Editor's Note: With the understanding that position battles, roster spots and other football questions take a major backseat to the bigger issues that have been presented by COVID-19, our staff will attempt to tackle 20 of the bigger questions that this team and league faces as we get ready for the 2020 season. Today, we continue the series with a focus on the center position.
20Q – Who Takes Over For Travis Frederick?
It's not often a player suits up in the Pro Bowl, and then decides to retire. But that was the case for Travis Frederick, who decided to retire for health reasons during the offseason, leaving a big void at center. Not only was he an established vet, but one that played at the highest level throughout his career.
So replacing him might be the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball. Here's how the Cowboys' staff writers assess the situation.
David Helman: I will continue to be boring with this preseason predictions, but I'm not sure how I could vote for anyone besides Joe Looney. The guy has become a valuable piece of this roster over the last four years – so much so that he just signed his third contract with the Cowboys. He has played eight seasons in the league, appeared in 91 games and started 30. I doubt I need to remind you that he already replaced Travis Frederick once, when he started all 16 games in 2018 and helped the Cowboys reach the playoffs. This isn't a knock on Tyler Biadasz or Connor McGovern, it's just that neither of those guys has taken an NFL snap. McGovern's rookie season ended in OTAs last year, so he might as well be starting in the same spot as Biadasz. I have a lot of optimism in what those guys can become. But in an offseason that was essentially eliminated by a pandemic, I just don't think you're going to beat an experienced and capable vet like Looney.
Kyle Youmans: This is by far the most intriguing question heading into training camp. It's also one that may not be limited to just one answer. If you're looking specifically at the first month of the season, especially with limited workouts and practice, it would most likely be the veteran Joe Looney. His experience as an NFL center gives him a leg up early in the year. However, I completely expect fourth-rounder Tyler Biadasz to make some noise as a rookie. The coaching staff was extremely high on the Remington Award winner before they drafted him which could lead to him climbing the depth chart quickly.
Rob Phillips: Just like my answer about the starting cornerbacks, I've got to go with experience. In this case, it's Joe Looney. Connor McGovern is talented, but he has yet to dress for an NFL game. Same with fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz, who hasn't had an NFL practice yet. Connor Williams might be able to play center, but again, the reps haven't been possible. So, until further notice, Looney is the logical choice in a season that requires high-level performance with very little on-field preparation compared to a normal year.