- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Over at the Dallas Cowboys' team web site, Nick Eatman has a piece about the offensive line and the reasons why improving it this offseason should be a bigger priority than team owner Jerry Jones has indicated it is. Nick's point focuses not on the line's need to protect quarterback Tony Romo, who just signed a huge contract extension last week, but on the run game.
Jones' statement at the scouting combine that the line could be under-prioritized because Romo has shown an ability to succeed behind a bad line overlooks the run game, and Nick believes that's a mistake:
Everyone loves to point the finger at Romo for turning the ball over in costly situations. But it seems like there are too many other quarterbacks out there that rarely have to put the ball up when it gets inside the 10. Yeah, a Christian Ponder can win games in this league if he gets to hand it off to Adrian Peterson, who will score 12 times.
And, of course, you guys all know that. You know the Cowboys need to run the ball better. Everyone does.
But it’s just another reason why the Cowboys must fix this offensive line up front. Sure, Romo has the ability to avoid a few blitzes now and then, but the last two years are proof the running backs need more help when the team gets close to the goal line.
First, you have to send kudos out to any writer for a team's official web site who has the guts to criticize something the team's owner said. But second ... yeah. I mean, DeMarco Murray has shown an ability to pick up yards behind poor blocking, but he's also shown an ability to get injured and miss huge chunks of the season. Wouldn't it be nice if he and whoever else is carrying the ball out of the Dallas backfield this year had some holes to run through?
There are 20 days until the NFL draft. The Cowboys have done nothing so far this offseason to improve the offensive line. They hold the 18th pick in the first round. If they don't use it on an offensive lineman, it'll be clearer than ever that their priorities are way out of whack. And the biggest problem the offense had in the 2012 and 2011 seasons will be the biggest problem the offense has in 2013.