Austin On Dallas: There Goes The O-line Continuity


Well, well, well…looks like Dallas Cowboys fans are already starting to get a taste of the phony goods sold in the name of offensive line improvement.  There were two main reasons given from the organization as to why the offensive line will still improve with only one new addition.

One, the starters will have gathered a year of experience together under their belts, along with a full off-season to continue working on techniques and improving as a unit.

Secondly, the offensive line starters should be a much healthier bunch over last year, and the addition of Phil Costa and Kevin Kowalski back into the mix in 2013 will be very welcome.


So why does it not surprise me to hear both Mackenzy Bernadeau (shoulder) and Nate Livings (knee) are nursing injuries again and not participating in mini-camp?  This is pretty much the same song and dance we got from these guys last off-season.

Both were out of action with injuries most of the 2012 summer, and ended up getting very little practice time with their fellow o-line starters before Week 1.

Needless to say it destroyed any continuity they could build going into their first season as Dallas Cowboys.

Livings dealt with knee problems all of last year and clearly it effected his production.

During the 2013 off-season he’s already had surgery on his right knee.  Well, sorry to say but Nate is back on the shelf nursing his right knee again, which he re-injured in OTA’s.

Bernadeau is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery and yet to participate beyond minor, non-contact drills.  This is the same guy who had a long list of injuries keeping him out most of last off-season.

So now that we know both these guys remain on the sideline with fairly significant injuries that could cause further missed time in training camp, I’m already concluding the promise of improvement through continuity is heading South.


So what part of the continuity promise are we receiving during mini-camp only a month before training camp?  Not much to say the least.  To further clarify, Dallas has two starting linemen currently on the field and both play 4 spots away from one another.

Opposite tackles never interact on blocking assignments, there is zero improvement coming from those two spending more time on the field together.  It’s not even noticeable who is on the other side when playing tackle.

On the flip side, there is no starting left guard, no starting right guard, and a different starting center from 2012.  The entire starting interior offensive line at mini-camp consists of guys who weren’t starting for Dallas in 2012.

Is that off-season continuity?  Jerry Jones once again sold a bogus excuse for expecting improvement along the offensive line.  His failed off-season additions from 2012 (Livings, Bernadeau) continue to sit out during valuable off-season reps just like last year.


From where I’m sitting, this all sounds like another repeat from the 2012 off-season.  The two guards will nurse injuries here and there all the way through August and then expect to show up and be a cohesive unit as the regular season gets under way.

Cowboys fans pleaded for management to acquire several new reinforcements to improve the porous o-line situation.

Instead we had to swallow a sole rookie addition, and lame excuse that continuity will lead to the same desired improvement.  In the ugly mold of 2012, the offensive line is again left short-handed while critical starters occupy space on the sideline.

Just as most Cowboys fans, I’d have much preferred two new guards joined the team to replace these guys in the first place, instead of hollow promises of improvement.

Maybe just maybe these injuries will provide some good for the future.  It’s possible the mini-camp replacements (Ronald Leary, David Arkin) will shine during their time filling in for the wounded, and swipe the starting roles away from the previous pair as they remain spectators.

At least we can all dream of o-line improvement by luck, we certainly won’t be getting much improvement through continuity.