Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Monday, December 26, 2011
Holland injury could cost Cowboys

By Dan Graziano

Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com is reporting that Dallas Cowboys guard Montrae Holland has a torn biceps and could be done for the season. If that's the case, the chances of the Cowboys' season lasting beyond Sunday night get a bit slimmer.

Holland isn't anything close to a big name or a superstar. He was actually one of the Cowboys' final roster cuts at the end of training camp and wasn't picked up by anyone else. But the Cowboys re-signed him in October after rookie Bill Nagy suffered a season-ending injury, and Holland's insertion into the lineup coincided with a revival of the Dallas running game. In the five games they played without him, the Cowboys averaged 84.8 rush yards per game. In the 10 games they've played with him as their starting left guard, the Cowboys are averaging 133.4 rush yards per game.

Of course there are a number of other factors there. Holland's first game was also rookie DeMarco Murray's first as the Cowboys' feature running game, and Dallas ran for 294 yards against the Rams in that game alone, skewing the numbers. That game also saw the emergence of Tony Fiammetta as a blocking force at fullback, and Dallas' rushing numbers did dip back down to 83 yards per game during the three-game stretch Fiammetta missed in Weeks 11-13.

But Holland was helpful in stabilizing the run game, and more importantly, he was clearly better than their other options. Derrick Dockery or Kevin Kowalski are likely to fill in Sunday in the game against the Giants that will decide the NFC East title. So while this is an injury the Cowboys likely can survive better than they could one to Tony Romo or DeMarcus Ware, it's one that has the potential to hurt them, because it strikes at something they've been able to do much better over the second half of this season -- run the ball and control the game.