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Suddenly the Cowboys have offensive line depth thanks to the play of Chuma Edoga and T.J. Bass

Nobody could have seen this coming.

New York Jets v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

When you look at the first two weeks of the new season, things have started out about as good for the Dallas Cowboys as one could have hoped. They’ve scored more points than any other team, they’ve allowed fewer points than any other team, they haven’t turned the ball over, and they have forced more turnovers than any other team. It’s been great all the way around.

Expectations are at an all-time high. Sure, it’s early, but it’s not hard to think that this team is going places. One of the biggest worries fans had about this team entering the year centered around the offensive line and its depth. Considering the struggles this team has had staying healthy in recent years, the concern was valid. Couple that with the notion that the team’s top three reserves, Chuma Edoga, T.J. Bass, and Asim Richards are new players to this Cowboys team, and two of them are rookies, one being an undrafted free agent. That doesn’t exactly fill the room with confidence.

As training camp came and went we watched the front office stubbornly do next to nothing in terms of going out and signing that veteran free agent many wanted to help add some much-needed depth. We also watched their “last resort” option Josh Ball suffer a season-ending hip injury. And a couple of what we thought were coaching favorites, Matt Farniok and Brock Hoffman, didn’t even make the final roster. It was as if the Cowboys front office wanted to play with fire and wasn’t afraid of getting burned.

Now, after two weeks of football, it appears again that the Cowboys organization knew exactly what they were doing. Starting with their token cheap free agent signing, Chuma Edoga, the Cowboys have a knack for finding reliable veterans who can step in and contribute when called upon. Players like Cameron Fleming, Cameron Irving, Ty Nsehke, and Jason Peters have been those guys in the past and Edoga is the latest example. It didn’t start well as he was being abused by the Cowboys pass rush (who wouldn’t be?) in training camp and then he was carted off the field with a knee injury. We never saw him in the preseason, but then he reappeared right as the season started. It was perfect timing too because Tyler Smith suffered a strained hamstring and has missed each of the last two games. Right out of the gate, the Cowboys had to call on their reserves.

Edoga has played well filling in at left guard in Smith’s absence. Here are my notes for him after watching him in action for the first two games of the season.

  • Good stance, sets a wide base, and is good at obstructing and slowing the defender down
  • Shows good fundamentals, there’s no sloppiness in his play
  • Solid footwork, always re-directing toward a target
  • Has active hands, and he’s not overpowering, but doesn’t get shoved around
  • He’s second-level engaging, always looking for work
  • Not fast in the open field, and sometimes is too slow getting to his spot

The veteran has done a good job, but he suffered an elbow injury midway through the Jets game. This caused the Cowboys to reach a little deeper from their depth and call upon an UDFA from Oregon, T.J. Bass. While there has been a misstep here or there, overall, the rookie has done a good job so far. Here are my notes for Bass.

  • Does a good job processing, quickly slides to the side that needs the most help
  • Good job looking for work in the second level
  • Good initial strike with his hands, even when beat, he slows down the defender
  • Doesn’t hold his block long, defenders can twist him to the side to escape
  • Pad level still a work in progress, saw defender get in his chest and lift him
  • Strong dude, he’s not getting overpowered, even by a strong Jets front

With the game in control, Bass moved over to right guard to replace Zack Martin, and that allowed their other rookie, Asim Richards, to get some action, albeit for only five snaps. Richards was fine, but there wasn’t a lot to go on. But that’s okay because he had a really good preseason and when you package him with Edoga and Bass, suddenly the depth doesn’t look all that scary.

The Cowboys have faced two really good defensive fronts and have been without their most powerful blocker, Tyler Smith. Yet the offensive line has given us no reason to worry. This includes 101 snaps of Edoga and 51 snaps of Bass. We can only imagine how things will look once they get Smith back, but we have to feel pretty good about this team’s chances to weather a storm should injuries along the offensive line resurface.

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