Friday, December 20, 2013
Rebuilding of line paying off for Cowboys
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- When Jason Garrett was named the Dallas Cowboys head coach on Jan. 5, 2011 he set out to refurbish the offensive line.
The Cowboys purged Leonard Davis, Andre Gurode and Marc Colombo. They released Kyle Kosier the following year.
The Cowboys are seeing the fruits of the rebuilding now.
The Cowboys started the rebuild by taking Tyron Smith in the first round of the 2011 draft. Mackenzy Bernadeau was added as an undrafted free agent at right guard and left guard Ronald Leary was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012. This year, the Cowboys made center Travis Frederick a first-round pick.
The holdover has been Doug Free, who has rebounded with a solid season at right tackle.
“It’s a hard thing to do,” Garrett said. “It started with Tyron Smith, it continued with some other decisions that we’ve made. And then certainly Travis Frederick came into the mix this offseason and has helped us. You need to have young, cornerstone players on your offensive line, and we’ve gone through that process over the last couple of years. I think we’re getting where we need to be.”
As the Cowboys move down the stretch, the line is playing better than it ever has since Garrett took over. In the last five weeks, the Cowboys have rushed for more than 100 yards as a team. DeMarco Murray is 23 yards away from 1,000 on the season and he missed two games with a knee injury.
“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t won these games because I felt like our line is playing well,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Great camaraderie up front. We’ve really been able to run the ball and they create big holes. It’s good to see our line play that well. They work harder than anybody on our football team.”