Despite the highly ranked defense and star-studded offense, Dallas struggled against the 0-2 Arizona Cardinals in their 28-16 loss on Sunday afternoon. While there were problems to be addressed virtually everywhere, one of which was rather glaring. The Cowboys offensive line was without three starters on Sunday: Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and Tyler Biadisz. While the Cowboys will soon get all three starting offensive linemen back, the Cardinals exposed the cracks under the surface.
Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line Woes Could Sink Season
Guard T.J. Bass
Bass is at the front of this list for a reason. For the task at hand, his play was average. Considering this is Bass’ first NFL start, the pressure needs to be on improvement rather than removal. The Dallas Cowboys offensive line was held together by glue and popsicle sticks on Sunday, and Bass contributed to that problem. He allowed three pressures and three quarterback hurries.
Look at the replay of the Rico Dowdle receiving touchdown in the second quarter. Slow it down, and you will see T.J. Bass being assigned for a block. Any other starting offensive lineman would have provided Dowdle a much clearer path to paydirt. Bass didn’t play with his hands up, and his performance lacked hard physicality. While he has impressed in training camp, Bass’ struggles are a testament to Dallas’ starting offensive line.
Guard T.J. Bass finished the game with a 39.7 OVR ranking from PFF, the lowest of any lineman. While it’s too early to cry for Bass’ release, he must show improvement if he wants to keep the star on that helmet. Zack Martin should return to the right guard position as soon as his ankle can hold.
LT Chuma Edoga
Edoga has moved around the offensive line throughout his NFL career. From playing left tackle to left guard, the former New York Jet hasn’t been a stranger to position swaps. Versatility isn’t everything, as Edoga was reminiscent of Chaz Green giving up pressures on Sunday’s 28-16 loss.
Edoga allowed three pressures, two hurries, and a quarterback hit. While playing left tackle, he managed to give Dak some protection. While rotating to left guard, the cracks under the surface began to show. Edoga was called for a holding penalty and often didn’t finish the play. The likes of Dennis Gardeck and Kyzir White carved him up, making a statement in the process.
Tyron Smith at left tackle is an essential tool, like a scalpel in the hands of a Surgeon. Edoga held Dallas’ offensive line like a sickle in the hands of a drunken peasant. He finished the game with a 56.1 OVR ranking from PFF. While his scores aren’t the lowest amongst linemen, it’s clear to Dallas Cowboys fans that playing Chuma Edoga was a very costly move.
C Brock Hoffman
After the dust had settled in the desert, a resounding positive message laid at the deck of ground zero. Rookie undrafted center Brock Hoffman statistically had the best day out of any of the rotational linemen. While the job will likely be going back to starting center Tyler Biadsz soon, Hoffman held his own.
Brock Hoffman finished the game with zero pressures, quarterback hurries, or hits. An impressive feat for an undrafted product who was once seen throwing fists at his teammates in practice. The Cowboys offensive line was held together by Hoffman and Tyler Smith for the majority of this game. Hoffman’s steady performance is a testament to his readiness and work ethic. He played with his hands up, and kept his head on a swivel.
While there is certainly no expectation of Brock Hoffman being a starting center for Dallas in the future, he played well with the tools he was given.
Main Photo: Joe Camporeale – USA Today Sports