Cowboys should be concerned about offensive line

The Dallas Cowboys have everything in place this season, returning 20 of 22 starters. There’s talent everywhere. But everything will crumble for the Cowboys if they can’t protect QB Tony Romo and open holes for the running game.

Everything starts with the offensive line.

The Cowboys have already lost starting right tackle Marc Colombo and left guard Kyle Kosier, who is the nucleus of the line and makes all the calls up front. They’re trying to replace Flozell Adams with Doug Free at left tackle, and right guard Leonard Davis is now in his 10th season.

The Cowboys didn’t have depth to begin with, and now that depth is playing. There really isn’t a backup center, although they are trying to develop undrafted rookie free agent Phil Costa. Robert Brewster is next line to start at right tackle, and he’s not ready to play. Free is already starting for the first time this season. Free agent pickup Alex Barron hasn’t practiced much, and when he has, hasn’t made an impact.

The offensive line is all of a sudden the Cowboys’ biggest weakness. Romo and the magical offense could crumble if they don’t protect him. We saw it in the divisional championship game last season against the Vikings.

All of the players will be back, of course, but are they going to be ready to play after no preseason? How much the Cowboys decide to play Romo this weekend against the Chargers will show their level of concern.

Believe me when I say the concern light is on right now in Dallas, and it’s agent orange.

I spent the last two days watching the Cowboys practice, and here are a few other thoughts:

  • If OLB Anthony Spencer isn’t in the Pro Bowl this season, it will probably be an injustice. The Cowboys flip him in the formation with DeMarcus Ware and use him on stunts and twists. Spencer is the former first-round pick who is ready to flourish.
  • Rookie second-round pick Sean Lee is going to end up beating out Keith Brooking or Bradie James. He’s going to be one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL. His instincts and the way he prepares shows he really gets it, and Wade Phillips loves him.
  • Rookie free agent Bryan McCann has really good ball skills and could emerge as the fourth cornerback.
  • One player owner/GM Jerry Jones really likes is another undrafted rookie free agent, safety Barry Church. He’s a big player who can run, and the Cowboys are high on him.

— Brian Baldinger

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