5 moves the Cowboys should have made much sooner

Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Moving Zack Martin to right tackle, benching Terence Steele

The lateness of this move still boggles the mind. It starts with the inexplicable love affair someone on the Cowboys’ coaching staff has with the potential of an undrafted rookie free agent in Terence Steele. The inexperienced first-year lineman started the team’s first nine games at right tackle due to a season-ending hip injury suffered by La’el Collins.

It was clear to everyone but the Cowboys’ coaching staff that Steele wasn’t ready to start in the NFL. He earned a lowly 46.8 overall grade from the football analytic website, Pro Football Focus. PFF also credits Steele with allowing seven sacks and committing five penalties.

For weeks, Cowboy fans pleaded that the team move All-Pro right guard Zack Martin to right tackle to better secure the position. And the coaching staff in Dallas knew after Week Three that Martin was more than capable of starting at the right tackle position after the six-time Pro Bowler was moved outside mid-game in an emergency situation.

Yet, the coaching staff was reluctant to shift the talented guard out of what they considered to be Martin’s natural and best position. Yet, two injured quarterbacks later and the Cowboys finally benched the struggling Steele during the bye in Week 10. They also finally allowed Martin to take his place as the new starting right tackle. And the result was the team’s first win since early October.

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The potentially too-late decision to shift Zack Martin to right tackle is just the latest example of how the Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff has mismanaged this season. And if hindsight is truly 20/20, we could look back at the hiring of head coach Mike McCarthy as the team’s biggest misstep of them all this year.