FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are preparing as if Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin will not play Sunday against the Washington Football Team because of a concussion.
"Unless there's a change in the next 24 hours I don't see Zack participating," coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. "So I think we all recognize that it being a Monday game [last week], it was going to be a challenge, but he's still not through the protocol."
Connor McGovern replaced Martin in Monday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals and would make his first career start against Washington, but this is a much different offensive line than what the Cowboys thought they would have when McCarthy was hired and even at the start of the season.
When McCarthy was hired in January, the Cowboys had a line that was the envy of most teams, with Pro Bowlers Martin, Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. But Frederick retired in the offseason and Smith played just two games because of a neck injury that required surgery. Right tackle La'el Collins will not play a snap this season because of hip surgery.
Frederick's replacement, Joe Looney, will miss his third straight game because of a knee injury. Smith's replacement at left tackle, Brandon Knight, suffered a knee injury and had surgery on Tuesday. Undrafted rookie Terence Steele has started every game at right tackle.
Cameron Erving, who has been out since the season opener because of a knee injury, is expected to fill in at left tackle. The Cowboys could have Greg Senat as the backup tackle but also have veteran Jordan Mills on the practice squad.
The projected starting line -- Erving, Connor Williams, Tyler Biadasz, McGovern, Steele -- would be the fifth different group used this season. And it will be protecting the Cowboys' backup quarterback, Andy Dalton, who will start his second game in place of injured Dak Prescott.
It's a challenge for the coaches to put together a plan with a group that has not had much time together.
"I mean, just the practice reps, obviously the classroom reps and frankly the time that they can spend together away from the facility or the extra film study, because those guys, they don't have the luxury of making a call and having a few yards to adjust to the situation," McCarthy said. "Everything happens right in front of them, right now. It's just time together, and I think as we put the plan together you recognize that. But I don't recall having this many changes."
This will be just the third game Martin has missed in a seven-year career. He missed two games in 2018 because of a knee injury.