Dallas Cowboys

Penalties, rookies and injuries in Week 1 make it clear: Cowboys’ O-line is overrated

Dak Prescott says offense can be fixed

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he liked the fight of his offense and feels good about fixing the issues that hurt them in the season opener.
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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he liked the fight of his offense and feels good about fixing the issues that hurt them in the season opener.

The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line is supposed to be near the top of the league but after its Week 1 performance there’s no way that currently holds true.

Sure, center Travis Frederick is out (battling Guillain-Barré syndrome) and guard Marcus Martin is out with a toe injury but two players missing shouldn’t make the whole operation fall like a house of cards.

“For us, as a group, we have things to clean up and things to learn from the game,” left tackle Tyron Smith said. “We’ll move on for this week. We can’t linger too much on this last game and get things figured out for this week.”

Dallas signed guard Xavier Su’a-Filo on Tuesday and waived guard Kadeem Edwards.

The Cowboys worked out Su’a-Filo last week. He played his first four seasons with the Houston Texans after being drafted in the second round of out of UCLA. He was one of the Tennessee Titans’ final roster cuts.

Before the opener, the Cowboys acquired Parker Ehinger in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, but a knee injury sustained last week will require surgery. Center Adam Redmond was also acquired off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The offensive line allowed six sacks in the 16-8 loss to the Panthers and were called for four of the team’s 10 penalties. Smith was twice flagged for holding. Penalties were a big reason for the anemic first half offense, which was held scoreless on 60 total yards.

Smith said the offensive line knows it underperformed.

“We’re hard on ourselves and we want to be a lot better than that,” he said. “Communication is always a big factor for us. We have to get it cleaned up and make sure we’re on the same page and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Guard Connor Williams allowed two of the sacks in his first NFL start. Smith said the rookie is fine.

“He’s doing well. He’s picking up on everything, doing everything we ask him to do,” Smith said. “There are little things here and there we have to clean up as a group. If one guy is not doing well then we’re all not doing well. He’s a smart kid who figures it out.”

One of the flags on Smith was a tad dubious. Smith had eight penalties in 2017 and six in 2016. He has been flagged about eight times a season since his rookie year in 2011.

“I did as much as I could do, it’s a call that was called. Nothing I could do about it but continue playing,” Smith said.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Joe Looney performed well filling in for Frederick at center.

“We feel like we have the guys who are capable of playing well up front. It looked like [Looney] did a pretty good job in the game. He wasn’t perfect but he played a pretty sound game for us,” Garrett said.

“It was a challenging task for [Williams] Week 1 to go against that defensive front. There are some areas in pass protection that wasn’t good enough and we’ll continue to work with him on that.”

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