Can the Dallas Cowboys offensive line return to dominance in 2018?

The , over the past four seasons, have been one of the best rushing teams in the . Their starting five linemen consist of three All-Pro‘s in left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, and right guard . Right tackle La‘el Collins and second-round rookie Connor Williams are the other two starting offensive linemen to solidify the line.

The starting linemen, except for Connor Williams, have been together for three or more seasons as they have made a bond while practicing and working together. Williams will be looking to receive plenty of knowledge from Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick who he will be between as he works from the left guard position.

Pro Focus had this to say about the Cowboys‘ offensive line for this season: “The Cowboys aren’t far removed from again having the league’s best offensive line. Paul Alexander is the new offensive line coach, and they added second-round draft pick Connor Williams, who allowed just one sack in his college career.”

The front office has made major upgrades on the offensive line as they‘ve added depth at swing tackle with former New England Patriots right tackle Cameron Fleming and former San Francisco 49ers guard Marcus Martin as the backup guard. These additions were made to have a better running attack and to protect quarterback Dak Prescott in the pocket as he continues to develop.

Struggles in 2017

The Dallas Cowboys had major problems last season, which led to a 9-7 record and no playoff appearance.

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A major turning point that gets lost as to the Cowboys‘ downfall in 2017 was the health of the offensive line. The first five weeks, when the Cowboys were sitting at a 2-3 record, the offensive line wasn‘t as dominant as in years past because of the health of left tackle Tyron Smith and the status of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension.

Tyron Smith had a strained back he tried to play through all season and the rest of the o-line struggled in his absence. Ezekiel Elliott got suspended six games from Week 10 through Week 16 for a domestic violence case. Tyron Smith missed the games against the Atlanta Falcons as the team gave up a total of nine sacks. Six were given up by backup tackle Chaz Green.

That game alone and Chaz Green‘s poor performance hurt the Cowboys over the next three games as they scored only 23 points combined. The offense could not get the ball in the end zone or get the running game going as the backup linemen struggled to hold the fort while Smith was out.

Once Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott returned to action, the running game didn‘t look great as the Cowboys failed to run the ball down the Seattle Seahawks throat on the goal line in a Week 16 matchup.

The results last season were an inconsistent running game and a missed opportunity at making the playoffs after a dominant 2016 campaign.

Expectations for 2018

The Dallas Cowboys on paper look like a dominant group up front on the offensive line with Tyron Smith now healthy, a talented rookie guard, and now some quality depth at the backup tackle and guard spots. This is a run first team so you have to make sure you have your best starting five and quality backups who can fill in when injuries occur.

Your best ability in the NFL is your availability, which is what we witnessed when Tyron Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, and Sean Lee were all on the sidelines last season.

With the additions on the line plus new offensive line coach Paul Alexander, he will bring new ideas and techniques. Those techniques will be taught to these linemen along with the knowledge they already have. This offensive line takes pride in their work and as these players continue to gel with one another, you will see them return to the dominant force we have witnessed before.

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