Starting offensive guard Zack Martin gave the Dallas Cowboys cause for concern when he left practice this week with a back injury. He later had an MRI that the team reported as minor. However, head coach Jason Garrett said that Martin has “some irritation to a disc” in his back, during a press conference today.
Garrett also mentioned that Martin could be eased back to practice after a week off. He will also likely miss the team’s first preseason game, which was expected before the injury.
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Zack Martin’s Outlook
The team will play it safe with a player they know will be ready for the season. It is better for the team to have their starting line intact than to risk further injury before the season starts.
The Cowboys offensive line has the depth to cover Martin’s absence. A great example is how Joe Looney stepped up nicely during an injury-plagued 2018 and will likely continue that trend. The team re-signed him this year because he can play all three offensive line positions. This will help the team as long as Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick returns for the first game of the season.
The health of the offensive line will be crucial to running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott’s outlooks this season. One of the team’s strengths should be offensive line this year as players fully return to health. The only bright side of having top talent sidelined is that other players get the opportunity to step up when they typically would not.
Zack Martin’s Career
Martin, a sixth-year player who was drafted in the first round out of Notre Dame in 2014 has continuously been considered an All-Pro candidate. He leads the Cowboys offensive line as a key contributor in pass protection and the run game.
At Notre Dame, Martin played in all 13 games of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2012, the Irish went undefeated with Martin as team captain. He also played in their loss to Alabama in the 2013 National Championship game.
As a Pro Bowler in his first five seasons, Martin could be on a shortlist of linemen to make the Pro Bowl in each of their first six years. Consistent success like this affords him some time off as the team knows what he provides them. They want to make sure Martin is ready for the regular season and he will surely jump back into the starting guard spot like he never left.
Martin was recently featured on NFL Network’s Top 100 players of 2019 in the No. 59 spot. He was voted on the list by players and obviously has their respect due to the high ranking. Martin will have a great shot to make the list again in 2020 and also to have major success this coming season on the field.
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