After bad injury luck for the Dallas Cowboys offensive line in the 2018 season, they look primed return to elite status for the 2019 season.
The Dallas Cowboys the past several years have had the talent to be considered one of the best offensive lines in the entire NFL when healthy. Among their starters is center Travis Frederick, right guard Zack Martin, and left tackle Tyron Smith. Between these three offensive linemen, they have combined for six All-Pro selections and 15 Pro Bowl selections.
Last season, the Cowboys were not able to stay healthy at all and maintain their elite status. In August of 2018, just weeks before the regular season would begin, Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
This is a disorder in which the immune system attacks the body’s nervous system in response to illness.
Due to this happening so close to the start of the season, backup center Joe Looney was forced to become what we thought was the temporary starter. Frederick’s situation was an extremely rare disease so no there was no timetable for a return to the field. With that being said, there was optimism from both Frederick’s camp and the Dallas Cowboys that but optimism that he could return that season.
In the end, Frederick would never return to the field for Dallas in the 2018 season. Due to him missing all 16 regular season games as well as both playoff games, Looney had a full year of quality snaps under his belt. Although he is a step down from the player Frederick is, he still had a great season with all things considered. Now, backing up Frederick once again upon his return this offseason, Looney will provide key depth for the Dallas Cowboys offensive line.
Dallas Cowboys starting right tackle La’el Collins is still under contract and will presumably be the starter once again in the 2019 season. Collins has started 46 games as a Dallas Cowboy in his career. In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Connor Williams in the second round with the 50th overall pick. Williams, who played three seasons as an offensive tackle at the University of Texas would immediately win the starting job at the left guard position.
Although Connor Williams struggled early in his rookie year at this new position, he was starting to show small signs of improvement. In week eight of the 2018 season, Williams went down with a knee injury. Xavier Su’a-Filo would look to fill his void as the new starter.
Su’a-Filo would immediately make a positive impact as a starter and started the remaining eight games of the season before Williams reclaimed his starting spot in the Cowboys first playoff game. Although it is still yet to be decided who will lock down the starting left guard spot for the 2019 season, Dallas has to be relieved that they have two capable starters at that position.
Although not talked about often, the Dallas Cowboys made a quiet move in free agency during the summer of 2018, signing veteran offensive lineman Cameron Fleming. Fleming appeared in 47 games for the New England Patriots prior to signing a one-year deal with the Cowboys. Just a few weeks ago, Fleming agreed to a new two-year deal to return to Dallas to back up Tyron Smith.
Between the star-studded starting offensive line and the proven backups on the Dallas Cowboys roster, they look primed to once again make the case for having the best offensive line in the NFL if they can stay healthy.