Bigger Isn't Always Better in Texas. Right, Cowboys' Offensive Line? Should We Fear for Tony Romo's Health? Again?

Bigger Isn't Always Better in Texas. Right, Cowboys' Offensive Line? Should We Fear for Tony Romo's Health? Again?

When Tony Romo was sacked by the Giants' Michael Boley last October 25 it broke his collar bone and effectively ended what was already a wobbly Cowboys' 2010 season.

It was also, remember, the result of a missed blocking assignment by a rookie.

Chris Gronkowski was part of Saturday's cuts by Dallas, but the Cowboys are again gambling that rookies can keep their quarterback upright in 2011.

That's right, rookies plural.

After a training camp of deep cleaning, on Sunday night against the Jets the Cowboys will begin their season with the youngest offensive line in the history of the 52-year-old franchise.

Never before have the Cowboys started two rookies on the offensive line. Against New York they will start Tyron Smith at right tackle and Bill Nagy at left guard. Oh, by the way, they'll also start at center Phil Costa, a second-year undrafted free agent who has never started a game over the ball.

With Andre Gurode, Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis, last year the Cowboys' average age along the OL was 30.2. This year it will be 25.2, anchored by the 20-year-old Smith, the youngest player selected in last April's draft. At 32, Kyle Kosier is suddenly the gray-beard veteran.

But not only younger, also lighter.

The Cowboys have undergone a not-so-subtle philosophical transformation from 300-pound Earth-movers into a lighter, more agile linemen able to get out and pull to the edges.

Average size last year: 6-foot-6, 324.4 pounds.

Average size this year: 6-4, 309.2.

Hopefully in Texas bigger isn't always better.


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