Cowboys To Start Zack Martin At RT

The Cowboys’ offensive line has been hit hard by injury this year, which is one of the many reasons why the team has limped to a 2-7 start. Fans and pundits alike have called for Dallas to kick stud right guard Zack Martin out to right tackle to help stabilize the unit, and head coach Mike McCarthy has finally seen the light.

As Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network was first to report, Martin will start at RT today for the Cowboys’ matchup with the Vikings (Twitter link). That will force rookie Terence Steele, who has started all nine games for the club this year, to the bench. Though it might be expected for a first-year UDFA, Steele has appeared to be in over his head, and Pro Football Focus ranks him as the worst offensive tackle out of 78 qualified players this season.

So, as Jon Machota of The Athletic tweets, the team will line up Cameron Erving at LT, Connor Williams at LG, Joe Looney at C, and Connor McGovern at RG. This will mark McGovern’s second start of his career.

Despite the Cowboys’ poor record, the club still has a shot to win the incredible-as-it-is-inept NFC East. Backup QB Andy Dalton, who has dealt with a concussion and COVID-19 in the past few weeks, will return to the field this afternoon in a must-win contest, and McCarthy — three weeks after dismissing a Martin move to RT as “fantasy football nonsense” (Twitter link via Machota) — will shake up Dalton’s protection.

As Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News observes, this will be the first time since December 2013 — Martin’s senior season at Notre Dame — that Martin will get a start at tackle (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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5 comments on “Cowboys To Start Zack Martin At RT

  1. markdavisbarber

    Any team is in trouble when they start to listen to “Fans and pundits alike” …. Maybe Joe Philbin should have been listening all those years in Green Bay and Miami.

  2. jay13

    It makes sense. Got to protect Andy Dalton for him to be productive at all.

  3. thareignman

    Can’t wait to test the middle of that line with Kendricks, Wilson, and Smith up the middle.

  4. dmarcus15

    Got to protect the QB from the edge rush. We will see what this does for the run I imagine a lot of pollard around the edge too.

  5. Ak185

    Can’t blame fans for calling for this, but I definitely can’t blame McCarthy for saying what he did. They need help, and it seems like their best lineman (and best player) would do that, but Martin is not a right tackle. He’s an interior lineman. There’s no telling how good or bad he’ll be-and more importantly, how his replacement will do inside. Does 50% (theoretically) of Martin at RT give your line more than 100% at RG under the circumstances? That’s the real question-not if 50% of Martin is better than 100% of Steele. If you move Martin outside, out of position, and the defense just blitzes his replacement up the middle over a gap or runs a stunt or whatever to target the interior, did you gain anything for losing your elite guard play? That’s what McCarthy is saying.

    Would I do it (as if I know anything, right)? I mean, that would very heavily depend on how my o-line room looked. Martin is a generational athlete, and that’s the draw here, but it is still a radical position change midseason where I’m trading elite level play at one position for potentially mediocre play at another. Also, I’m running a run based offense. I guess for me I’d have to see how they looked in practice. Maybe that’s what McCarthy did-and maybe that’s why he changed his mind.

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