Mike McCarthy has faced the music after the Dallas Cowboys offense mustered 16 points in their loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. While the offense moved up and down the field without much adversity, they scored one touchdown in five red zone trips.
For context, the Cowboys twice settled for field goals inside the Cardinals 10-yard line and turned it over on downs inside the 5. Additionally, Dak Prescott was just 2-of-9 for 25 yards with an interception inside the red zone.
In fairness, it's plausible Dallas' red zone blues-- and general lack of offensive explosion -- can be attributed to the health of the offensive line.
The Cowboys were without left tackle Tyron Smith, All-Pro right guard Zack Martin and Pro Bowl center Tyler Biadasz in the game. That's no excuse for losing, but it stands to reason that it forced McCarthy to shrink his playbook.
That could change in Week 4 against the Patriots, however, as Martin and Biadasz were limited participants in Thursday's practice after sitting out Wednesday.
Cowboys injury report: Zack Martin, Tyler Biadasz back at practice, Tyron Smith remains out
This is highly encouraging before Sunday.
A future Hall of Famer, Martin likely doesn't need a full practice to get the green light for Week 4. Biadasz is a different story, largely because the tricky nature of hamstring injuries, but the fact he was in full pads and got in a limited practice (hopefully without a setback) suggests he's trending toward playing.
Friday and Saturday will tell the full story about Martin and Biadasz's availability against the 1-2 Patriots. Jerry Jones said last week on 105.3 The Fan that he didn't expect Martin to miss time with his ankle injury, which backs up the theory that Dallas exercised caution with the 32-year-old guard against Arizona.
Regardless, Martin and Biadasz's return would be a massive boost for the offense.
Backup center Brock Hoffman held his own against Arizona and didn't allow a single pressure in pass protection, though Biadasz's physicality and brute strength was missed in the run game. It was a different story for fill-in RG T.J. Bass, who produced a 33.3 pass block grade, allowing three pressures and hurries apiece.
Chuma Edoga graded out better at left tackle filling in for Tyron Smith, but still conceded a trio of pressures, two hurries and a quarterback hit.
It'll be interesting to see if Edoga starts again at LT if Smith can't go. Tyler Smith was more than serviceable at left tackle as a rookie and Edoga might be better served at left guard when accounting for the speed the Patriots have off the edge with Matt Judon, Josh Uche and Keion White.
It's important to note this doesn't mean Martin and Biadasz will play on Sunday, but all things considered this is huge news for Dallas.