Cowboys Camp: McCarthy Provides Glimpse Of New O-Line

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys are undergoing some subtle but important changes in their vaunted offensive line, and in Wednesday's "State of the Union'' address, new head coach Mike McCarthy provided a pair of key details.

"Connor Williams (is) at left guard,'' McCarthy said of the team's incumbent starter there. "(But) he's still coming off the injury, so, we'll work him in as camp goes forward. (And) Joe Looney has been taking his snaps (at center) with the first unit right now.''

Read between the lines and that means that in addition to stalwarts Tyron Smith (left tackle), Zack Martin (right guard) and La'el Collins (right tackle), there is competition at the other two spots.

Williams is "working in'' at left guard, but McCarthy pointed out that Connor McGovern is doing the same. And Looney - who QB Dak Prescott praised as someone who proved himself in 2018 when stepping in for the now-retired Pro Bowler Travis Frederick - is "with the first unit right now,'' meaning that might not be etched in stone.

Also in play? Beyond McGovern (who can also play center), and Williams (who could do the same), Adam Redmond is a roster carry-over (at both spots) and Tyler Biadasz is a McCarthy-favored draft pick from Wisconsin.

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And as far as position battles,'' McCarthy said of the competition in the next few weeks of "stay-at-home'' training camp at The Star in Frisco. "I'm looking forward to all of them. ...  I think we got depth throughout the team and there will be battles at every position."

Certainly. But O-line is of particular interest because it's a long-time strength of the team, with a major investment in building it - and a position group that benefits greatly from cohesion.

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"Definitely,'' McCarthy said of that last point. "Philosophically, I've preferred to have your first five practice as much as possible together. I think that's the first component to finding rhythm and consistency in your offensive unit as far as pertaining to a fast start to the season. So, yes, definitely you'd like to get that locked down.''

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