Cowboys' Biadasz On 1st Start: 'Excited To Prove Ourselves'
Tyler Biadasz will start at center for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, making him the third 2020 draft pick on the team to earn a place in the starting lineup, joining wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and cornerback Trevon Diggs.
Biadasz is new to the starting lineup, but he’s logged plenty of time on the Cowboys’ offensive line the past two weeks. In Week 3, injuries up front earned him snaps at center, where he played 52 snaps, or 63 percent of the offensive snaps in the game.
Then, last Sunday against Cleveland, the injury to Joe Looney on the game’s first drive allowed Biadasz to slide into the center role and play 81 snaps. He only had one penalty on the day, a false start in the second quarter that ultimately put the Cowboys facing 3rd-and-15 at midfield.
Indeed, Biadasz says that from the beginning here, he's prepared as if he's a starter.
"I'm not getting introduced the last two games out of the tunnel, but my preparation is damn near like a starter,'' he said. "So, I've been ready for everything. So, with the experience last week and coming in to play, too, definitely have a good feel of experiencing a full game and everything like that. So, I feel definitely confident about that."
Looney is expected to miss two to three weeks with his MCL sprain, so Biadasz goes into Sunday’s game with the New York Giants knowing that it’s his job for the moment, but more likely it’s his job to lose now and in the future.
So what are the Cowboys getting in Biadasz? It’s time to take a look back at some tape. Namely, let’s take a look at a short clip of best plays from college.
The gist of the tape is that Biadasz is a powerful, instinctual blocker. You would expect that from a Wisconsin offensive lineman, as the Badgers seem to produce at least one quality offensive lineman every draft cycle. The first play, at the 20-second mark, shows his ability to initiate contact, get good leverage and take a defensive lineman out of the play, sealing him off from the ball carrier.
The play immediately after that, against Iowa, is an example of how can just shove people around, as he sends back a Hawkeyes defensive lineman five yards off the line of scrimmage.
At 6-foot-3, 316 pounds, he’s a powerful lineman. As a comparison, the Cowboys’ previous starting center, Travis Frederick, is listed at 6-foot-4, 320 pounds. He even did something in college that Frederick couldn’t — he won the Rimington Award, given to college football’s best center. As a three-year starter from 2017-19, there is a reason why his teammate, running back Jonathan Thomas, rushed for 6,174 yards, good for sixth-most in college football history.
Biadasz logged plenty of time in pass protection on Sunday against Cleveland — quarterback Dak Prescott threw the ball 58 times and was sacked three times. You watch his college tape and you see a solid, mobile pass protector who knows how to back pedal effectively and slide to either side to help his guards or to cut off inside pass rushing lanes.
And he does view himself as being in synch with Dak.
"I think it's really important,'' said Biadasz, who as the center makes calls for the line, "and me and Dak do a great job of being on the same page. We're just really confident with where we're at. We're on the same page."
Added All-Pro linemate Zack Martin: "He's very bright. I don’t think he had any mental mistakes at all.''
That, by the way, seems to have been the case starting from the first day of training camp, when Biadasz spoke (below) of his adjustment to the pros.
But perhaps his biggest value to the Cowboys right now might be to the running game. The Cowboys, in the past four games, have thrown the ball a league-leading 203 times while running it 97 times. Right now the Cowboys are throwing the ball 67.6 percent and if they intend to make a run back to respectability running back Ezekiel Elliott will have to get more involved. That means putting a higher premium on him as a runner, which marries well with Biadasz’s skill set as a run blocker.
At any rate, the Biadasz era begins on Sunday. How long it last depends entirely upon him. And with the news that Tyron Smith is out for the season, Biadasz needs to be a workable solution at center so the Cowboys have some flexibility with the rest of their line.
"It's very unfortunate with the injuries we have had, but also it's guys that are coming up and playing, (and) that's exciting because you have a lot of talent in the O-line room,'' Biadasz said. "We would love to have La'el Collins (also out for the year) and Tyron Smith and Joe Looney not hurt obviously. But we are just as much excited for the challenge that we get to prove ourselves in the O-line room as to how much depth we have.''