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The best/worst cases for the Cowboys offensive line for the upcoming season

There is a wide range of outcomes for this very crucial position group.

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Entering the new season, there are many reasons to be excited about this Dallas Cowboys football team. Two veteran stars have been acquired in Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks and that is raising expectations. The coordinator we love to love, Dan Quinn, is back and the defense is primed for another big year. And Mike McCarthy is taking over the play-calling from the far-less-popular coordinator, Kellen Moore, in an effort to make the offense a little better. How can you not be stoked about this upcoming season?

Well, we’re glad you asked because we over at BTB like to examine both sides of the coin and we have closed our eyes and imagined the wheels coming off the season. Guess what? It was not pleasant.

One thing that could make things go south in a hurry is a season riddled with problems along the offensive line. This exact thing happened in 2017 when Dak Prescott was running for his life after Tyron Smith got hurt and the next men up (Chaz Green and then Byron Bell) were dreadful. It was a complete disaster.

The Cowboys are no strangers to battling through injuries in recent years as Smith getting hurt has become a regular thing, but to their credit, they’ve done a much better job building depth over the last few years. This season, there are many question marks on the offensive line and to be quite honest, how well this group performs could go in several different directions. Today, we are going to examine the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Cowboys’ offensive line.

On this week’s episode of The Star Seminar, Rabblerousr and I examine the state of the Cowboys' offensive line and identify areas of concern and potential upside of this position group. Make sure to check it out and subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network so you do not miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.


The edge holds up

The biggest questions about the offensive line center around what will happen with the team’s tackles. Both their projected starters last year, Tyron Smith and Terence Steele, suffered injuries that sidelined them for several months. Smith missed the first 13 games and returned conveniently when Steele was lost for the season.

This season, we will again be holding our breath. While it feels like it’s just a matter of time before Smith gets hurt, that won’t stop us from crossing our fingers and hoping for a stroke of good luck. And speaking of being healthy, all signs are pointing to Steele being good to go by the start of the season. If he returns to his usual self, this will do wonders in securing the edges.

A left guard emerges

A best-case scenario starts with healthy years by the tackles, but that’s a gift that keeps on giving because it would allow second-year rising star Tyler Smith to play left guard. Remember, this was the plan for last year, but injuries derailed that early. What if we finally get to see this plan go into effect and Smith mauls people? The Cowboys have no other obvious answer at left guard and it would be great if one of their strongest offensive linemen was able to bully defenders in the trenches.

Youngsters on the rise

Continuing with the theme of Tyler Smith dominating would be watching him put together a breakout season. He played more snaps than anyone on the team last year, and this kid’s just getting started. Since 2010, the Cowboys have drafted nine players who have become an All-Pro and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes number 10.

Add the continued growth of Steele, another Pro Bowl bid from Tyler Biadasz and maybe even a surprise from a player like Matt “Let’s go!” Waletzko or UDFA T.J. Bass and things could look awful bright for the future of the offensive line.


Can’t stay healthy

If great health is atop the best-case list, then it’s only fitting that battling injuries would lead things off for the worst case. It all starts with Tyron Smith whose health trajectory does not look good at all. Just look at his career trimesters:

  • Up until the age of 25, he started 79 of 80 games, FANTASTIC!
  • Next four seasons, he missed exactly 13 games, MEH
  • After hitting 30, he’s never played in more than 11 games in a season and that includes two of the last three years where he’s only played two games (2020) and four games (2022), UH OH!

This does not inspire confidence as we’ve all conditioned ourselves to just expect him to go down at some point. The saving grace is that we know they have a great reserve in Tyler if when that happens, but he’s just one person. What happens if Steele is slow to recover? Knee injuries are brutal and while he doesn’t rely on it for bursts and sharp cuts like say a Michael Gallup does, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Steele has a slightly down recovery season as well.

Father Time is undefeated

Not only is staying healthy important but so is performing at an expected level. When does the mileage finally catch up with Tyron Smith? We all expect him to be fabulous when he’s on the field because he always has been, but players do eventually wear down. It’s just the law of nature in the NFL. And it’s not just Smith who could slip a bit. Zack Martin will hit 33 years of age midway through the season. While we all expect him to be awesome, what if his typical All-Pro self is downgraded to just “solid?” Do the Cowboys have enough collective goodness to weather their stars being human and actually showing their age?

Everything is shuffling

If the Cowboys endure problems on the offensive line, there’s a good likelihood that we once again see McCarthy moving people around. So far, everyone and their brother has been a candidate mentioned to play left guard. And there are many scenarios where replacing one injured starter would result in two faces in new places. If the Cowboys find themselves drawing names out of hat on a weekly basis as they scramble to find the “right fit” it could get hairy as that would hinder their ability to create cohesiveness along the offensive line.


What is your confidence level with the Cowboys offensive line for 2023?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Bottom of the barrel
    (33 votes)
  • 72%
    (451 votes)
  • 22%
    Brimming over!
    (141 votes)
625 votes total Vote Now

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