Friday, January 17, 2014
Cowboys line could have continuity in 2014
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- Continuity is a buzzword every year when it comes to offensive line play. For the Dallas Cowboys it is no different.
The Cowboys could have continuity on the line in 2014 for the first time in a long time.
The last time the Cowboys returned the same line from the previous year came in 2008 when they had left tackle Flozell Adams, left guard Kyle Kosier, center Andre Gurode, right guard Leonard Davis and right tackle Marc Colombo.
Kosier played in only three games in 2008 because of a foot injury, but those five guys were in place at the beginning of the 2009 season when the Cowboys went 11-5 and made their most recent playoff appearance. Colombo missed seven games with a broken leg and Doug Free saw the first action of his career.
In 2013 four of the Cowboys five starters at left tackle, left guard, center and right tackle played every game. Mackenzy Bernadeau started 11 games at right guard and Brian Waters started five before his season ended with a torn triceps.
The Cowboys can go into 2014 feeling good about Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Free. The Cowboys could look to make moves at left and/or right guard with Ronald Leary and Bernadeau through the draft or in free agency but know they know what they have if they can't.
"It's never set in stone until it's done," Bernadeau said.
The line helped produce the first 1,000-yard rusher since 2006 in DeMarco Murray and protected well enough with the interior more stout than it had been in previous years.
"I want to say it sets the standard for us," Bernadeau said of the late-season success with the running game. "It's one of those deals where we know what we're capable of doing and we want to do better. We have the highest expectations of ourselves. It's a mix of us getting it done up front and holding those expectations high."