How good has the Offensive Line really been?

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by SackMaster, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. SackMaster

    SackMaster Well-Known Member

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    Listening to some pundits this morning, and I hear the "well QB-X does not have Dak's offensive line" statement for the ump-teenth time, I start to think:
    I get that Dak has had the benefit of a really good offensive line, but I think it is completely overblown on how good the line is. ​

    Here's my thoughts:

    LT - Smith
    All-Pro caliber player, but often injured and has never played all 16 games since Dak has been a Dallas Cowboy. The guy has missed 3 games EVERY year since 2016. His replacements? Well one was absolutely terrible, and the others have been mediocre at best. Arguably the most important position on the offensive line has not been as consistent as one would think the past 4 years.​

    LG - Leary, Cooper, Williams
    Leary is probably the best in this group, but was a borderline Pro-Bowler at best and outside 2013, was unable to start 16 games a season. Cooper, despite being a pet-cat of mine during the 2013 NFL draft, he suffered a broken leg during his rookie preseason and never really lived up to expectations. He was not terrible for the Cowboys his lone season, but was not great either. Then Williams is devisive to say the least, so I will leave it at that. In all 3 cases, the most game started by these 3 in a season is Cooper's 13 in the lone year as a Cowboy.​

    C - Frederick, Looney
    I do not have a single negative thing to say about Fredbeard's 2016 and 2017 seasons. He was arguably the best C in the NFL those two years. Then came the illness and Fredbeard was out a whole season and was clearly not the same in 2019. I don't blame him, as stuff happens. Looney seemed to do good, but as it has been pointed out, Looney was given a lot of help too. While I expect Looney to complete for the C spot post-Fredbeard, I would not expect him to win despite starting all 16 games 2018. I will be interesting to see.​

    RG - Martin
    All-Pro, one of the best in the NFL. Outside of a 2 game stint where he rested at the end of 2018 for a knee injury, nothing to complain about here. If he NEEDED to play those two games, I think he would have played and still been better than most NFL OGs.​

    RT - Free, Collins
    Personally, I think Free was better than what he was given credit for, but he was never a top OT in the NFL. In 2016, his 9th and final year in the league, he manned the spot and was about average before finally retiring in the offseason. Then there is Collins. If we had 2019 Collins in 2017 and 2018, then I don't think there would be much of a gripe with him, but man was he inconsistent his first two years at RT.​

    So I have no issues with anyone saying that 2016 line of Adams-Leary-Frederick-Martin-Free was great. Free was probably the weakest link that year, and again, he was not nearly as bad as he was accused of being.

    But after 2016? Ya, the lack of availability and/or ability started to hurt virtually every spot except RG. Again, still better than some teams out there, but hardly the "best oline in the league" material. Hell, they may have not been the best oline in the NFC East, but we don't hear much about that.

    I apologize in advance when this thread morphs into a Dak debate thread. I hope this stays on target about the offensive line for the past few years, but I would almost be willing to bet a house I do not own on it will not stay that way for long.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  2. Whyjerry

    Whyjerry Well-Known Member

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    Who is this Adams guy???

    Flozell Adams retired in 2010. Just to be clear.
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  3. SackMaster

    SackMaster Well-Known Member

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    Good catch. I was thinking Tyron Smith, but typed Adams.
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  4. quickccc

    quickccc Well-Known Member

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    lol...exactly ! Is Phil Pozderac's name gonna reappear too. ?:p
  5. Whyjerry

    Whyjerry Well-Known Member

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    Whew that was a close one.

    Now that’s settled I agree with some of what you said. Collins was better last year then Free ever was. By a lot. Williams get too much of a pass around here. That guy has not been good. I don’t think he can play G in the NFL.
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  6. JBS

    JBS Well-Known Member

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    Thread fail

    Offensive line is still really darn good
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  7. Javier

    Javier Well-Known Member

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    Agree 100%

    Williams is soft
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  8. Cebrin

    Cebrin Well-Known Member

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    Not the best, but definitely top 6ish. Having a mobile QB makes up for any woes. It is certainly not the biggest team concern currently.
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  9. kskboys

    kskboys Well-Known Member

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    We will not actually know until we see it w/ an NFL quality O behind it. It was not that under JG/Callahan/Linehan. There were signs that it will be under Mo, and I'm excited to see what this young gentleman can do w/ a real NFL quality HC to guide him.
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  10. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    The OL has not had a plus season since 2016.

    OL coach Bill Callahan created a scheme that allowed Doug Free to be functional. He had Martin cheat closer to Free which allowed Free to over-set to the outside without a big worry of getting beat inside. In the run game they schemed to have Free blocking LBs and used other methods to block the DE. If Free did have to run block vs a DE it would be wall-off blocks where Free just had to get in the way to delay the DE.

    Free gave up 9 sacks in 2016 but he had the knowledge of the scheme from being coached by Callahan who departed after 2014. Once Free and Leary departed after 2016, 3/5ths of the Callahan coached players were gone.

    The best lineup since the Nineties was the 7 games in 2014 when Jermey Parnell started at RT. That included 2 playoff games. They had Leary at LG and the 3 All-Pros. Parnell allowed a total of 1 sack in his 7 starts and was a dominant power run blocker.
  11. Jake

    Jake Curmudgeon

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    The best line Dak had was his rookie year. Some people talk about the line as if they never get older, never get injured - constant greatness. That's a myth. Tyron plays hurt half the time and misses games every year. He's not the dominant force he was years ago. Frederick missed 2018 and wasn't the same player in 2019, one reason he chose to call it quits. People routinely talk about Williams being terrible yet he regularly plays on this so-called great line.

    Fans tend to overrate the talent level of the team. An 8-8 team loses their best DB, drafts a WR, hires a new coach, and "Super Bowl or bust" talk fills the air.
  12. Techsass

    Techsass Well-Known Member

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    They are very good & able to play pretty well when a starter is out, but not quite as dominant as the hype they always get. I don't think very many people zero in on the Oline play during a game & just accept the commentators are telling them what's actually happening in the trenches. There's always a few splash plays because they are good, so they're able to keep their #1 rep alive.
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  13. fivetwos

    fivetwos Well-Known Member

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    Frederick was way off of his usual last season.

    Not sure if it was a pure strength loss thing.

    Martin seemed to take a step back also.

    To be clear I mean in run blocking, pass protection was fine.

    I dont know, the severe predictability could have had something to do with it.

    We have some high potential guys, but the interior OL being dominant in run blocking is no longer a slam dunk...for now anyway.
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  14. fivetwos

    fivetwos Well-Known Member

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    Sobering, but very fair take.

    I think hoping for otherwise isnt futile, but all we ever really have around here is hope that Jerry figures it out. It's literally Charlie Brown and Lucy every season.

    Well, figuratively....yep!
  15. CowboyRoy

    CowboyRoy Well-Known Member

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    Garrett and the coaching was THAT bad. You must have also missed FA and the draft as this was probably the biggest offseason in a long time.

    I also haven't heard anyone say SB or bust. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being dumb, this one gets a 2.
  16. CowboyRoy

    CowboyRoy Well-Known Member

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    Garrett is gone. Lucy finally hired a REAL coach. Already paying dividends as this was the best offseason in 25 years.
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  17. Creeper

    Creeper Well-Known Member

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    Statistically the line seems to be around the best in the league. But statistics can be misleading. Take sacks. Sometimes sacks are the QBs fault or the WRs. Sometimes a QB avoids sacks. Dak is one of the better QBs at avoiding sacks, but at times he seems to hold the ball too long. It seems to me, the line has been good, but not great in this area. I think there were games when Dak was under too much pressure too quickly.

    I think we saw in the running game some problems too. Zeke had some horrible games in 2019 and not all of it was his fault. There were times when he could not get outside and there were no holes in the middle. Anyone who watched the Vikings game last year saw this.

    When I watch these games a second and third time, I saw a Travis Frederick who was not on top of his game. He saw it too and I think that's why he called it quits. Connor Williams is a really good blocker on the move, but he is not a road grader or very strong against a big tackle right in front of him. Tyron Smith is losing his lateral quickness. Could be age or could be injuries but he struggles to get the edge and also blocking in space.

    It's a good line but I would say Dak helps the OL as much as they help him.
  18. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Fans won't believe it, but Connor Williams was probably the 3rd best player on the OL last season before he was out injured.

    Fans want to see Larry Allen over-whelming power from OLinemen and don't appreciate great technical play. Only a few fans appreciated Stepnoski back in the day.

    La'el has the physical ability to over-power defenders which fans love, but he was still making a large number of mistakes in run blocking last season.

    Frederick in 2019
    • Frederick was definitely off. His power seemed good but he often just couldn't get to the spot in time and even seemed to have slower reactions mentally.
    • On some plays he still looked like his old self but there was a fairly extreme lack of consistency from a guy that had been one of the most consistent football players ever.
    • He was still better than Looney in 2018. Even if Looney played at the same level as Frederick in 2019, Looney didn't make the other players better like Frederick has always done.
    • Frederick's ability to make the calls and be like and on-field coach were as good as it gets. Like Zeke said, "Frederick is the smartest guy in the building".
      • I took Zeke's comments to mean that he thought Frederick was smarter than the coaches.

    Connor Williams
    • Connor Williams was a little inconsistent for the first 3 games but he was playing very well after that.
    • His angles/timing in getting out to run block on the 2nd level were terrific.
    • His ability to pick up and pass off stunting DL and bllitzers was also terrific.
    • He tended to steer pass rushers wide much like an OT and fans think that means he was getting beat.
      • In reality if the pass rusher never comes within 2 yards of the QB then CW has done his job.
    • His lack of power is also over-blown by fans and pseudo-media. When he can block from a balanced position, he has decent power even goal-line/short-yardage.
      • The lack of bulk/power was just an issue when he had to reach out from a non-ideal body position.
      • Tyron can reach out and toss a defender to the ground with 1 hand even when he is off-balance and reaching far outside his body. Most mortals can't do that.
  19. JohnBoy

    JohnBoy Well-Known Member

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    A shell of its former glory, unfortunately. Sure hope that turns around this year. And also that there is a season.
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  20. khiladi

    khiladi Well-Known Member

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    Against the Vikings, Dak had more time to pass than any QB that week at around 3.27 seconds per pass.

    They are ranked pretty much a top 3 run and pass blocking OL by Football Outsiders.

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