The Dallas Cowboys have experienced some major reshuffling along the offensive line this season, and they are reportedly making another big change in Week 11. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Cowboys will be starting All-Pro offensive guard Zack Martin at right tackle when Dallas faces off against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, and the news was confirmed by CBS Sports' Patrik Walker. It will be Martin's first-ever NFL start at tackle.
Martin will replace rookie offensive tackle Terence Steele, who has started all nine games at right tackle, and second-year guard Connor McGovern should start at Martin's original spot on the right side. This is an interesting development since the Cowboys said earlier this month that they would not be moving Martin to tackle. Team exec Stephen Jones felt like moving Martin for the remainder of the season would disrupt "continuity" on the offensive line, despite the fact that this unit hasn't had continuity all season. Head coach Mike McCarthy also backed Jones' opinion in a passionate manner at the time.
"I think it's fantasy football nonsense, unless you have 10 veteran offensive linemen on your football team that you can interchange like that," McCarthy said. "When you're dealing with young players, different combinations, you don't have an offseason, you don't have OTAs, you don't have a real training camp -- to think you're just going to pop people in and out of positions -- I definitely don't think that's the right way to go. I've talked repeatedly about our offensive line, the importance for these guys to play together day-in and day-out. You're always working different combinations.
"There are combinations that we work every week that Zack could potentially go outside. But you only have so many reps that you're able to accomplish in a day. And let's face it, the offensive lines that play the best line up and play the same position next to each other over and over and over again. So I think that's the most important variable in having a successful offensive line."
Walker confirmed this change of heart on Sunday morning.
This might finally happen today with Zack Martin and Connor McGovern, I’m told, and it’s long past due but let’s see if the #Cowboys actually deploy it or if it’s gamesmanship.— Patrik [No C] Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) November 22, 2020
FYI: At 2-7, you can’t be a gamesman.
Excerpt is from my article below. https://t.co/IRdSlmJzVg pic.twitter.com/V1qlgnHZmf
This change along the offensive line comes as quarterback Andy Dalton makes his return to the starting lineup after suffering a nasty concussion in Week 7 against the Washington Football Team. The Cowboys are currently in last place in the lowly NFC East with a 2-7 record, but with how the division has struggled as a whole this season, they are certainly not out of the playoff race just yet. Protecting Dalton will be extremely important if they want to play postseason football this year, and the Cowboys now believe that placing one of their best offensive lineman at right tackle will help solve some problems.