New right guard Leonard Davis doesn't have to move much to protect his quarterback. His 366-pound body already makes it tough for defenders to get around. At 6-6, Davis is one of the NFL's biggest offensive linemen. He's also one of the richest, getting a seven-year, $49.5 million contract that included a Cowboys-record $16 million signing bonus back in March.
After yielding just three sacks in a four-game span in the month of November, the offensive line gave up 12 sacks in the final four games of December. After Tony Romo was sacked twice in an embarrassing loss to the Saints, the Cowboys allowed three sacks each against Atlanta and Philadelphia, and then four in the season finale to the Lions. The Cowboys allowed 37 sacks last season.
Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams has been selected to three Pro Bowls in the last four years, including last year as an injury replacement. Adams joins Rayfield Wright (six selections), Pat Donovan (four) and Erik Williams (four) as the only tackles in club history to make three or more Pro Bowl appearances.
Don't Be Surprised If:
The backup center position gets some strong competition throughout training camp. The Cowboys would like someone such as Cory Procter or Doug Free to be able to play center, considering the versatility it gives the team on game day. However, both players are inexperienced at the position.
That could open the door for Trey Darilek, a three-year veteran center and San Antonio native who would love nothing more than to make some noise when he returns home for training camp. And then there is Matt Tarullo, who was claimed off waivers (Colts) by the Cowboys on June 22. Tarullo spent two years on the Cowboys' practice squad before joining Indianapolis last season.
Kyle Kosier (LG) - Not a flashy player, but still solid. Might have to battle to keep his job.
Andre Gurode (C) - Coming off best season of his career, Pro Bowler needs to show he's worth his new contract.
Leonard Davis (RG) - Big body, bigger contract warrants big expectations. Probably better fit at guard.
Marc Colombo (RT) - Signed a two-year deal to prove last year wasn't a fluke.
Cory Procter (G/C) - Will help his cause if he is capable of playing center. Could back up at two spots.
James Marten (T) - Good situation for a third-round pick: Not asked to start right away.
Doug Free (T/C) - Like Marten, he has time to develop. Might get shot at center position.
Matt Tarullo (C/G) - Having spent two years on the Cowboys' practice squad and last year with the Colts, maybe the time is finally right.
Joe Berger (G) - Has a little experience, but needs to catch a few early breaks in camp.
Jim Molinaro (T) - Has good size (6-6, 310), but it will be hard to unseat the draft picks for a backup job.
Steve Franklin (G) - Signed last month to add some depth inside. Spent last year's camp with Chiefs.
Steve Rissler (G) - Three-year starter for national-champion Florida. Practice squad could be best bet.