Saturday, March 19, 2011

Player Profile #28: Montrae Holland

Montrae Holland
Position: Guard
Size: 6'2, 326
Age: 31, 5/21/80
College: Florida State
Drafted: New Orleans - Round 4, Pick 102 - 2003
Experience: 8 Seasons

Salary History and Contract Status - In April of 2010, the Cowboys extended a contract to Holland for 2 years, $2.75 million. 2010 - $900,000 and a roster bonus of $350,000. 2011 - $1 million and a roster bonus of $500,000.

2003 Draft Profile From 2003 - 14th Rated OL - Montrae Holland - Guard - Florida State - 6'1 - 330 - 5.23 - A short pure guard with thick legs. Not well-built but he has good overall strength. Explosive run blocker with powerful initial jolt. Uses his hands well. Can knock a defender upright at the point of attack. Has good balance. Usually stays on his feet but is inconsistent with his foot movement - tends to get stationary after initial contact. Needs to do a better job of finishing blocks and working away from the play. Decent athlete. Adequate firing upfield - somewhat of a waistbender in space. Shows ability in pass protection. Battles with a wide base - can bend his knees and anchor against a bull rush. A little sluggish in his redirection - needs to do a better job of maintaining a proper angle when engaged with the rusher. Flashes solid tools but is still rough around the edges. Has had some injury problems.

Pre-2010: Montrae Holland is one of dozens of hard-working NFL offensive lineman that you have never heard of unless he has played for your teams. They do everything they can to carve an identity in the league through making teams and doing what they can but it seems they enter camp every year on the fringe of the roster. They survive and advance year by year and if he is a back-up for you, and you are lucky, you never even ask him to get on the field. The Cowboys traded for Holland on a rather bizarre day during the 2008 training camp for a 5th Round pick. The reason this seemed odd is that a 5th round pick is thought to be a rather reasonable price tag in the NFL. For instance, the Steelers received a 5th rounder for Santonio Holmes last off-season. Also, there were numerous reports that Holland was about to be cut by the Denver Broncos anyway - after starting 16 games for them in 2007. On top of all of this, it seemed quite an indictment of the Cowboys depth or lack thereof in their own ranks as even more of their OL prospects disappointed. He was needed to fill in during Kyle Kosier's injury in 2008, but Cory Procter was the selected guard to take most of those snaps. Holland had 2 starts that year, and left the 2nd start against Pittsburgh with an injury of his own. Then, in 2009, he was inactive for every single game of the season.

2010: Despite being inactive the entire year of 2009, the Cowboys gave him a 2 year contract for the 2010 and 2011 season. They decided to let Cory Procter leave for Miami and to roll with Montrae Holland as their primary reserve guard in 2010. He started and played in Week 1 against Washington and his performance was certainly satisfactory. After that, he would be called on frequently in the next few weeks as Kosier had another year where he couldn't stay on the field. The problem was that Holland also has been injured twice (in 2008 and in 2010) when he plays for an injured Kosier. Clearly, if your reserve players are getting hurt when they are asked to play and they are near or past 30 years of age, you do have to ask some serious questions about your decision making and your depth. He was hurt in the New York Giants game (the same in which Tony Romo was hurt) and that brought on Phil Costa as the 4th guard to play until Kyle Kosier was healthy again. Holland would not play again in 2010 after that injury aside from 2 plays late in the season where he was inserted as a Fullback in short yardage.

2011 Analysis: It would not be a major surprise to see the Cowboys go in a different direction at this spot on their roster. At a cap charge of $1.5million, you would think Dallas would have hopes of saving about a million of that by finding someone who could simply play reserve guard and develop that player as a potential starter in the draft. Holland has scratched and clawed to make a career for himself of nearly a decade, but the Cowboys have needed him to play in 2 of his 3 seasons and in each case, he was hurt himself. And in that 3rd year, he was inactive for all 18 Cowboys' games. When you look at spots to fill with fresh blood in 2011, I have to think a priority is to find developmental interior offensive linemen. I realize developing Offensive Linemen is certainly not this franchise's specialty, but it is time to start to figure that out. The entire line is not getting younger, and it is showing up on Sundays in the fall.

Previous Profiles:

Miles Austin

Alex Barron

Martellus Bennett

Stephen Bowen

Keith Brooking

Dez Bryant

Victor Butler

Marc Colombo

Leonard Davis

Doug Free

Jesse Holley

Sam Hurd

Bradie James

Kyle Kosier

Sean Lee

Kevin Ogletree

Igor Olshansky

John Phillips

Marcus Spears

Anthony Spencer

DeMarcus Ware

Brandon Williams

Leon Williams

Roy Williams

Jason Witten

Sam Young

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