BREAKING: Cowboys Moving All-Pro Martin To Tackle

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - Not long ago, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy issued a firm finger-wag at observers who wondered if the offensive line wouldn't be better with All-Pro guard Zack Martin moving to tackle in relief of struggling undrafted rookie Terence Steele.

"I think,'' the coach said of the idea, "it's fantasy football nonsense ... (to think) you can interchange like that. ... to think you're just going to pop people in and out of positions.''

Today it's Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings - and welcome to "Fantasy Football Nonsense.'' Zack Martin, as we reported earlier this week when he was getting practice time at right tackle ... is switching positions today. He'll be the right tackle, and based on what we knew about regarding the team's workouts, Connor McGovern will be the right guard.

The Cowboys' O-line is dealing with season-ending injuries to Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, with one team source telling us its being held together with "duct tape and glue.'' McCarthy favors "continuity'' over what could be called "willy-nilly'' change.

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But Zack Martin is a stud. There is nothing "willy-nilly'' about anything he does. And McGovern? The previous administration thought highly of him. Now McCarthy's staff will get a look - while moving their pet, the struggling undrafted rookie Terence Steele, to the bench.

McCarthy has noted accurately that he's "talked repeatedly about ... the importance for these guys to play together day-in and day-out.''

But Martin this week did that, as McGovern did. It's disingenuous to suggest that it cannot be done.

Is it "fantasy football nonsense'' to play the best players? It's not "nonsense'' to play the best O-line - even if that means some position shuffling.

McCarthy doesn't think Cowboys O-linemen should be "interchangeable''? 

Umm ... Larry Allen, Erik Williams, Mark Tuinei, Nate Newton, John Gesek, Alan Veingrad, Ron Stone and Kevin Gogan would like a word.

All of those guys helped the Cowboys win Super Bowls. Tuinei switched from defensive tackle to offensive tackle. Gogan played four positions as a backup, becoming a Pro Bowl once he left Dallas. Gesek was a life-long guard who, the week before a Super Bowl, was pressed into duty at a position he didn't really play - center Mark Stepnoski was hurt - and "The Great Wall'' never missed a beat with a non-center at center.

You want a mantra? Forget "fantasy football nonsense'' and forget "continuity.'' Dallas needs mantras like "let the best players play'' and "let's use a lost season to see what we have.''

To McCarthy's credit, the Martin and McGovern moves are exactly that.

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