Most suspected that the Cowboys offensive line would be fine after Ronald Leary bolted for free agency this summer. Dallas could plug in a talented youngster in the open spot, flanked by three Pro Bowl linemen in Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick.
Unfortunately, the left guard position has emerged as a concerning issue as Dallas nears Week one. Assumed started Chaz Green, who has shown flashes of mega potential in years past, can't seem to stay on the field. There's always former seventh overall draft pick Jonathan Cooper competing, but he hasn't truly beaten out Green.
The Dallas Morning News recently asked Kristi Scales, the sideline reporter for the Dallas Cowboys radio network, about this situation.
How concerned should Cowboys fans be about the left side of the line with Tyron's back issues and the LG being an unknown?
Scales: One reason the position of starting left guard remains a question mark is that Chaz Green can't seem to make it through a week of practice without getting dinged-up. He missed the first couple of preseason games with a shoulder strain, then left practice early on Tuesday of this week with cramps and needing an IV. Green had been working with the first-teamers at LG this week; he played last Saturday against the Colts at left tackle (behind Tyron Smith), then got game reps at guard."
If Green is okay for the remainder of the week, this could be his chance to work first-team left guard in preseason action against the Raiders. I think the coaches pretty much know by now what they have in Jonathan Cooper. It's a matter of giving Green a longer look. They know he can be a highly capable swing tackle, but is he a better option at starting LG than Cooper? And if Green ends up starting at guard, who will be the swing tackle?
The bigger question with Green is whether or not you can count on him to be available week-to-week during the regular season. He has not been reliable in his first two seasons due to injury. That's unfortunate because he's talented and very capable when available. But when you have only 7 offensive linemen available among your 46-man actives on game day, you've got to be able to count on them.
What do you think Dallas is going to do at LG? Chaz Green just can't stay healthy. Don't need another Mo Claiborne situation on our hands.
Scales: In two seasons, Green has played in 4 of 32 games. He started his rookie season on Physically Unable to Perform (PUP list) because of a hip injury. In his second season, he played only 4 games (2 starts in Weeks 3 & 4) before missing 12 games with foot/back injuries and landing on Injured Reserve. Coaches have not been able to count on him because of his injury history. He also missed an entire season in college with a shoulder injury.
His shoulder strain early in camp cost him valuable reps in practice and preseason games at left guard where he's competing with Jonathan Cooper to be the starter.