Emmitt Smith ran behind some of the best offensive lines in league history during his time with the Dallas Cowboys. It’s obvious that the Cowboys’ current front five doesn’t compare to those groups.
Actually, the Cowboys are coming off a season when it appeared as if they had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.
According to Smith, the unit protecting Tony Romo and blocking for DeMarco Murray is one of the reasons why the Cowboys haven’t had more recent success, missing the postseason each of the last three seasons.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest weak links that we have because we cannot run the ball effectively and Tony Romo is dropping back and he can’t even get in his stance good enough and get comfortable to the point where he can throw the football,” Smith said during a Monday phone interview. “When you look at the other quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, they get back and they have time to go through their progressions. They’re very comfortable in the pocket. I don’t think our guy is.
“Every time he drops back he has to run out to his left or run out to his right, or he’s got to shuffle around. He’s moving quite a bit. That has a psychological effect on a quarterback in some cases. You’ll never hear him admit it but as a former player I know it does.”
So how does this group differ from the ones Smith ran behind?
Smith led the league in rushing four times between 1991 and 1995. Over the last three seasons, the Cowboys haven’t had a runner finish among the top 20 rushers.
In fact, only Arizona finished with fewer rushing yards than the Cowboys during the 2012 season.
“For one, Troy (Aikman) never got hit that much,” Smith said. “Troy could drop back and throw the football. Troy had time to do that. Romo does not have the time to do that. My offensive line was awesome. They were great and I think we complimented each other quite nicely. You can’t compare this offensive line to my offensive line, that’s for sure. That’s why we got a Hall of Famer (Larry Allen) going in this year.”