Dallas’ offensive line hasn’t been as dominant as it was in 2016. That could change with a new coach stepping in.
One of the additions includes offensive line coach Mike Solari, who has been coaching in the NFL for 35 years which started with his first stint with the Cowboys in 1987-88, spending two years on the final two seasons with Tom Landry as head coach. Solari was an assistant offensive line coach and special teams coach for those two seasons. Since then, he’s been to six different teams, including the Packers for a season under Mike McCarthy.
Eight-time all-pro offensive lineman Zack Martin has already been able to bond early on with Solari as he sees a different type of energy being brought to the room in 2023 with bubbling excitement to finally hit the field later this summer.
“He’s been great,” Martin said. “A lot of energy. His resume speaks for itself, he’s coached a lot of good lines. I think the biggest thing is bringing that edge back to our offensive line and I think he’s gonna be a big part of that. It’s been a great first month or so with him and I can’t wait to get to practice with him.”
The offensive line has been a position group with a lot of focus this offseason with the departure of Connor McGovern, the addition of Solari, the drafting of Asim Richards and the increasing expectations of what Tyler Smith will be able to accomplish in his second season.
Here’s a look at one of the Cowboys' newest tight ends, Princeton Fant.
- Proved to be a jack-of-all trades at Tennessee. Scored as a receiver, rusher and passer.
- Exceptional burst off the line and into seam-routes. Straight line speed is good which helps to win down the line.
- Aggressive and physical as a ball carrier to get extra yards.
- No fear as a blocker.
- Formation versatile and can lineup anywhere on the field. Played out wide, from the slot and in the backfield.
- Also versatile in the backfield as a blocker or runner. Played as a fullback and H-back.
- Soft hands at the catch point.
Areas of Improvement:
- His biggest issue is size. He’s not just undersized, his frame looks like it would be a struggle to add weight and he also lacks length. To play as a H-back in the NFL he would need to be a lot heavier.
- All aspects of his blocking require coaching.
- His feet slow down at point-of-contact as blocker.
- No ability to anchor and no power at the point-of-attack.
- Struggles to separate as a route runner on lateral routes.
- Fails to win contested balls on catches away from his body.
The rookies haven’t even arrived at camp yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about who will make the team.
DE TYRUS WHEAT — MISSISSIPPI STATE
Tyrus Wheat passes the test on two of those three main factors — talent and money.
First, let’s discuss talent. I do not evaluate draft prospects, so I default to those who do it full-time year-round.
One of those people is The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, who had Wheat as his 129th overall player and a fourth-round grade.
Unless a medical issue caused him to go undrafted, teams obviously didn’t feel the same way, but the NFL has been wrong plenty of times before.
Even if Brugler overvalued him a bit, acquiring a draftable player at a premium position like edge rusher could be a massive steal.
FB HUNTER LUEPKE — NORTH DAKOTA STATE
Hunter Luepke is my favorite of the undrafted free agents the Cowboys signed.
Brugler notes in his scouting report that Luepke has abilities as a pass catcher, a runner, and on special teams. The ability to wear multiple hats goes a long way for an undrafted player to make the roster.
After releasing Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys need a power back to do some dirty work to keep Tony Pollard fresh and healthy.
Luepke has the size — 230 pounds — and production to project to such a role.
Even though he’s listed as a fullback, he’s no stranger to carrying the ball. While at North Dakota State, he amassed 1,665 rushing yards, 494 receiving yards, and 33 career touchdowns.
This is just more fuel for the fire that the Cowboys can use next season.
Swift announced this week that he will wear No. 0 with the Eagles. He wore 32 during his three seasons with the Detroit Lions, but Swift now wants to take advantage of the new rule that allows NFL players to use No. 0.
D’Andre Swift on why he chose the number 0:— Marlo Stanfield (@BooRxdley) May 5, 2023
“That’s how many times the Cowboys have been to an NFC Championship game in my lifetime.”
The math checks out. Swift was born in 1999. That was after the Cowboys’ era of dominance in the mid-1990s. Dallas went to the NFC Championship Game every year from 1992-1995 and won three Super Bowls during the four-year span. They haven’t done a whole lot since.
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