How Bad Is the Cowboys’ Interior Line?
The body of this article could be one word: awful. If you saw the preseason opener, there’s no explanation needed. They just stink right now. Over at NBC, I took a look at some of the stats over the years and argued why the interior line probably won’t improve much in 2012.
Since 2008, teams that have possessed a top 20 guard or center, as graded by PFF, have totaled 9.18 wins per season. Those with a bottom 20 interior lineman have averaged only 7.23—nearly two fewer wins per season. With a sample size of over 2,500 games, that’s a pretty substantial difference. The disparity in team wins is similar for offenses that finished in the top 10 in short-yardage rushing efficiency versus those in the bottom 10.
Spoiler alert: The Cowboys won’t have a top 10 center or guard this year. Now that isn’t to say that the weakness can’t be overcome. The most important aspect of interior line play, in my view, is short-yardage rushing. If the Cowboys can somehow convert on those crucial 3rd and 1 and 2 plays, they can extend drives to do what they do best: throw the football.