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T.J. Bass, Brock Hoffman give Cowboys crucial interior depth for playoff run

Over the 2023 offseason, the Cowboys did a spectacular job of filling in holes and building up depth across the roster. They retained their top free agents, signed a few veterans, and conducted a needs-based draft. The result was a championship-level roster capable of withstanding the unavoidable injury here or there. Except for one position group it seemed.

After a full offseason, the Cowboys offensive line was still disturbingly fragile. Dallas failed to select an offensive lineman over the first two days of the draft and did little to instill confidence they could survive a loss to anyone in their starting five.

Throughout the 2023 season their depth would be tested. Injuries at LT, RG and RG gave opportunities to Chuma Edoga, T.J. Bass and Brock Hoffman. While none of them where spectacular in their fill-ins, Bass and Hoffman showed they might have some promise in the NFL. Bass played 344 snaps throughout the season while Hoffman logged 222. The two undrafted interior linemen appeared to develop as the season progressed and finished in Week 18 with their best performances to-date.

It took until the final regular season game of the year, but the Cowboys may have finally discovered they have decent depth on the offensive line after all.

In all fairness, the tackle positions still hold a significant amount of concern. If Smith misses time at LT, Edoga represents an enormous step down in the starting lineup. And since Terence Steele is still struggling mightily in pass protection, there often aren’t enough extra resources available to keep pass rushers at bay.

But the viability of Bass and Hoffman in the interior is comforting regardless. They are on the up-swing in their development and have enough snaps under their belts to seemingly hit the ground running should something happen this postseason.

A final piece of credit is also due to the Cowboys coaching staff and Dak Prescott’s internal clock. With replacements on the field, the Cowboys haven’t just charged on with that “next man up” attitude of old. They’ve often adjusted for the circumstance.

When both starting guards were out last week, the Cowboys sped up the offense and kept responsibilities reasonable. Throughout the season, Prescott has averaged 2.69 seconds to throw. With Bass and Hoffman starting, they dropped that number to 2.4 seconds. Mike McCarthy and Prescott likely understood the limitations and adjusted. It’s a smart move not all teams are willing to do.

It’s been a group effort, and it took until the last week of the season to truly feel it, but the Cowboys have finally found depth on their offensive line.

Dallas expects to have both starting guards back against Green Bay in Round 1 of the playoffs, but it’s good to know the Cowboys could survive a hit to their interior ranks and still survive.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire