Until recently much has been made of the Dallas Cowboys lack of highly drafted players up front for the offense. The last four seasons have saw the tide turn on that front as Jerry Jones & Co. have invested three first-round draft picks into fortifying the offensive trenches. Even so, their collective draft pedigree will not make an impression unless the players continue to develop under the guidance of Bill Callahan and Frank Pollock. It is the unit's efforts to do just that which has earned them the praise of Nate Newton.
"This is what I like about Zack Martin, [Travis] Frederick, Tyron Smith, even [Ronald] Leary -- they're working on their technique. They're working hard every day." - Nate Newton
As Nate was quick to point out, the Cowboys offensive line is not working against top-notch competition on the other side of the ball. The Dallas defensive front is a work in progress. It would be easy for Callahan's unit to slack off, given how easily they have been able to dominate their competition. That is something that they are not doing. Each of the linemen is focused on getting better, one snap at a time. Technique is a big focus of what they are working on.
Domination in Oxnard in August is one thing, domination during the season is another. The Dallas offensive linemen know that the only thing that really matters is how well they perform down the stretch and the key to being successful begins by not being complacent during training camp, no matter how many battles with teammates that they win. They are going to great lengths to get on top of their game from the beginning. Newton sees the effort they are putting in every day and knows that they are striving to avoid sloppy efforts. This is a key concern in his mind, and he is relieved to see that the "big uglies" are not taking things lightly.
"When you're physically better than a person at this point, you can get sloppy, but these guys are not getting sloppy. They're fighting against themselves really. That just shows you the determination that these guys are trying to get somewhere. That's what I like about them."
Based on his experience as a member of one of the legendary offensive fronts in football history, Newton knows that the effort he is seeing out of the Cowboys unit is what it takes to be successful in the NFL. It is the work ethic that he and his colleagues had during the glory days of the 1990's. The blood and sweat spilled on the practice fields during the summer months will have its reward during the final months of the year. That is when the wheat is separated from the chaff.
"... when you get in a game and you get against people with equal or better talent, that is what's going to save you -- that and effort."