The Dallas Cowboys played a great game on Wednesday night, but the one criticism of the Cowboys team was the play of the offensive line. Dallas committed 13 penalties, and 5 of those penalties were false starts by the offensive linemen.
Three of those penalties were called on the 21 year old, second year player, Tyron Smith who moved to left tackle this year. The starting center Phil Costa was pulled from the game due to back issues, and Ryan Cook replaced him in the lineup early in the first quarter of the Cowboys win over the New York Giants in Week One. This instability on on the offensive line becomes a huge factor in their next game as the Cowboys travel to Seattle for game two.
Seattle has one of the best home-field advantages in all of the NFL due to their rabid fan base. The group is well known as “The 12th Man” and is a huge part of the Seattle attack. Century Link Field has been recorded as creating the most “false starts” in the entire NFL, 111 since 2005. The noise level at Century Link Field has been as loud as 112 decibels. The crowd noise creates confusion among the offensive line and disrupts the calls the quarterback makes at the line of scrimmage.
The early season troubles on the Dallas offensive line makes for an interesting match up, as they not only battle the defensive line of the Seahawks, but also deal with the crowd noise that will test their ability to make the correct calls during the game. The youth on the Cowboys’ line will be thrown into the fire very quickly as they have to battle the crowd noise to stay disciplined and not “false start” during the game.
False starts are huge part of the game because the Cowboys can ill afford to begin drives behind the 8 ball, with 1st and 15, or even creating much harder middle drive plays. A 3rd and 2 can easily become a 3rd and 7 with a false start penalty. The change in 3rd down alters the way head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo will call plays. If the team suffers a penalty on a 3rd and short, running the ball becomes obsolete because the short run will not gain sufficient yardage to extend the drive.
This week will be a tough test for the young offensive line, as they prepare for the crowd noise. This will be the biggest issue facing the Cowboys this weekend, and the penalties, or lack of penalties will decide the outcome of this game. This weekend will tell us all we need to know about this offensive line and if they are up to the task of taking the Cowboys deep into the Promised Land.