The Dallas Cowboys are already in the back half of their 2022 NFL season, but the roster still isn’t done shifting around as December approaches.
This is partially due to injuries and how they affect a team. Dallas had to sign veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters earlier in the season to help with injury issues, but it now seems as if an equilibrium is being restored.
On November 22, The Athletic’s Jon Machota posted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced that Tyron Smith will start at his favored left tackle position once he returns from his knee fracture and that rookie Tyler Smith would shift inside.
“Jerry Jones on @1053thefan said Tyron Smith will be the Cowboys’ left tackle when he returns from his hamstring injury. Jones said he thinks rookie Tyler Smith will ‘easily’ make the transition from left tackle to left guard,” Machota’s Tweet reads.
While Smith’s return is something most Cowboys fans want to see, shifting Smith to guard means that current left guard Connor McGovern is heading to the bench. It’s the nature of the NFL, but it’s an unfortunate development for the 25-year-old lineman.
Cowboys Have Shuffled Around on Offense
While the majority of the plaudits this season have gone to quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush as well as running back Tony Pollard, offensive success all depends on the blockers up front.
McGovern has done his part especially well, playing with an inexperienced Smith at the tackle spot next to him. Pro Football Reference states that McGovern has eight starts on the year, with the former Penn State star starting the last seven games.
Dallas is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, albeit the team has allowed a “just alright” 14 sacks in 10 games. However, @defytalkcowboys recently shared an interesting tidbit about McGovern’s pass blocking grades from PFF in the past few weeks.
“In the last 4 weeks Connor McGovern has graded above an 84.0 in pass pro 3 times and has allowed 0 pressures 3 times ok bye,” the account Tweeted.
Tyron Smith must start once he’s healthy enough to play, but Dallas will have to analyze and consider whether they should stick with Tyler Smith or McGovern at guard going forward.
McGovern Made Major Penalty Against Packers
While McGovern’s play as a whole has been solid this season, the guard is not far removed from a brutal holding call against the Green Bay Packers in Week 10.
After surrendering a 28-14 lead in the second half, Dallas had the ball in overtime and a chance to still win. Pollard received a handoff and busted through the center of the line for a big gain, but the play was brought back for a holding call on McGovern.
The play stalled the drive, which was followed by Green Bay eventually winning the game 31-28. According to Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken, McGovern is convinced it wasn’t a hold even after watching the play afterward.
“Once I felt the back go past me, I let go. I didn’t grab anything,” McGovern said. “The ref said I tried to restrict him, tried to tackle him. Watching it on the replay, watching it on the iPad, I still don’t see it.”
The lineman’s season can’t be judged on one major play, but it may end up being a factor in the Cowboys’ upcoming decisions.