Dallas Cowboys Won’t Change Offensive Line Starters With Unproven Backs


Those familiar with the unfortunate, whirlwind story behind La’el Collins road to the Dallas Cowboys already appreciate the man inside the uniform.

An uncontrollable tragedy tainted his first round draft pick status and spoiled the one day he’d always dreamed of.

Instead of sulking and blaming the world, Collins chose the road less traveled. He embraced the unforeseen detour with unshakable faith and resolve.

"I’m extremely excited. I can’t say that enough. I’m extremely excited. I chose to wear this star because I feel like I’m a star, and my family is a star and we will represent it very well. — La’el Collins at Cowboys’ press conference"

I know I’m very proud a young man of such high character, respect, and determination is a part of the Dallas Cowboys organization.

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Stories are great for inspiration and all, but football is football. Once practice begins, every man stands on equal footing in this sport.

You are either the best player at your position or not. Teams hunting titles are in the business of assembling the best starting groups possible and going for the glory.

So far in OTA’s, Collins has been used primarily at right tackle. There are two reasons for this. One, starting right tackle Doug Free has yet to regain health and man his spot.

Two, it’s much harder for an offensive lineman with flex options to learn to play in space at tackle.

It’s one thing to operate in traffic at the guard position. It’s a whole other beast setting the edge on an island at tackle as speed rushers fly off the outside.

So far the feedback on Collins is a mixed bag. While his talent and effort are not in question, his fit at tackle seems to be less than ideal.

The big knock is that his technique and slide step is a bit slow for the pro level. Flagship writers are claiming it’s not only their eyes that are saying this, but also the coaches.

Fortunately for Collins, it’s always been known he would try his hand inside and battle Ronald Leary for the starting left guard spot upon Free’s return.

Don’t be shocked when the starting offensive line on September 13th is the same one that ended the 2014 season in Green Bay.

One of the most important aspects of an offensive line’s success is continuity. With Leary and his fellow starters on the field, Dallas knows exactly what they have.

Not only did the 2014 line clear the way for the 2nd ranked rushing offense (147.1 ypg), they also allowed the 9th fewest quarterback sacks (30).

The most productive rushing direction for DeMarco Murray his last two seasons was following behind Leary and left tackle Tyron Smith.

While Collins may be as good or better than Leary one day, the uncertainty against pro level defenders is not a risk this team will take to start the season.

Dallas will play it smart and rely on a constant for the new backs to acclimate behind. The last thing they will risk is rookie mistakes to compound back deficiencies.

Sure it’s a worthy risk when your offensive line is clearly lacking like 2013, but the 2014 unit was arguably the best in football.

The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” will ring true while the Cowboys seek to re-establish their offensive identity and rushing prowess.

Collins was a great addition and will be a productive starter very soon in Dallas. He’ll also see playing time as a rookie.

It’s simply too risky to tinker with continuity and proven production when trying to give new runners the best chance to fire out of the starting gate.

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