Let's Talk O-Line

The 2008 season proved just how bad things could get without a deep O-line. With starting Left Guard Kyle Kosier out, the Cowboys relied on an often over-powered and over-matched Cory Procter to fill his shoes until he came back. The problem was, three games was all you would get from Kyle that year, leaving very little hope of the position solidifying again.

That hope returned again with the signing of 6’2″ 322 lb. Montrae Holland whom played for the Denver Broncos but never really fit their smaller, quicker O-line style. He actually started in weeks 13 and 14 against Seattle and Pittsburgh and probably would have held on to the job had it not been for the injury bug biting us once again.

By the end of the season, the coaching staff had enough of Procter’s revolving-door style Guard play and inserted Pat McQuistan against Philly in an already blow out game. I would think it’s safe to say Procter’s days as a Cowboy are over. Not so fast. The Cowboys placed the second round tender on him, all but assuring Cory to return to camp once again in ’09. I believe the reason for hanging on to him was to backup center Andre Gurode, which is his natural position and to be third string backup to the guard spot for emergency purposes only. I would think they could find better than that in this off-season and maybe they will. If Cory never plays another down as a Cowboy, in my book, that would be too soon.

I believe it’s important to point out that (Kyle and Montrae) are only signed through ’09 and if a new Collective Bargaining agreement is signed, they both become unrestricted free-agents next year. As far as the rest of the line, all positions are locked up until at least 2012, assuring continuity for another four years.

Now backups, that’s another story. Currently the Cowboys have Ryan Gibbons and Montrae Holland as backups at Guard. At Center, Cory Procter and Matt Spanos are currently ready to compete for the one spot available. At Tackle, Doug Free and Pat McQuistan have both shown flashes but no consistency to backup the two spots for ’09.

It’s time to weed out the weak and infuse some smarts and muscle into this massive O-line for depth and for the future. We all know that the way to do this is through free-agency and the draft.

In the past, I’ve posted a list of all free-agents still on the market. It makes for a really long post and a bit to much to digest for one sitting, so instead I’m going to post a link for those who are interested to go to and explore.

2009 Remaining Unrestricted Free Agents

In the draft, the O-line depth is so deep that anyone with half a brain should be able to pick up quality depth without wasting a high pick. Again, because the list is so long, I’ll post a link to my favorite draft site (not favorite mock draft site) and let you research for yourself.
(Walterfootball is my favorite resource because of the lists it compiles and the way the information is displayed. I’m not endorsing his knowledge on players or his rankings.)

Here’s the links:

Tackle:
http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2009OT.php

Guard:
http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2009OG.php

Center:
http://www.walterfootball.com/draft2009C.php

 

So there it is. I hope this sparks some good conversation about depth and future O-line prospects. This also concludes my off-season pre-draft series. I’m not doing Tight End, Running Back or Receiver because I believe we have the players on our roster already. I know some will argue about Receiver, so if you want to do an article yourself, get er done, I’m not your guy.

Comments
  1. Raina

    Sure hope we pick up some on your picks in the draft Nate. Great Blog!

  2. Joe D.

    I wonder if the Cowboys would consider packaging their assortment of lower round picks to move up in the draft or somehow get a first round pick. Would love to get a Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe in the first and then draft a safety in the second.

  3. nate

    joe-
    looks as if monroe and smith will go in the top 5. maybe we could move up just a little in the second and go after phil loadholt or fenuki tupou. they are two huge oline maulers that project well into our system. so many options. i get too excited this time of year. the draft is awesome.

  4. nate

    thanks raina. you are too sweet. :)

  5. Kelly Horn

    I believe people get so wrapped up in the more high profiled positions that they forget how important the O-line really is.
    Anytime I think of the perfect O-line I go back to the mid 90s. My God those men were monsters! Its really what helps make the great QBs and RBs – protection is everything!
    Jerry knows this!

  6. nate

    Kelly-
    Great thoughts. The 90′s line ruled. We have the size, we just need the smarts and play calling. It will be interesting to see if Jerry finally drafts a solid backup and future starter in this draft. The track record lately has been dismal. Plenty of good players in the draft this year. I have faith we will come out good.

  7. TD

    I have to admit I am no offensive line genius, to me they all look big and I don’t know what makes them great or a bust, maybe it is mental.
    I did read a great book, called “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game”, about Ole Miss’ left tackle, Micheal Oher (who is coming out in this years draft and is projected in the 1st round) and it was a great read and explained a lot about O-Line and I suggest it to all football fans, and especially college football fans.
    I say draft whoever Nate says! Nice Post.

  8. nate

    td-
    thanks for the tip on the book. ill have to check it out. that guy, oher, gets high marks from all the experts.
    as far as players on the o-line we should draft, we all know we like the big road graters. so anyone under, say, 310 lbs. is out. also, the bench press and wonderlic are pretty important. after that, we have very limited resources,compared to scouts. they have all the game tape and the inside track from former coaches, which plays a huge role in the final determinaning process as to where we would rate the individual.
    so really, as fans, we can only try to predict the players we take with maybe half the information at best. sometimes we get lucky.