O-line should give Cowboys' fans concern

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
5:50
PM ET
It’s easy to say the Cowboys offensive line should worry you heading into the regular-season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.

The positives consist of rookie center Travis Frederick and tackles Doug Free and Tyron Smith.

The guards are an issue. Ronald Leary is supposed to be ready Week 1 following knee surgery. If not, the Cowboys could move Free to right guard and Mackenzy Bernadeau to left guard.

Depth along the line is iffy.

Nate Livings -- and his $2.4 million salary cap hit -- remains on the 53-man roster and he’s still recovering from knee surgery. The Cowboys talk about Livings in past tense sometimes and pump up Leary, who has yet to play in a regular-season game. Some of the backups, such as David Arkin and Darrion Weems, are unproven players. If certain injuries occur the Cowboys will have some real problems. The only proven backups are center Phil Costa and swing tackle Jermey Parnell.

Given the state of the line, with the team hoping Leary and or Livings recover from injuries in time for the Giants game, there should be concern about the long-term ability for Tony Romo to make plays. In the offseason, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Romo's skill set is to make plays when the pocket breaks down. Jones compared Romo to Saints coach Sean Payton in terms of his risk taking. It seems Jones is saying when the line does break down, Romo make more plays.

Things could be worse.

The Giants will visit AT&T Stadium in a sorry state with their offensive line.

Veteran center David Baas won’t be ready for Week 1 because of knee surgery. David Diehl, another veteran, is injured and won’t play either.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin moved guard Kevin Boothe to center and placed James Brewer at left guard, a position he never played before. (Sounds like what the Cowboys did with Free doesn’t it?)

There are offensive line problems for many teams and you could say the health and effectiveness of the lines are fluid on a play-by-play, game-by-game basis.

How the Cowboys line performs against the Giants is uncertain when you factor in the health and the lack of regular-season game experience for some of the players.

Team officials say the Cowboys will put out their best five linemen in 2013. That could change on a week-to-week basis and if that happens, it might not be a good thing.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


Insider