IRVING, Texas It would be hard - think impossible - not to believe the best part of the Dallas Cowboys will be as good as if not better than last season. An offensive line that features three No. 1 draft picks and three 2014 Pro Bowlers should remain the anchor, foundation and is the single biggest reason why this team is projected to return to the playoffs.
Add the unique addition of rookie La’el Collins from LSU, who was projected to be a high first round pick, and this line should be better than last season. This fun list from NFL.com ranks the Cowboys offensive line as the “scariest group” by position in the NFL.
All they have to do is meet the expectations that they themselves created. There is the small, tiny matter of actually doing it.
“The key is not taking it in stride,” Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick told me last week. “There is no reason we deserve to be called (the best offensive line in the history of ever). Anybody that is making that assumption should study more about who the greatest offensive line is and what that’s like. We’re not there yet. We’re not even close.”
Point taken. It would be hard to argue this group is not the best current offensive line in the NFL. The entire line, with the exception of veteran starting right tackle Doug Free, is under 30.
Now the trick is not believing they are better than any line ever assembled, and trying to prove it again and again and again. Complacency, and a lot of money, can be rather deadly.
“We have a lot of good players in our group. We are not going to get anywhere if we don’t continue to work,” Frederick said.
Frederick would not say specifically how well the Cowboys’ line graded out after the season was over, but it’s a safe bet it was high. The team ranked second in the NFL in rushing, and routinely closed out games in the fourth quarter.
What Frederick did say was that the tape showed enough to know they are not perfect.
“We are never going to be as good as we want to be,” he said. “We are a long ways from that. I believe that everyone’s grades at the end of the year speak to that.”
This means there is room for improvement, and a group that was so good in 2014 can be better in 2015.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760