- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Left guard Ronald Leary was taken off the physically unable to perform list Thursday morning and could be a full participant in practice as soon as Saturday.
Leary went through the morning walkthrough, working with the second-team offense, and will take part in individual drills during the Thursday afternoon practice. Head coach Jason Garrett said Leary, who strained his hamstring during the player-organized conditioning run before training camp, would then be evaluated to determine whether he is ready to do team drills after the off day.
After starting all 16 games last season, Leary will have to beat out Mackenzy Bernadeau to keep his starting job. They are competing for that spot after the Dallas Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round and plugged him in at right guard, where Bernadeau started most of last season.
The fact that Leary has yet to practice during training camp doesn’t help his cause, but Garrett made it clear that he still expects a strong competition to unfold for the starting job at left guard.
“Ron’s played a lot of football for us,” Garrett said. “He’s still a young player who’s played a lot of snaps, so it’s disappointing that he hasn’t been able to get them this first week of camp, but he’ll be back out there. There’s a lot of football to be played before this preseason game and really throughout this preseason, so there’s plenty of opportunity for him to show up in this competition.”
Leary, a powerful run-blocker who needs to improve his consistency in pass protection, feels like he made progress during the first week of camp despite not being able to practice.
“I don’t feel like I fell behind any,” Leary said. “I’ve been getting all the mental reps. This has just given me more time to focus on the playbook, to get all the fine details down with that. You want to be on the field, but it won’t take long to get that back.”