The Dallas Cowboys will have to overcome La’el Collins’ absence at right tackle for all of 2020. Reports recently emerged on Collins finally deciding to undergo hip surgery and ending his season. The Cowboys have a lot of ways of dealing with it, but Collins’ injury is the biggest on the team right now, especially considering the expectations surrounding Dak Prescott’s offense.
Cowboys RT La’el Collins will undergo season-ending hip surgery, source said. His injury did not respond to rest and treatment as hoped. Collins out for 2020 before his campaign could begin.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 3, 2020
The Cowboys have already played three weeks without Collins but it’s unclear how they’ll try to address it.
First of all, the decisions begin by determining Left Tackle Tyron Smith’s status. If he’s out, you can expect Brandon Knight to stay on Dak’s blind side while Terence Steele or Zack Martin plays right tackle.
However, the expectation is that Smith finally returns, which opens up interesting possibilities. The Cowboys could bet on Brandon Knight given his strong performances and flip him over to the right side of the offensive line.
Usually, coaches aren’t big fans of switching players’ positions frequently, but surely Knight has played way better than undrafted rookie Terence Steele. If Smith is ready to go come game-time, the Cowboys need to consider playing him at right tackle.
The Cowboys seemingly benched Steele last week against the Seattle Seahawks when Right Guard Zack Martin slid over to the RT position. But upon further review, Steele wasn’t actually benched.
Some clarity on #Cowboys OT Terence Steele…I’m told Steele was not benched against Seattle. He was battling awful food poisoning late Saturday, took 3 IVs in morning w hopes of playing. During the game took another but eventually body just shut down & physically couldn’t play.— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) September 28, 2020
Judging by the team’s comments on the matter, Martin is out of the running to replace La’el Collins. It makes sense, given he’s been the best in the NFL at his position since arriving in the league in 2014.
Even still, Martin did such a good job against Seattle that you had to wonder if Mike McCarthy’s staff would consider the position change.
Instead, it’s all between Knight and Steele. And judging by Steele’s performance so far, the Cowboys should strongly consider betting on Knight.
But there are bigger things at stake. What if Smith returns but aggravates his neck injury? Perhaps McCarthy wants to make sure Smith is fine after playing an actual game before making the call on playing Knight.
Mike McCarthy on who plays RT if Tyron Smith returns: "We'll take the week to figure that out but you know I think both those guys have hit the mark as far as getting it done with their opportunities." Brandon Knight and Terence Steele are in the running.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) October 1, 2020
But that’s not all that’s happening on the Cowboys offensive line. Center Joe Looney did a tremendous job filling in for Travis Frederick a couple of years ago. But we haven’t seen Looney play very well over the last three weeks, which means more changes could be coming soon.
Fourth-round rookie Tyler Biadasz saw some playing time against the Seahawks on Week 3. Cowboys fans should keep an eye on who starts at center and more importantly who finishes the game at the position.
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