Cowboys Positional Grades: Offensive Line | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Cowboys Positional Grades: Offensive Line

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Joseph Randle #21 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammate Tyron Smith #77 of the Dallas Cowboys after scoring a touchdown during the NFL week 10 match between the Jackson Jaguars and the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley Stadium on November 9, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

    With the 2014 season in the rear-view, let's look back at how the Cowboys did on a position-by-position basis. We'll look at starters and contributors, not every last man on the roster.

    The Cowboys established a new offensive identity in 2014 thanks to the pounding, physical rushing attack led by DeMarco Murray. Today, we'll look at the unsung heroes of that attack in the big boys up front on the Cowboys' elite offensive line.

    Grade: A+

    2014 stats: Cowboys backs rushed for 2,287 yards, with an NFL-leading 1,845 of those coming from Murray in a franchise single-season record. Tony Romo was protected well for the most part and missed just one game, which seemed like a pipe dream in August.

    For the third straight year, the Cowboys went with the non-sexy draft strategy of taking an offensive lineman in the first round, and for the third straight year, it worked wonders in the form of Notre Dame guard Zack Martin, who earned All-Pro honors as a rookie and was seemingly the missing piece from a good line turning into a great one.

    Of course, those other former first-round picks — Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick — also had another year of experience under their belts, and Doug Free had a huge turnaround season after basically being left for dead by Cowboys fans last year.

    It sounds cliche — and it is — but without this unit, there would be no mention of DeMarco Murray or Tony Romo as MVP candidates.