In the modern cap era of the NFL, depth is often is the hidden key to success in the long haul of an NFL season. And because of the cap, depth is a lot harder to accomplish than it was in the 90s when the Cowboys had depth in droves.
These days, if your team has signed some key expensive pieces that take a lot of cap space- like QB, LT, pass rusher, corner, etc, one of the biggest challenges is being able to have enough depth when (not if) the injuries happen during a season.
IMO, there are a couple of key position areas where depth is critical to make a serious run in the playoffs. But none is more critical than this one:
- Swing Tackle– having an O-Lineman who is versatile enough to plug in for a few games at either tackle position is critical for the success of a team’s offense. Remember Chaz Green and the Atlanta game in 2017? Probably cost us a playoff spot that year. Having a competent OLineman who can play multiple positions competently for short runs is critical for a playoff run.
So where are we today in our depth in our OL? According to the “Our Lads” site, here is the current depth chart for our line:
- LT- starter- Tyron Smith. Backups are Matt Waletzko (hurt right now) and Avante Collins
- LG- starter- Tyler Smith. Backup is Connor McGovern
- C- starter is Tyler Biadaz. Backup is Matt Farniok.
- RG- starter is Zack Martin. Backups are Braden Jones and Issac Alarcon
- RT– starter is Terrance Steele. Backups are Josh Ball and Aaron Simon
That’s 13 guys at OL and obviously we can’t keep them all.
My big question is- who will fill the very important depth role of Swing Tackle? Tyler Smith has been mentioned as the guy most likely to step in for Tyron Smith when he goes down. But are we sure that’s the best option? Maybe. But if Tyler S is playing well at LG, would it be better to have a veteran backup who could step in?
Bottom line for me- I hope when SJ says they are “keeping their powder dry” for some additional moves, they will consider finding a versatile veteran who can step into a depth role. I want to get rid of the bad memories of counting on a Chaz Green type again.
Either that on we are going to be hoping Josh Ball or Matt Waletzko (who’s hurt) are going to have to make a very speedy developmental move.