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Mailbag: The Future For The Offensive Line?

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Due to injuries to Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, I know Terence Steele and Brandon Knight have been thrown into the fire this year. But if Collins and Smith return at full strength next season, how strong do you feel the offensive line will be next year, including backups?ADRIAN DURAN / KYLE, TX

David: That's one of the biggest silver linings I can find for this season. We obviously need to keep an eye on Tyron Smith and La'el Collins' respective recoveries. But if we assume that they can both come back healthy in 2021, you've got to feel good about the depth on this line. You might not prefer Brandon Knight and Terence Steele to be your starters, but they're getting a lot of valuable experience that could make them quality backups. We also learned that Tyler Biadasz and Connor McGovern can handle themselves just fine. Throw a potential draft pick into the mix, preferably a young offensive tackle, and you've got a lot to feel good about moving forward.

Jonny:I feel pretty good about it. The young guys filling in have definitely given up big sacks and been outplayed by better defensive linemen their fair share, but they don't give up. They aren't getting routinely dominated. Much like was the case with Trevon Diggs at cornerback, when you throw guys out there like that, they're going to get beat, but you expect it to accelerate their development. So, to your point, their depth should be pretty decent next year. The biggest hope is that Collins and Smith make full recoveries from their injuries.

If Dak Prescott hadn't been injured, are the Cowboys a 8-5 or 7-6 team right now looking to win the division and get into the playoffs? Looking back at the schedule and games since Dak got hurt, it appears he would've been the difference maker in several of them.JARROD GOLDBERG / WALLER, TX

David: It's a great "what if" question. We have to be fair and point out that the Cowboys only managed a 2-3 record while Dak was still playing, but it's so incredibly obvious what a difference he made to the explosiveness of the offense and the overall performance of the team. I think the Cowboys would have had a great chance to win both Washington games, the Philadelphia game and the Pittsburgh game with Dak at quarterback. Even if you give them a loss in one or two of those games, you're still likely talking about a 6-7 or 7-6 team that has everything to play for.

Jonny: Yeah, it seems pretty likely they would be tied for the lead or in the sole lead of the NFC East if Dak never got injured. He's just a terrific quarterback who would have given them a chance to win nearly every one of their losses since he went out. That said, I still wouldn't consider them to be much of a threat once in the playoffs. Their defense would not bode well against a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

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