Training Camp Preview: OL

The biggest offseason moves made by the Cowboys this year were on the offensive line. Not surprisingly, how those moves pan out will go a long ways in determining whether or not the team can get back to the playoffs.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters -- RT Jason Fabini, Marco Rivera, C Al Johnson, LG Kyle Kosier, LT Flozell Adams. Backups -- C Andre Gurode, T Marc Colombo, T Rob Petitti, T Pat McQuistan, T Dennis Roland, G Stephen Peterman, G Cory Proctor, G Matt Tarullo, G Shannon Snell.

Much of the Cowboys' offensive success this season will boil down to two key offseason moves: the signing of guard Kyle Kosier to replace Larry Allen at left guard, and the signing of right tackle Jason Fabini.

Kosier gives the Cowboys more athletic ability than Allen, although he hasn't shown to be near the player Allen was during his years in Detroit.

"Those are some big shoes to fill," Kosier told earlier this summer. "Larry was a great player – he still is. He's the best guard ever to play the game."

The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder from Arizona State is not the overwhelmingly powerful specimen his predecessor was, but his value to the Cowboys will be increased because of his versatility.

He played left guard for the Lions last year, but also was designated Detroit's "swing" lineman, who could fill in at right guard – or even tackle, if necessary – if injuries dictated that such a shift was necessary.

Another key area for Dallas is the health of left tackle Flozell Adams, who tore up his knee last year, missing the last nine games. Adams is the key to protecting quarterback Drew Bledsoe's blind side.

Bill Parcells described Adams as "overweight and rusty" during the team's offseason mini-camp in June.

"I want him to get his weight down by July 1st if he can," he said. "That's important. I don't him having to do that at the last minute. He's worked very hard to recover. He's done more than he's ever done before, particularly in the weight area. I think he's a little rusty, but that's to be expected."

Fabini, although a declining player, is a huge upgrade from Rob Petitti at right tackle. Once viewed as a "project player," he parlayed excellent work ethic and mental toughness into becoming one of the most consistent tackles in the league.

In fact, Parcells often compared Petitti to the standard Fabini set during his time as head coach of the Jets.

Meanwhile right guard Marco Rivera should be better in his second year in Dallas now that he is healthy. Last year he played following surgery to repair a herniated disc and was not the same.

Center remains a question mark with Al Johnson and Andre Gurode fighting for respectability and consistency. Johnson will enter training camp as the starter while Gurode can rotate between both guard and center.

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