With Connor McGovern getting a chance to play and develop this year, could Connor Williams be next year's swing tackle, backing up La'el Collins and Tyron Smith? When Tyler Biadasz returns in a couple of weeks I'd like to see him at center, moving Joe Looney to left guard so that Connor Williams can play some tackle and assess his viability there. Do you think the coaches will try something like that, or will they only move into assessment mode once officially eliminated from playoff contention? - JEFF JOYCE / SHAWNEE, KS
Rob: So you want to shuffle three more positions on the line before the season ends? Sorry, they've gone through enough changes up front in my opinion. I don't know Biadasz's exact timetable with the hamstring injury, but that doesn't affect my answer. I can't envision Willams playing tackle this year. He's the only lineman to start all 11 games at the same position this season. He represents the only true continuity on the line right now, so it's hard to see Mike McCarthy tweaking the lineup like that if he doesn't have to. They're in the business of trying to win games the rest of the way, playoff contention or not. If I had to guess on next year, Williams is probably the starting left guard once again. I think overall he's been solid despite all the changes around him. But moving forward, yes, he does have the versatility to help at tackle and possibly even center in a pinch.
Jonny: I'm on board with your idea, but right now the things they're "trying" are things they're forced to do, and I don't see that changing, even if they are eliminated from playoff contention. You can say it doesn't matter at that point, but the reality is that they will still be playing a quarterback who has already suffered one concussion. Protecting him does not stop being important, and all the O-Line decisions will work backwards from that goal.
I feel like each individual member of our offensive line has improved as more games have been played this year. Do you feel the same and could this lead to preferable back up situations in the future? - JEFF ANDERSON / KRUM, TX
Rob: I definitely think there are players to be encouraged about on the line, despite all the adversity they've faced. Biadasz has played well at center when healthy. McGovern showed enough improvement to earn a starting job from the coaching staff. If both can develop into starting-caliber players, it's a great problem to have if the Cowboys feel they have more than five guys capable of starting any given week.
Jonny: Yeah, that's one of the first silver lining arguments I've heard this season that I think I'm on board with. The O-Line certainly isn't a strength this year, but I watched that Eagles/Seahawks Monday Night Football game, and it felt like that Philadelphia offensive line had just given up. Guys like Connor Williams and Tyler Biadasz haven't looked like disasters. Similar to Trevon Diggs, they're just getting beat by veterans. The O-Line has just had horrible luck and the Cowboys' record reflects it.