The Dallas Cowboys are sitting in pretty good shape along the offensive line. And considering they’re coming off a season where every one of their starters not named La’el Collins missed some time, that depth certainly comes in handy. The team called on their reserves quite a bit last season as players like Joe Looney, Cameron Fleming, and Xavier Su’a-Filo all saw plenty of action last year. Filling in for Travis Frederick after he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, Looney started all 16 games at center. Replacing Connor Williams at left guard, Su’a-Filo started eight games. And after Tyron Smith was dealing with elbow issues, Fleming started three games at left tackle.
The team is expected to start the season with the usual suspects, including their three All-Pro’s - Smith, Zack Martin, and Frederick. And with La’el Collins and what looks to be a much improved Williams at left guard, the table is set for the Cowboys starting offensive line to have a strong year.
Not only is the first unit loaded with talent, the team has done a great job improving the depth of this group. Fleming looks to be a reliable swing tackle that can keep the team afloat if Smith misses time. The team went 3-0, and the offense averaged 27 points/game, in the games Fleming handled the left tackle duties for Smith. That’s quite a change, considering the collapse the Cowboys experienced in 2017 when Chaz Green and Byron Bell offered very little of assistance when Smith when down. In contrast, the offense averaged just seven points per game that year without Smith.
After a full season of starting, Looney is now relegated to the backup center spot with the return of Frederick. The team now has a solid reserve they know they can depend on if needed.
The team added even more depth on the line when Connor McGovern fell to them in the third round of this year’s draft. The team had a high grade on him and couldn’t pass him up. McGovern hasn’t been able to practice due to a pectoral injury, however he was doing some conditioning work on Monday. It’s uncertain when he’ll be ready to go, but eventually McGovern will another promising piece to this offensive line.
Fleming, Looney, and McGovern are all going to make the roster (McGovern could start the year on IR depending on his recovery), but the team is so equipped with depth that they could end up keeping an additional blocker, giving them nine offensive linemen on the roster. Many people figure that last spot will belong to Su’a-Filo. After all, he started eight games last year and has been filling in for Martin with the first team. While it may indeed be Su’a-Filo’s job to lose, that might be what he’s doing as there is another guard who is climbing the ranks in training camp - Adam Redmond.
Redmond was claimed off of waivers last season after he was released from the Buffalo Bills during final rosters cuts. Last year, the team was having all kinds of issues with the depth of their interior offensive line as players like Marcus Martin and Parker Ehinger suffered injuries. Other players like Chaz Green and Kadeem Edwards weren’t progressing as well as they had hoped and were released. Redmond was signed to help shore up this depth. And it was a good thing too, because eventually his services was needed. Redmond played in 10 games (mostly on special teams), but saw 45 snaps against the Indianapolis Colts after Martin got hurt.
An undrafted free agent back in 2016, Redmond hasn’t seen much action in his career up until his stint with Dallas last season. He’s trying to keep a good thing going and make the team again this year. While he doesn’t posses great athletic traits, Redmond is one of the “work hard” guys that uses effort and football IQ to be successful. He’s shown he can be effective and his ability keeps his floor relatively high, which is what you want from a backup. Redmond continues to improve, and he’s starting to make a real push for that last roster spot.
Adam Redmond stones Trysten Hill in 2v2s pic.twitter.com/3ZFvCZ6UU4— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 12, 2019
The second-team offensive line did a great job protecting Cooper Rush on Saturday. In fact, the right-side combo of Redmond and Jake Campos did a very good job of keeping the pocket clean and sealing off a couple nice running lanes for Darius Jackson. With good foot movement and the ability to pick up twists, Redmond looked very comfortable out there. The same wasn’t as evident for Su’a-Filo. He played okay, but there were some snaps where his defender whisked him away and left him in no man’s land.
It’s still early, but keep an eye on no. 61 as he fights for a spot on this roster. He was already listed in my 53-man roster prediction last week, and he still looks like the more dependable choice over Su’a-Filo.