<
>

Cowboys offensive line thoughts

8/8/2011

Bryan Broaddus has a somewhat extensive breakdown of performances from the Blue-White scrimmage the Dallas Cowboys had Sunday in San Antonio. Lots there if you want point-by-point analysis, but what interested me the most was his review of the right side of the offensive line. First-round pick Tyron Smith is of course slated to be the starting right tackle, and with Montrae Holland injured, fourth-rounder David Arkin started at right guard. Bryan liked what he saw from Arkin, on the whole:

Arkin doesn’t have the prettiest technique, but he shows the ability to play on his feet and stay after his man. He has an advantage in this scheme over Montrae Holland because Arkin can pull, trap and get on the edge. With him in the lineup, the team is more athletic on the front.

So that's interesting, since Holland isn't the surest thing in the world at right guard, where the team has a hole after cutting Leonard Davis early in free agency. There's been lots of chatter about whether the Cowboys would need to add a piece to the offensive line due to the departure of Davis, but it appears as though the team at least wants to give its fourth-round pick a chance to show he can do it.

Here's Bryan's review of Smith:

Smith was matched up against Anthony Spencer and was solid with his ability to get movement in the running game and as a pass protector. The more I get the opportunity to see Smith play live, the more I understand why he was the top-rated tackle in the draft by teams across the league. His ease of movement and patience is impressive.

Usually rookie offensive linemen will struggle with technique, overextend and have problems keeping their balance. Smith’s play has improved each day.

Encouraging, to say the least, if you're worried about keeping Tony Romo upright. The Cowboys re-signed the left side of their line, Doug Free and Kyle Kosier, and they're hopeful that center Andre Gurode will return from his knee surgery in time for the regular season. So the concerns lie on the right side, where at least one and possibly two rookies are in line to start. It seems as if the ability is there. The question -- as it is across the NFC East, where offensive lines are in flux -- is how quickly the group can jell together.