Very revealing article courtesy of the Dallas Morning News (and disappointing for Tyron Smith regardless of switching sides in his second year):
-When owner Jerry Jones talked earlier in the week about the Cowboys’ offensive line, he mentioned only one player by name.
-That was backup offensive guard Derrick Dockery, who has played only four snaps.
Considering how the offensive line has struggled in the first four games, perhaps Jones didn’t want to recognize anyone for his play or maybe bringing up Dockery should serve as a warning shot for the five starters: Play better or play less.
-A Cowboys offensive line that sputtered throughout 2011 hasn’t shown any progress. The front five has especially been vulnerable on the right side, where guard Mackenzy Bernadeau and tackle Doug Free haven’t provided much push for the Cowboys’ struggling running game.
-Fourteen Cowboys’ rushing plays have yielded negative yardage, with half of them coming on runs to the right side.
-“I’d just like to see us be able to get in there and have movement when we want it in the offensive line rather than zero-yard plays or minus-yard plays,” Jones said. “I’d like to see us have our offensive line be more consistent.”
-According to Pro Football Focus, center Ryan Cook and left guard Nate Livings are the only two Cowboys offensive linemen who have played above average.
-Cook grades out 13th among 35 centers who have played at least 25 percent of their teams’ snaps, according to the website, and Livings grades out 24th among 71 offensive guards. Left tackle Tyron Smith grades out 53rd among 69 offensive tackles.
-The biggest problem has been the play of Free and Bernadeau. Free grades out 64th among 69 offensive tackles who have played at least 25 percent of their teams’ snaps, and Bernadeau grades out 68th of 71 offensive guards.
-“I got some improvements to make,” Bernadeau said. “I just have to be more consistent.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and first-year offensive line coach Bill Callahan said Thursday that the offensive line mistakes have been a combination of technique and assignment issues, communication breakdowns and getting beat physically up front.
The offensive line didn’t practice together for the first time until the week of the season opener because of several injuries. The Cowboys expect starting center Phil Costa to play Sunday at Baltimore after battling a back injury all season. But he was part of the problem last season as the interior of the offensive line allowed pass-rushers to charge the middle and swarm quarterback Tony Romo.
-The Cowboys signed Livings and Bernadeau in the off-season to get bigger to better protect Romo and to also open holes in the running game for DeMarco Murray.
But the push up front hasn’t been there.