Dallas Cowboys O-line: What’s the winning combination?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys gambled big when they rolled into the 2022 season with a rookie at LT, a significant liability at RT, a question mark at center, and depth guy at LG. So it’s not surprising that offensive line struggled immensely, leading to a significant injury to their QB, and digging a hole for the defending NFC East champs to climb out of.

With questions at four of the five O-line spots, it’s almost to be expected the Cowboys batted .500 in their offensive line gambles. Both Tylers looked promising (although it was Tyler Smith who botched the play that injured Dak Prescott) while the other two spots looked atrocious.

Terence Steele and Matt Farniok performed at a level which ranks somewhere between hot trash and a full on dumpster fire. Both looked ill-suited for the NFL, let alone a starting spot, and both look to be replaceable just one week into the 2022 campaign.

But how?

The Dallas Cowboys need to devote the next few weeks to figuring out the right combination and placement of players on their O-line

Jason Peters is working himself into game shape but with Tyler Smith looking generally pretty decent, should the Cowboys really move their rookie? We’re not sure if Peters has the ability to flip sides, but it sure would benefit the team if he could replace Steele at RT.

If not, Peters will have to take over that LT spot, displacing the rookie and giving the Dallas Cowboys another conundrum to deal with. Can Tyler Smith play RT? That would be a second best possibility but probably a longshot given his inexperience on the right side.

Tyler Smith is far more valuable long-term as an OT than as an OG.

Chances are if Peters takes LT, Smith moves inside to LG. Such a move would take care of the Farniok problem but it would also delay Smith’s development as an OT. And Smith is far more valuable long-term as an OT than as an OG.

The underlying goal has to be finding the right combination for the future. At the very least the Dallas Cowboys have to find answers to their questions. That will allow them to build up for a better tomorrow.

Steele clearly isn’t a starting RT, so who is? Is there anyone on the roster or will that be an offseason task? Does Tyler Smith look like a future top-caliber LT? We have to know because if he isn’t, the Cowboys will likely have to use their top pick in the 2023 draft to get one.

Is Tyler Biadasz good enough to re-sign for a couple more years? If the LT and RT spots are unresolved, there’s isn’t really a choice.

At the end of the day it’s not just about finding the winning combination for 2022, it’s also about finding the winning combination down the road (when the Dallas Cowboys are actually competitive).

Something I mentioned back before training camp even started was that 2022 is a season of experiments. The Cowboys weren’t making an honest effort to win this year and seemed to be focusing on 2023 all along. But it was important they find answers this year and that fact has remained true now that the season is underway.

What’s the best combination of players on the O-line? We don’t know but with Dak out, now is a great time to tinker around and find out