The Cowboys are shaking things up in a desperate attempt to reignite their playoff hopes.
Dallas will start four-time All-Pro guard Zack Martin at right tackle this week against the Vikings, moving rookie Terrence Steele to the bench and guard Connor McGovern to the right side, as reported by NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
Martin, 30, was the Cowboys’ 2014 first-round pick from Notre Dame. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in all six seasons since entering the league and this will be his first NFL start at tackle.
McGovern, 27, started at right guard in Week 7 when Martin missed the game due to injury. Steele, 23, is an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech and had started all nine games this season at right tackle before his benching.
Dallas’ offensive line has been a pain point all year and ranks 25th in the NFL in sacks allowed per game (2.9). The team hopes that the personnel change can reignite this offense, which has gone off the rails since star quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5.
The offensive line is hardly their lone struggling component, however: The Cowboys have lost all four games since Prescott was injured and have had to rely on a rotating cast of veteran Andy Dalton, 2020 seventh-rounder Ben DiNucci and AAF star Garrett Gilbert; their once-great rushing game led by Ezekiel Elliott has been off this season, partly as a result of the offensive line’s struggles; their hapless defense is allowing an NFL-worst 32.2 points per game.
Dalton, 33, returns from two-game absence after suffering a concussion in Week 7 and contracting COVID-19. The longtime Bengals signal-caller has completed 52 of 85 (61.2 percent) of his passes for 452 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions through four appearances this year.
The Cowboys are fresh off their Week 10 bye and currently 2-7 in the midst of a four-game losing streak. They sit in last place in a wide-open NFC East led by the Eagles, who have three wins this season (3-5-1).
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