FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Connor McGovern is replacing Connor Williams at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys, who hope left tackle Tyron Smith is ready to return from an ankle injury that has sidelined the perennial Pro Bowler for two games.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Friday on his radio show that McGovern was getting the nod Sunday at Kansas City over Williams, who leads the NFL with 13 total penalties and 10 accepted penalties.
McGovern replaced four-time Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin in the opener after Martin tested positive for COVID-19. McGovern has played all over formations since then, frequently in lineman-eligible roles, as the Cowboys have tried to reward the third-year player's solid work.
Williams has started every game since the beginning of the 2020 season. He has 46 starts in 49 games since the Cowboys drafted the former Texas player in the second round in 2018.
Penalties have been an issue for Williams most of the season, including last weekend's 43-3 win over Atlanta, when he had three penalties, two accepted, in a span of six Dallas plays.
McGovern started nine games in his first season last year, mostly because Martin missed significant time with a calf injury. McGovern didn't play as a rookie because of an arm injury.
If Smith returns, he will be paired with right tackle La'el Collins for the first time since the opener. Collins was suspended five games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He didn't get his starting job back from Terence Steele when he returned but apparently has now after telling reporters he would start.