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By Jonathan Bales

Why Cowboys’ Montrae Holland More Valuable Than You Think

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Jonathan Bales

Believe it or not, the Dallas Cowboys are going to see a dramatic downgrade at guard with the loss of Montrae Holland to a torn biceps.  I have been critical of Holland in the past, providing him with a C+ grade in my 2010 Offensive Line Grades.  Holland is not an incredible athlete and can appear slow-footed at times, often struggling with quick defensive tackles.  Nonetheless, he outplayed every Cowboys offensive linemen not named Tyron Smith in 2011.  Here is why. . .

Holland participated in 641 snaps this season, 361 of which were in pass protection.  He yielded eight pressures, one hit and two sacks in those snaps, good for a pressure rate of 2.21%.  While not at an elite level, that rate is still quite good.  As a comparison, right guard Kyle Kosier has a pressure rate of 2.85% this season.  That falls right in line with his pressure rate of 2.82% from 2010, providing a statistically significant sample size.  You can see the overall 2010 numbers below.

Many of you know I often praise Kosier’s pass protection ability, and Holland has been superior to the veteran in 2011.  To get a broader sense of Holland’s 2011 success, I took a look at the numbers of some of the top-graded guards (and middle tier guards) on Pro Football Focus.

You can see Holland’s pressure rate, although not elite, was well above-average.  The #32 and #33 ranked guards at PFF surrendered pressure rates up to 46% higher than Holland’s.  On top of that, I would grade Holland as the Cowboys’ second-best run blocker all season if I was turning in my grades today.  I would provide him with a ‘B’ in both run blocking and pass protection, and that run blocking grade will undoubtedly be higher than all non-rookie offensive linemen in Big D.

Whether Derrick Dockery or Kevin Kowalski replaces Holland, the Cowboys will see a decline in production.  Holland was having a really strong 2011 campaign. . .and one which was being overlooked even by me.

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3 Responses to Why Cowboys’ Montrae Holland More Valuable Than You Think

  1. Mont Seventeen says:

    True Holland came back a different player… I think that speaks volumes of the type of guys Jerry allows around his locker-room. Back in the day when Jimmy was running things he traded a guy named the “Hitting machine” at the time I didn’t understand why? Now… Looking at how the Vets on this team poison the young guys with the “pick up the check on tuesday” attitude, I can see why Montrae played his butt off! He missed those paychecks… When no one else picks you up after you are released and the team that releases you can’t draft your replacement, I didn’t expect anything less from Montrae. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like Jerry, I’m not condoning Jerry to sign montrae to a deal. Just give him enough to know that he still wants to play.

  2. Vince_Grey says:

    Holland lost weight and I agree played well all things considered. I would even say he played great if weighted against the fact he was signed off the street.

    That said, he’s in his 30′s now and with his past record of underachievement I absolutely would not sign the guy to any sort of guaranteed contract. Performance bonuses, yes, but guarantees and/or signing bonuses, no. If some other team is willing to do so, then so be it, but a guaranteed contact to Holland is most likely certain to guarantee he’s a fat, lazy bust next season.

  3. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys News and Notes, 6/7/12: DeMarco, Lissemore, and Jenkins | The DC Times

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