When the weakest part of your team hasn’t improved that much from one season to the next, it’s hard to come to the conclusion that you would be satisfied with that particular group.
However, Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said on Tuesday, per ESPN Dallas, that he is “getting comfortable” with the team’s offensive line. To be clear, no one should blame Jones for the statement. He is the Vice President of the team, the son of the owner and general manager, so really, what is he supposed to say? He’s in a position where he really has to say something positive. If he was to say, “the line is brutal we need to fix it,” it would make the franchise, and his father, look bad.
The truth is, however, that there is no way the team should be comfortable with its offensive front. They just aren’t in a position to be.
The line’s struggles have been well documented throughout training camp. Injuries (Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, and Ronald Leary) and failed signings (Brandon Moore and Brian Waters) have been the story. They have guys now switching positions (Bernadeau from right guard to left and Doug Free from right tackle to right guard), and have elevated a career backup (Jeremy Pernell) to starting right tackle.
Not to mention, the line hasn’t looked very good overall throughout the preseason. Left tackle Tyron Smith has been solid, and rookie Travis Frederick has been okay, but really the position switching is what is the most worrisome. Free is a natural tackle, with long arms, not an exceptionally strong base, and the lack of great lateral movement or the strength necessary to be a success on the inside. And Parnell, at least in my opinion, won’t cut it in the regular season if he stays at starting tackle. The NFC East boasts some of the NFL‘s preeminent pass rushers, from New York Giants‘ Jason Pierre Paul and Justin Tuck, to Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins. Going up against those four twice a year, line shifting is the last thing the team needs.
Granted, the injuries have become so much of a problem that the experimenting has to take place, but that speaks to the point of the team not being fine along the front, which Jones implied when he said he was “getting comfortable”.
Again, you can’t really blame Jones for saying what he said when he is in the position that he is in. But analysts and Cowboy fans know that they should be anything but comfortable about the line, because they certainly aren’t in a good spot right now.
Jake Carapella is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports. Follow him on twitter @JKCSports1.