FRISCO - A year ago at this time, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy made fun of media members who suggested that a solution for the wounded offensive line would be to use a "Best 5'' approach that would kick All-Pro right guard out to tackle.
Fantasy Football nonsense,'' McCarthy scoffed.
Way too many weeks later, McCarthy and the coaching staff gave in, shifting Martin outside for the Nov. 22 game at Minnesota.
Three months. It took the Cowboys three months to figure it out.
Now, unfortunately, comes along a similar dilemma. La'el Collins, who missed all of last year with a hip injury - thus necessitating the use of bad backups and eventually, the Martin "fantasy'' - is unavailable again, this time due to a five-game suspension that Collins' circle considers unfair.
Maybe so. But the coaching staff cannot argue. It must react.
"Obviously, playing on Thursday night gives us some time," McCarthy said Friday. "The players are off, the mandatory three days off. So we'll bring the players in on Monday, we'll spend the morning working on Tampa and then we'll spend the afternoon working on the Chargers."
And then? How is the offensive line going to be assembled?
We will disagree with the assertion that Dallas "has lots of time'' to figure this out, especially given that last year, in a remarkably similar situation, it took the organization three months to see the light.
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The question is a simple one: Are the Cowboys - not just against Chargers Pro Bowl pass-rusher Joey Bosa but more, for the next five weeks - better able to win with an offensive line that looks, left to right, like this:
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Tyron Smith. Connor Williams. Tyler Biadasz. Zack Martin. Ty Nsekhe.
Or like this:
Tyron. Williams. Biadasz. McGovern. Martin.
That's it. That's all.
Is McGovern a better guard than Nsekhe is a tackle?
"Ty and Terence (Steele, another tackle) have both worked left and right tackle, so I feel very comfortable playing with those guys," said McCarthy, who may not completely grasp the meaning of the word "comfortable.''
"Best 5'' has a successful tradition in Dallas; the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the '90's using it. That doesn't make this bunch "The Wall 2.0.'' Nor does it mean that is makes everybody happy. (Martin is on record as preferring to stay put at his future-Hall-of-Fame spot.) But it does mean that McCarthy was wrong in dismissing the idea in the fall of 2020 and it does mean he'll be wrong if he dismisses it again.
"We're eyes wide-open,'' McCarthy said. "You have to be, because things happen. We want to be able to have as many combinations as possible."
"Eyes wide-open'' vs. "Fantasy Football nonsense''?
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