Noth­ing gets eas­ier for Cow­boys’ of­fen­sive line

Star-Telegram - - Sports - BY STE­FAN STEVEN­SON ssteven­son@star-tele­gram.com

Red­mond, who was a cen­ter at Har­vard, played in four games a year ago for the Colts. He’s played a re­serve role in the past three games.

Su’a-Filo has played 56 games (41 starts) for the Tex­ans af­ter be­ing drafted in the sec­ond round in 2014.

“You’ve got to take ad­van­tage when you get op­por­tu­ni­ties in this league when you get them,” Su’a-Filo said. “Adam and I have been try­ing our best do ex­actly what the coaches are ask­ing so we’re pre­pared for sit­u­a­tions like this.”

The Cow­boys’ of­fen­sive line has been a con­cern through the first eight games. All-Pro cen­ter Travis Fred­er­ick has been out while he re­cov­ers from Guil­lain-Barré syn­drome, an au­toim­mune dis­or­der. Left tackle Ty­ron Smith hasn’t been as dom­i­nant as in the past. O-line coach Paul Alexan­der was fired and re­placed by as­sis­tant Marc Colombo dur­ing the bye week. Al­lPro right guard Zack Mar­tin and right tackle La’el Collins both have bat­tled nag­ging in­juries at dif­fer­ent times this sea­son.

“Hope­fully you’ve built your team in a way where you can put some­body in and you can go play,” Gar­rett said. “We’re for­tu­nate to have a guy like Joe

Looney, a vet­eran player who has some ex­pe­ri­ence, to go in and play in Travis’ ab­sence. You know, Travis has been a Pro Bowl player and it’s hard to re­place a guy like that, but ex­cited to have Joe and what he’s done up to this point.”

Gar­rett said Wil­liams has pro­gressed through eight games, but the rookie has strug­gled at times. He’s cur­rently get­ting an aver­age rat­ing from Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

“I think he’s tak­ing it well. A lot of guys have talked to him,” Looney said of Wil­liams’ deal­ing with the in­jury. “In­juries hap­pen in this league. Luck­ily its’ noth­ing too crazy and he’ll be back soon.”

The Cow­boys could move Looney to guard where he has more ex­pe­ri­ence and use Red­mond at cen­ter but Gar­rett said he’d pre­fer to keep Looney at cen­ter and plug in a re­place­ment for Wil­liams, at least for Sun­day’s game against the Ea­gles. Fred­er­ick isn’t el­i­gi­ble to play un­til the sec­ond week in De­cem­ber. His progress is still un­known.

“It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter to me. If I need to move, I’ll move. Wher­ever coach needs to me play,” Looney said. “Ev­ery game I’m learn­ing some­thing. Just to be play­ing this amount and hav­ing Travis next to me on the side­line and in the film room is help­ing me out. I’m learn­ing more foot­ball than I ever have.”

Both Red­mond and Su’a-Filo have lauded the help from their team­mates, es­pe­cially Mar­tin.

“I’m ap­proach­ing it sim­i­lar to the way I’ve been ap­proach­ing the other weeks, tak­ing ad­van­tage of ev­ery rep,” Red­mond said. “I’m ob­vi­ously get­ting a few more now. I’ve been one snap from play­ing three dif­fer­ent spots ev­ery week so get­ting the phys­i­cal reps is great. I’m just try­ing to ab­sorb and mimic and do what­ever I can. I get to watch one of the best guards in foot­ball ev­ery day, pick his brain and try to look like him as much as pos­si­ble.”

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