FRISCO, Texas - With the offseason practices – both OTAs and minicamps – all done for the Cowboys this offseason, there is a lengthy break between now and the start of training camp, which begins July 24 in Oxnard.
But that doesn't mean there aren't questions on the table at each position. Each day, we will take a deep dive into each spot on the field, analyzing the top battles, the key players and some bold predictions. Today, we continue with the guard/center position.
What Needs To Go Right: Speaking of "right," let's go with the right guard and say that Zack Martin needs to continue to be the guy he's been for the first nine seasons. If he continues to play at an All-Pro level, it immediately helps the positions on both side of him.
Biggest Question: The biggest question is who plays left guard? At the end of mini-camp, Tyler Smith was moved inside with the thought that Tyron Smith will play left tackle and Terence Steele will eventually return on the right side. All of that will affect where Tyler Smith plays. The Cowboys would like for him to be their left tackle of the future, but for now, it could be guard.
Battle to Watch: If Tyler Smith eventually moves back to tackle, the battle to watch is left guard. But if not, let's look at backup center. Matt Farniok and Alec Lindstrom
Bold Prediction: Tyler Smith plays the entire season at left guard. The "bold" part of this is more about the tackle position being solidified enough with Tyron, Terence Steele and maybe Waletzko to keep Tyler Smith inside.
Biggest Challenge: The pieces are in place with Zack Martin, Tyler Biadasz and perhaps Tyler Smith. The challenge is going to be finding the continuity in the group. Tyler Smith needs to be able to practice there all of camp and if they can keep those three together for most of the practices and games, it should be a formidable group.
Key Stat: The Cowboys ranked first in the NFL last year in "red-zone" scoring, finding the end zone 71.4 percent of the time. They were third in "goal-to-go" situations, with a touchdown 84.5 percent of their trips. That usually begins and ends with the strength of the interior of the line.
Battle Lines Position Series: