Dallas Cowboys: Will Joe Looney start at left guard in 2019?

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

In 2018, Dallas Cowboys‘ center Joe Looney did an exceptional job filling in for Travis Frederick. With Frederick’s return, will Looney start at left guard?

For the Dallas Cowboys, what was one of the most shocking storylines in 2018 was the success center Joe Looney had as the replacement for Travis Frederick. Frederick missed the whole season due to his diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome. With the Cowboys missing a perennial All-Pro offensive lineman, the center position was expected to be a vulnerability for Dallas.

However, Looney put together a rather good season. Although he got off to a rough start, as he failed to communicate with the rest of the offensive line, Looney made steady progress throughout the season into the playoffs. He became one of the few players on the offense that was consistent.

According to head coach Jason Garrett, Frederick is expected to make an impact in 2019. Here’s what Garrett told DallasCowboys.com recently.

"“He’s worked very hard in the weight room to get himself back and we do anticipate him, if things continue the way they do, to be involved in our offseason program right from the get-go. Some of the things that were concerning to him have kind of gone away.”"

With this being said, could Looney still be a starter on the offensive line next season? Left guard, Connor Williams, definitely improved in his rookie campaign, but his lack of size is an area of concern. Dallas is hopeful that after a full offseason in the strength program, Williams would possess the size to be a reliable contributor at the guard position.

Current right tackle, La’el Collins has two years left on his contract. Collins was the most inconsistent player on the Cowboys’ offense in 2018.  Collins led the team in pressures allowed (47) and also led Dallas in percentage of pressures allowed on dropbacks with 6.4 percent, per Pro Football Focus. That means that for every 15.6 snaps, Collins allowed a pressure.

The Cowboys invested a second-round pick in Williams, so they will not give up on him easily. So let’s say hypothetically: Frederick returns, but Williams does not gain the prototypical size to play guard, the organization might decide to put Williams at right tackle– keep in mind he played tackle in college at the University of Texas.

Let us assume the Cowboys put Williams at right tackle, who is going to play left guard? The Dallas Cowboys will have to choose whether Looney or Collins is the better fit. Looney is entering the last year of his contract, per Spotrac.com. Both Looney and Collins have the size and experience to play guard.

Nothing is clear yet, but this will be a possibility. Watch out for any moves in the offseason addressing right tackle and left guard. The Jones family likes to create competition for training camp, so for Looney, Collins, and Williams, nothing is secured.

What change ups would you like to see on the offensive line? Can Williams become a dominant left guard? Will Looney be a starter next year? Feel free to share your ideas and thoughts in the comment section below!

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