Following a series of Saturday roster moves — Cameron Erving activated from injured reserve and Jordan Mills and Adam Redmond promoted off the practice squad — the Dallas Cowboys are set to roll out an injury-ruined and inexperienced offensive line in the nation’s capital.
As Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News perfectly illustrated, the starting front-five for the team’s Week 7 road game at Washington is projected to have Erving at left tackle, Connor Williams at left guard, Tyler Biadasz at center, Connor McGovern at right guard, and Terence Steele at right tackle.
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It’s the furthest cry from the elite OL the Cowboys boasted in years past, featuring All-Pros (Tyron Smith, Zack Martin), Pro Bowlers (Travis Frederick), and stud prospects (La’el Collins). Frederick’s offseason retirement was the first domino to drop in what’s been a nightmarish 2020 campaign for Joe Philbin’s group.
Smith (neck) and Collins were lost to season-ending injuries. Frederick’s replacement, Joe Looney, is on short-term injured reserve, and Martin is sidelined after suffering a concussion in Monday’s loss to Arizona. The injury bug even reached fill-in LT Brandon Knight, who was moved to short-term IR on Saturday following recent knee surgery.
The one constant, Williams, arguably was the weakest link from the old outfit. And the other consistent starter, Steele, is an undrafted rookie previously benched for poor play. McGovern, a 2019 third-round pick, will be making his first career start. Erving is returning after his own stint on IR. Biadasz is a fourth-round rookie.
Dallas’ primary OT backups will be Mills, signed Sept. 29, and Greg Senat, plucked off Cleveland’s taxi squad 17 days ago. The lone reserve OG will be Redmond, who spent the past two seasons in Dallas before being released at final cuts last month.
Dire doesn’t begin to describe this situation.
Making matters worse is a Washington foe adept at harassing quarterbacks, with 16 sacks across six games, tied for ninth-most in the NFL. The Football Team boasts an imposing front — led by Ryan Kerrigan (3 sacks), Montez Sweat (3), and rookie first-rounder Chase Young (2.5) — that can wreak havoc both inside and along the edges.
The Cowboys surprisingly weren’t a total sieve with Dak Prescott under center, yielding 11 sacks in five games. Things changed almost immediately upon Prescott’s season-ending injury; the OL gave up three sacks and eight QB hits against Arizona.
May God be with Andy Dalton on Sunday.
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Jones Hints at Big Move Before NFL Trade Deadline
“Specifically no,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan when asked if he’s targeting a certain position. “Generally, eyes wide open.”
Dallas’ roster could use reinforcements at various spots; an offensive lineman, tight end, linebacker, or defensive back would do the trick for a 2-4 club whose playoff hopes are kept alive by virtue of playing in the hopeless NFC East.
Jones has plenty of capital at his disposal, with nine 2021 draft picks and approximately $24.6 million in available salary-cap space, sixth-most in the NFL, per Spotrac.com.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL