opposing Defense should be doing so as well. And on straight four man rushes, our O-line was manhandled. Starters were whiffing blocks and there were a couple of times last night I was worried Romo was going to be injured, and badly.
Now, I have been being pessimistic. I still agree with Romo that when the schemes are implemented our offense will start looking better. Still, just once, I would like to see schemes improve an already good line rather than covering up a weakness.
The thing we can do right now is sign someone. Montrae Holland is looking pretty good right now, right? And guess what, we really should've signed him before last night, because the Cowboys offensive line woes just made this a seller's market, and they are going to have to pay a pretty penny for Holland, perhaps more than before the game.
My point is this: we should have drafted better over the past half-decade. I know there's no sense crying over split milk, but I'm not going to lie. If we win this year it will be in spite of the O-line, not because of it.