Zack Martin not taking spot for granted

May, 29, 2014
May 29
10:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Zack Martin started 52 games at Notre Dame and if things go well he will be the Dallas Cowboys' starting right guard in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

But Martin isn’t reading anything into being with the first team during the early organized team activities.

“They just kind of put me in,” Martin said. “I haven’t done anything yet. Maybe once training camp and everything gets going I’ll feel a little better.”

When the Cowboys drafted Tyron Smith with their first-round pick in 2011, he was immediately plugged in as the starter at right tackle, and that was coming off a lockout-shortened offseason. He has since moved to left tackle. Last year’s No. 1 pick, Travis Frederick, started from the first OTA on.

Coach Jason Garrett said the plan with Martin is similar.

“We think a lot of those guys coming in,” Garrett said. “It’s going to be a competitive situation for everybody but we feel like it’s important for those guys to get in there with the ones and see how they respond. If they respond the right way and show that they belong there, it’ll be really productive for them and for our football team. We’ve given him a chance. He’s done a really good job so far in the rookie minicamp. We’ll see how he [does in the OTAs], but he looked comfortable out there.”

Martin started 50 of his 52 games in college at left tackle. Not only is he learning a new position, he is learning a new side of the line. There are different techniques and the space is more confined.

“It’s just reps and getting used to it,” Martin said. “It’s gotten better since the first day I walked in here and it’s going to continue to get better.”

There is also a difference in speed.

“Just the guys in the [rookie] minicamp, we were just kind of learning the first day and just trying to get going,” Martin said. “These guys know where they’re supposed to be and they’re flying around, so the speed is definitely faster.”

Frederick is a locker neighbor for Martin.

“He knows what I’m going through because he went through it last year,” Martin said. “If he sees me do something or something’s not clicking right away, he’s the first one to say, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. It will come.’”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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