The Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager said he expects Leary to be ready for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the New York Giants. Jones would not discuss the status of the talks regarding Waters.
“In my mind because of the nature of Leary’s injury, he really should be back the first week (so) it hasn’t changed any urgency we had, or our situation with Waters one way or the other,” Jones said. “It’s not that we didn’t have a real feel that we wanted to get him or Brandon (Moore) in here to begin with. We did. I wouldn’t say that’s changed by any degree.”
Jones has expressed a desire to have a more veteran presence on the interior of the line, especially with Nate Livings recovering from knee surgery and Mackenzy Bernadeau unable to practice early in camp.
Leary has been one of Jones’ favorites since the Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2012. To Jones, Leary is a starter.
“I don’t want to go that far but he’s a starter in my mind,” Jones said when asked if Leary had won the job already. “There’s still competition out here and I don’t want to take away from competition. But he’s shown us he can be a starter.”
Jones also praised the entire interior of the line in Leary, Travis Frederick and Bernadeau.
“You’re just seeing a base,” Jones said. “You don’t have the sense of getting pushed back. There’s just strength there in the middle. We’ve got work to do but that’s what you’re feeling with those guys out there.”