Well that was quick, undrafted offensive linemen La’el Collins has already been signed by a team and of course, it’s the Dallas Cowboys. The Philadelphia Eagles were rumored to be one of seven teams that were interested in signing Collins but that clearly never happened. But now that Collins is a member of the Cowboys, how will that affect the Eagles?
It actually won’t, honestly. The Cowboys already had “the best offensive line in the league” in 2014 and that amounted to a divional round exit in the playoffs. That was also with running back DeMarco Murray carrying the load and taking a ton of pressure off quarterback Tony Romo. Just because the Cowboys’ offensive line is so talented, does that mean just any running back can come in and dominate in their offense? Most people seem to think that is the case, but I’m not buying it.
Especially when their projected starter at running back, Darren McFadden, is always hurt and even when he’s healthy, he’s nowhere near the threat that Murray was in Dallas. People seem to think that last year was a fluke for Murray and that it was all the offensive line, specifically because of the addition of rookie guard Zach Martin. But during the 2013 season, without Martin, Murray averaged 5.2 yards per carry. In 2012, Murray averaged 4.1 yards per carry and during his rookie season in 2011, he averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
So let’s take a look at McFadden’s numbers throughout his career. Before all of the injuries, McFadden did well, averaging 4.6 yards per carry throughout his first four seasons in the NFL. But then he hit a wall and has been miserable ever since 2012, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry since. You can make the argument that he had a less talented offensive line in Oakland than Murray had in Dallas. But even when they didn’t have multiple Pro Bowl players, Murray’s averaged never dipped below 4.1 yards per carry. McFadden’s done that in three consecutive seasons.
Everyone will be scared off by Dallas’ offensive line because they were already elite and now they have added Collins to the mix. But the Eagles especially had no problem with their offensive line in 2014. Philadelphia held Murray to just 3.1 yards per carry during their two meetings this past season. Now that Murray is a member of the Eagles and the Cowboys are hoping that McFadden can carry the load, Philadelphia is in a favorable position.
Let’s not forget that the Eagles have also added inside linebacker Kiko Alonso which will only make their front seven even more dangerous. They’ve also significantly improved their secondary so Romo won’t be able to just close his eyes and heave the ball deep to wide receiver Dez Bryant against cornerback Bradley Fletcher anymore.
For most teams, it’s easy to get nervous about the Cowboys offensive line and the addition of Collins, but for the Eagles’ sake, they should do just fine. In 2014, when Dallas was running it down almost every other team’s throats, Philadelphia held up just fine.
But now without Murray in their backfield, things will be a bit tougher for the Dallas Cowboys. Either way, the Philadelphia Eagles have the talent and are more than ready for the challenge.
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