The Dallas Cowboys are already getting bit by the injury bug, and it’s still early in training camp. What’s worse is that it’s taking shots at what might be the position they can’t afford to lose bodies: offensive line.
As A to Z Sports Dallas writer and prime-time host Mauricio Rodriguez issued, during Thursday’s practice, Dallas Cowboys rookie offensive tackle Matt Waletzko suffered a shoulder injury. Now, the pick will be forced to an undetermined amount of time. His status to be re-evaluated later.
Rookie OT Matt Waletzko is going to miss some time.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) July 29, 2022
No surgery is required at this point, but Cowboys will rehab the shoulder he injured in Thursday’s practice & reevaluate where the 5th round pick stands later in camp, a person w/ knowledge of Waletzko’s status said.
Matt Waletzko suffered a shoulder injury on Thursday and will not practice "today or tomorrow" — per MM. #Cowboys— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) July 29, 2022
As it stands, the Dallas Cowboys projected starting offensive line looks as follows:
Left Tackle – Tyron Smith
Left Guard – Tyler Smith
Center – Tyler Biadasz
Right Guard – Zack Martin
Right Tackle – Terence Steele
The competition for swing tackle comes down to a small number of players including Waletzko, Josh Ball, Aviante Collins and Isaac Alarcon. With the loss of Waletzko, it brings into question how the rotation looks.
In all likelihood, If (when) Tyron Smith were to miss time, Tyler Smith kicks outside to tackle while Connor McGovern fills in at left guard.
The question becomes what happens if Steele were to miss time? The rookie Smith is purely a left-side player. Shouldn’t be considered as a fill in.
Should the Cowboys take a chance with one of these players? None have ever taken a professional snap? Could Zack Martin kick outside, as he did in 2020?
Owner Jerry Jones has made it seemingly clear that there’s no intent to bring in a veteran to play swing tackle:
“We won’t be seeing one of those,” said Jones. “The club seems to feel confident enough about the young tackle talent that they don’t want to stop progress.”
With the uncertainty behind the starters, odds are this will be re-evaluated. The young players will still get their snaps in, all competing for 1-2 jobs. Leaving it to chance that any of them are ready would be an odd move for a team looking for success.
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