The Cowboys might have been holding their breath, not knowing what to expect from left guard Ronald Leary and center Travis Frederick on Sunday night.
They were each making their first NFL starts, and against a formidable defensive line in the New York Giants.
But coach Jason Garrett was breathing easier Monday as he talked about the effort of the young linemen over 74 snaps in the 36-31 victory.
“We looked at a lot of plays in evaluating that game, and there are a lot of areas for everybody to improve upon. But for Travis to play his first game in the NFL, I thought he did a really nice job,” Garrett said. “And really for Ron Leary to be in the same situation, even though he has another year under his belt, for those guys to go out and hold up against that front was pretty good.”
The line did not allow any sacks until the fourth quarter, although quarterback Tony Romo was hit twice before that, including once so severely that he had to leave the game. And the Cowboys ran for 87 yards, largely behind the left side manned by tackle Tyron Smith and Leary.
Leary had one penalty, for holding. Smith had two penalties, for holding and a false start. Frederick had no penalties, and his only visible mistake was a fumbled snap that Romo had to fall on.
“I thought for the most part, we blocked them pretty well, particularly in pass protection,” Garrett said. “Those guys for years have made a living just pushing the pocket and making the quarterback feel uncomfortable with people in their face. I thought those guys anchored down pretty well and fought those guys fairly well throughout the game.”
-- Carlos Mendez