On Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys were able to play their starting offensive line versus the Houston Texans. It marked the first time Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, and Zack Martin have played together since December 29th, 2019. Connor Williams and Tyler Biadasz completed the starting unit at left guard and center, respectively.
Last week, Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy indicated that those players made up the team’s starting offensive line for Week 1 of the regular season. However, it doesn’t appear to be set in stone. At least according to Stephen Jones, it isn’t.
On Friday, ESPN’s Todd Archer reported that NFL teams were “eyeing” a trade for Connor McGovern. Although he’s currently a backup, McGovern started eight games for the Cowboys last season.
A former third-round pick that played guard and center in Penn State, McGovern is a reliable backup that the Cowboys might even see as a potential starter. Judging by Stephen Jones’ comments over the weekend, they’re not really open to moving McGovern.
“(We) certainly haven’t ruled out Connor McGovern to start, he’s still competing his ass off,” said Stephen Jones on 105.3 The Fan on Friday. “I find it really hard to see us wanting to do anything that would hurt us in that area right there.”
Cowboys Nation should be glad to hear that. Although the Dallas Cowboys’ starting offensive line had a good game versus the Texans, backups have struggled during the preseason. Behind the starters and McGovern, it’s hard to guarantee who will make the roster and who won’t. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team looking to add a free agent after the final cuts take place across the NFL.
Whatever you’d get for Connor McGovern likely isn’t as valuable as 1) quality depth & 2) the peace of mind that you have him if/when Connor Williams leaves in the spring. https://t.co/5riGmvmkze— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 20, 2021
But Jones’ comments combined with the fact that the Cowboys have been giving Connor Williams plenty of time at center raises all kinds of questions. Is Williams getting reps at center so he’s ready to slide inside in case Biadasz goes down injured again? So far, that’s been the leading hypothesis for Cowboys fans and media.
But if Connor McGovern is still in the mix to be a starter, could it be that Williams isn’t the only guy he’s competing against? Last year, McCarthy talked about playing the team’s “best five” offensive linemen. Maybe the Cowboys believe playing McGovern at guard and Williams at center gives them the best combination.
Make no mistake, this is purely speculation. Tyler Biadasz has had a strong offseason and training camp, even drawing comparisons to Travis Frederick himself. Williams is entering a contract year this season, which is another reason to be excited about McGovern improving.
Right now, the starting five are the players that we witnessed on Saturday night. But Connor McGovern might have a shot at changing the Dallas Cowboys’ plans before the regular season kickoff.