- Created on Friday, 29 April 2011 12:40
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
There will not be too many analysts and fans that will argue if you say the Dallas Cowboys were one of the most underachieving teams last season. Most analysts would be quick to agree on what the Cowboys need to fix that--blocking.
The level of talent on the Cowboys offense was without question in 2010. However, the talent means little if there is not sufficient blocking for said talent to do what it does.
Last year’s make shift line was a middle of the road group at best. In the running game they averaged 4.2 yards a carry, good for 15th in the league; not bad, but not a postseason worthy performance either. If the line is going to keep Tony Romo and his healthy clavicle on the field they will have to keep him from getting hit 73 times (like Dallas QBs were) or sacked 31 times.
So when it was announced that the Cowboys took offensive tackle Tyron Smith (6’5”, 307 pounds) from USC, it was considered a sold, strong pick even though it was not a sexy one with ‘wow’ factor to it.
“I think our fans are sophisticated enough to know how important a talented, offensive lineman can be, and I think we got one here,” owner Jerry Jones said. “I’m not concerned at all about not making a big splash.
Smith has an impressive resume. He played in 34 games as a Trojan, starting in 24. The last two seasons he scored a knockdown on over 10 percent of the plays he was in on. While he was unable to do much at the combine due to complications with his knee, he shined at USC’s pro day with 31 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press, a 29-inch vertical jump, and 4.68 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle Smith is not lacking in confidence either.
“I think I have the potential to be a Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer,” Smith said.
With an aging, under-performing offensive line in place, the Cowboys knew that improving that unit had to be a priority. Doug Free is the only one under 30 at a position where the average career span is typically around four years.
Marc Columbo has battled injuries and isn’t getting any younger. With a $500,000 bonus on the way his time with the team is likely coming to an end.
There are concerns about his ability to step it up and master the complexity of NFL blitzes as well the weight he gained following his knee surgery. The Cowboys were not worried when they made the pick, and think they found the guy with the right athleticism, foot speed, and talent to make sure that Tony Romo does not end the season prematurely again.
Only time will tell.