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Mike McCarthy Watch: Cowboys offensive line rounding into form

All that’s left is for Zack Martin to show up

NFL: Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As the Cowboys progress through training camp, and eventually get into preseason games, we will only learn more about what exactly is changing with this offense now that Mike McCarthy has taken over play-calling.

One of the bigger potential changes comes along the offensive line. McCarthy has mentioned a few times in the offseason how he wanted to change some of the blocking schemes, both in pass protection and with the way the run game is designed and executed.

To accomplish this, McCarthy said goodbye to his longtime offensive line coach, Joe Philbin, and brought in veteran Mike Solari. One of Solari’s first tasks in camp is figuring out who starts where, especially while the team handles the return of Terence Steele from injury and the continued holdout of Zack Martin.

The first two practices have offered a pretty strong indication of where McCarthy and Solari are leaning, though, thanks to Steele avoiding being placed on the PUP list. Steele has taken first team reps at right tackle, which has allowed Tyron Smith to remain at left tackle. In turn, second year pro Tyler Smith has moved back to left guard, something he’s more than happy to do.

As hinted by Smith, much of this had to do with the positive trend for Steele in his own recovery. Steele, who has been lauded by players and coaches for his work ethic in the rehab process, had this to say on Thursday:

That was the biggest question for McCarthy’s new look offensive line as he ventures into his first year calling plays for the Cowboys. But now, a new question has arisen: who is the backup right guard behind Martin?

So far, it’s mostly been a mix of Matt Farniok and Josh Ball, who moved inside this offseason after playing tackle his first two years in the league. Farniok saw some extended playing time last year, mostly at left guard, and seems to be in pole position as the Cowboys’ top interior depth option.

As for Martin, whom the Cowboys absolutely want to be back in place sooner rather than later, there seems to be some positivity on that front courtesy of Tyler Smith.

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