The Dallas Cowboys were without one of their top offensive linemen to start the season against one of the best defensive lines in the league. Zack Martin missed the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to COVID. Another week, another starting offensive lineman will be missing, this time it’s RT La’el Collins, who is out for five weeks due to suspension.
Thankfully, Martin is slated to return at RG, but without Collins, the Cowboys will have their hands full with the Los Angeles Chargers defensive line. The Chargers don’t have the depth or quantity the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do, but this week’s opponent has the more devastating pass rusher. And according to owner Jerry Jones, it’s going to be second-year UDFA Terence Steele replacing Collins.
Speaking on 105.3 The Fan, Jerry Jones said the plan is to go with Terence Steele at right tackle with La’el Collins out. “He’ll do a good job out there and we’ll give him lots of help,” Jones said.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) September 14, 2021
Chargers DE Joey Bosa is about as good as it gets coming off the edge and the Cowboys will be sending out a much-maligned back-up to slow Bosa down. That is not optimal for a team trying to avoid going 0-2 to start the season.
When Collins went down, the Cowboys had a few options to replace him. The top choices were veteran Ty Nsekhe, Steele or Brandon Knight who they’ve practiced both on the inside and outside.
There was an outside chance the team would move Martin to RT and use Connor McGovern at RG to have the best starting five offensive linemen on the field, but Dallas, and maybe Martin, appear reluctant to make that move.
It didn’t take long to get the answer as to what the Cowboys would do. In typical Jones fashion, he spilled the beans.
Aside from Jones announcing it instead of the coaches, Steele is an interesting choice after the Cowboys made it a point to sign Nsekhe this offseason to be the main swing tackle. Steele and fellow undrafted free agent Knight saw plenty of action as the starting tackles last season, and after a rough start to his rookie year in 2020, Steele did improve as the year went on.
However, the team saw fit to try an upgrade the position and Nsekhe was supposed to be the answer. Neither Steele, nor Nsekhe distinguished themselves in training camp or in the preseason, but the team is clearly willing to bet on Steele’s improvement over Nsekhe’s experience.
The Cowboys did rave about Steele’s offseason work to prepare for his sophomore season, and now fans will get to see if that talk was justified. It’s a tough assignment for Steele and the assumption is that he’ll get help instead of having too many one-on-ones against Bosa.
One of football’s mantras has long been next man up. For the Cowboys at RT, Steele gets the first chance. Collins’ suspension is currently for five weeks, and it remains to be seen if Steele can keep the job for the entirety of that absence.
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