The talk of the Cowboys’ offensive line issues has extended from August into September. October is right around the corner, and it’s not clear how much better things will be by then.
Week Three was another bad performance by the front five. QB Tony Romo was battered around, including a few vicious hits, and RB DeMarco Murray really couldn’t get going. It wasn’t Murray's fault, either: Seven of his 18 carries went for losses, as he continually was hit in the backfield.
There isn’t a man who couldn’t improve in this group, and that includes OLT Tyron Smith, who is still adjusting to the left side. But the problems seem to focus on three spots: center, right guard and right tackle.
C Ryan Cook stepped up admirably in Week One for an injured Phil Costa, but communication problems have persisted. The blame has been placed on Cook’s lack of familiarity (he was added to the roster less than a week before the opener) but those issues must be worked out. The decision of whether to start Costa or Cook could happen during the team’s Week Five bye.
ORG Mackenzy Bernadeau has been put on notice by OL coach Bill Callahan. Bernadeau, who signed a four-year, $11 million deal in the offseason, hasn’t started very well. Journeyman Derrick Dockery is the backup and could get a chance if Bernadeau doesn’t improve.
ORT Doug Free has been bad since his breakout season of 2010. He struggled last season at left tackle and has gotten worse on the right side this season to date. Free has vowed to improve and acknowledges that he has not been off to a good start.
With so many personnel changes, injuries and a new blocking scheme, the OL chemistry was bound to take some time. But it has been very slow to develop so far.