Monday, August 25, 2014
Offensive line searching for rhythm
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' offensive line did not live up to the hype Saturday night.
A unit that's expected to be one of the strengths of the Cowboys -- and one of the elite O-lines in the league -- struggled against the Miami Dolphins' front seven. The Cowboys gained only 110 yards in the first half with the first-team offensive line in the game. The most concerning statistic was the three sacks the Cowboys allowed of Tony Romo.
It was a rough enough performance that owner and general manager Jerry Jones openly wondered whether the offensive line that features three recent first-round picks should get some work in the preseason finale, a rarity for starters. That's unlikely to happen, but there's no question the line has a lot to clean up over the next two weeks of practice before the regular season begins.
"I think it's just about developing a rhythm and working together," center Travis Frederick said. "After seeing the film, it allows you to correct those errors that were made. I think they were really close. The things that were made were little issues and things that are easily cleaned up."
Added right tackle Doug Free, who allowed two sacks to Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake: "At times, we moved the ball well. A little bit of inconsistent play. The main thing is we've got to get the thing rolling rhythm-wise. That was the biggest problem we had. We've just got to get in a rhythm and play well."
Frederick said there were some technical mistakes, such as hand placement and foot placement. But the bigger issue was that the offensive linemen weren't on the same page too often.
"I think just a combination of things," head coach Jason Garrett said. "They have a good front. They have good individual rushers. A couple of times, there was a three-man game where they kind of came off the edge and we were a little slow reacting to that.
"But those are all good learning opportunities. They really are. You watch that tape and you see some good things where there was a lot of time for the quarterback to throw, then you see some individual plays with each of the guys that weren't good enough. But, again, great teaching and learning opportunities."