Dallas Cowboys: Ronald Leary

DeMarco Murray will see box stacked

November, 3, 2014
Nov 3
12:15
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The future of Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray will have six- and seven-man fronts.

It comes with the territory when you're the NFL's leading rusher. Murray finished with 79 yards on 19 carries in Sunday's 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Murray
Murray had to grind for his 4.2 yards per carry and failed to get one yard on a key fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.

Yet, if the Cowboys are going to rely on him in the big picture of things, they must find a way to get running lanes open for him. Sunday against the Cardinals, Murray didn't have quarterback Tony Romo (back) and two starters, left guard Ronald Leary (groin) and tackle Doug Free (foot).

If defenses try to stop Murray, they have to contend with Romo. But Arizona didn't care for his replacement, Brandon Weeden.

"It's probably the first time we [have] seen it and it probably won't be the last," Murray said of seeing seven- and eight-man defensive fronts.

Murray had just nine carries in the first half but the Cowboys went back toward him in the third quarter with eight touches, and with the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter the Cowboys had to throw the ball.

"Receivers get more catches they get into a rhythm and a quarterback throws more he gets into a rhythm and it goes on," Murray said. "As for myself and the offense line, it was hard to run the ball against those guys with 10 guys in the box. We need to make more plays."

It will get harder as the season progresses.

"We play great defense against the run and because we do have corners who can play man-to-man, we can put eight guys up there or seven up there," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. "And our defensive line is penetrating, not sitting back and catching."

Rolando McClain returns to practice

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:05
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IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session with a sore shoulder.

 Quarterback Tony Romo (back), left guard Ronald Leary (groin) and tackle Doug Free (foot) missed practice.

The Cowboys, preparing for the Arizona Cardinals on a short week, didn't practice in helmets on Wednesday but did so on Thursday.

Also, suspended defensive tackle Josh Brent practiced for the first time.

He saw limited work on Wednesday but was able to get scout team action Thursday.
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys starting left guard Ronald Leary missed Wednesday's walkthrough practice with a pulled groin, yet said he's improving.

Kluwe
Leary
"Taking it day-by-day and it is getting better every day," Leary said. "I'd like to practice and get some of the bad sets out and get ready for the game. So, we'll see how it goes."

Leary said he was hurt on the last drive of regulation in Monday's overtime loss to the Washington Redskins. If Leary can't play in Sunday's game against Arizona, expect Mackenzy Bernadeau to start.

Quarterback Tony Romo (back), middle linebacker Rolando McClain (sore shoulder) and right tackle Doug Free (foot) missed practice dealing with health issues.

Defensive ends Jack Crawford (calf) and Anthony Spencer (foot/knee) were limited in the walkthrough.

Cornerback Brandon Carr (hamstring), linebacker Bruce Carter (thigh) and right tackle Jermey Parnell (chest) were full participants.
OXNARD, Calif. -- Three thoughts on Day 10 of Dallas Cowboys training camp:


1) One way the Cowboys can improve their defense is to be considerably better against play-action passes.


Last year, they were awful.

Opposing quarterbacks passed for 1,088 yards, while averaging a ridiculous 9.0 yards per attempt with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

Before you start criticizing the cornerbacks, understand the linebackers and safeties usually bit so hard on the run fake they left the cornerbacks exposed. A cornerback forcing a receiver inside who doesn’t get the help he expects is always going to look bad.

With Rod Marinelli in charge of the entire defense this season, the Cowboys have changed how they’re playing and some of the coverages they're using in certain situations to be more fundamentally sound.

2) The combination of an improved offensive line and Scott Linehan’s creativity has running back DeMarco Murray poised to have a huge year.

You’re certainly entitled to criticize him for his inability to get through a 16-game season unscathed -- he’s missed 11 games in three seasons -- but Murray has a career average of 4.9 yards on 542 carries.

He was terrific last year with 1,121 yards rushing, 53 receptions for 330 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He’ll be 27 before next season and running backs notoriously become significantly less productive when they hit 30. As a player who’s had an injury history teams will be even more leery than usual when it comes to signing him to a long-term deal.

But if he puts up numbers this year as a 26-year-old in his prime should put up, then someone is going to play him whether it’s Dallas or some other team.

3) Jason Garrett has put together a diverse coaching staff, which can only help.

This isn’t about race, although the Cowboys do have four African-American coaches on their staff. This is more about age and pedigree.

The Cowboys have three coaches in their twenties, two in their thirties, 10 in their forties, including Garrett, five in their fifties, one in his sixties and two in their seventies.

Some members of Garrett's staff played in the NFL and some didn’t. He has some who played big-time college football and some who played for tiny programs. He has guys who were drafted and played in the Pro Bowl and guys who were role players.

What that does is allow the staff to relate to the players on several different levels.

Each player learns differently. Each player has a different background. The more diverse the coaching staff, the better the odds a player will find someone on the staff he can relate to -- even if it’s not his position coach.

Key number: 257

The Cowboys’ defense was on the field for 1,094 plays last season and 257 of them -- 65 runs and 192 passes -- gained 10 yards or more.

That’s 23.4 percent. Wow.

The 65 runs of 10-plus yards they allowed ranked second only to Chicago’s 84. Philadelphia (202) and Minnesota (200) were the only teams that allowed more pass plays of 10 yards or more.

The Tampa 2 scheme is designed to stop big plays because the safeties and linebackers are supposed to keep plays in front of them. The biggest indictment of Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator is that he couldn’t get his players to play the scheme the way it was designed.

Player to Watch: Ron Leary

The third-year guard from Memphis missed much of the first two weeks with a strained hamstring, but Garrett said he didn’t think it would hurt him too much in the competition at left guard.

That’s an indication he'd prefer Leary to win the job. To do so, he’ll have to earn it because Mackenzy Bernadeau has been doing a good job in addition to his duties as backup center.

Leary plays with power and has a nasty streak the Cowboys like. He started 16 games last season and helped Murray rush for 1,121 yards.

He does a good job of anchoring in the middle of the line, making it difficult to pressure Romo up the middle

Dallas Cowboys' projected roster

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
11:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Examining the Dallas Cowboys' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

The Kyle Orton watch is over now that the Cowboys released the veteran backup. The timing of it is a surprise, and Jason Garrett spoke optimistically all offseason about Orton’s return. Now the Cowboys turn their attention to Weeden as Romo’s backup. Weeden had a productive spring, running the first-team offense as Romo recovered from back surgery. The Cowboys haven’t kept a third quarterback since 2011, and Caleb Hanie and Dustin Vaughan will have work to do to crack the 53-man roster

RUNNING BACKS (4)


The last two spots could be up in the air. Randle, a fifth-round choice, will be pushed by free-agent pickup Ryan Williams in the preseason. Williams, a former second-round pick, was not able to stay healthy in Arizona. The Cowboys have given him a chance to win a backup job. Clutts did a nice job as a late-season pickup in 2013. He is more versatile than undrafted rookie J.C. Copeland, but I don’t think having a fullback on the 53-man roster is set in stone.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)


I debated whether to go with a sixth, but later on you will see why I stuck with five. It is possible the Cowboys will look for a veteran in the final cuts if they feel limited by their depth because of injury, but I think they like the overall group. They will work their No. 3 receiver role on a rotation basis, but Beasley could emerge as a bigger threat on third down. There will be a lot of eyes on Williams, who takes over the No. 2 role on a full-time basis. Bryant is set for another Pro Bowl-type season.

TIGHT ENDS (3)


Witten remains near the top of the game at his position. His total catches were down last year, but his touchdowns were up. Escobar’s role figures to expand, especially as a No. 3-type receiver. Hanna has the inside track on the third spot, but I have a feeling the Cowboys will be looking for more of a traditional blocker, especially if they want to get away from the fullback spot to open up a role elsewhere.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

The top six are set, with Bernadeau or Leary fighting it out for the left guard position and the loser becoming the top backup on the interior. Parnell is in the final year of his deal, and if Weems develops, I wonder if the Cowboys would look for a trading partner. They have invested a lot in Parnell in time and money for him to be a backup, so it would be a risk, but perhaps one worth taking. Weems had a decent offseason. Clarke gets the nod as the No. 9 guy right now, but veteran Uche Nwaneri could work his way into the mix.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

I think the Cowboys will go heavy here, especially considering what happened last year and the numbers they have thrown at the position this year. Four of them are rookies -- Lawrence, Gardner, Bishop and Coleman. I believe Anthony Spencer and possibly Amobi Okoye will start the year on the physically unable to perform list, so they don’t make this 53-man roster with the idea that they join the team after the sixth game of the season. Wilson garnered the last spot over a 2013 starter, Nick Hayden, but there will be a few players in the mix for the final few spots, including Ben Bass.

LINEBACKER (7)

Carrying seven linebackers might be a little heavy, but I have special teams in mind when it comes to Will Smith. He benefits from having only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. The Cowboys spent the offseason telling us games are won and lost up front, so carrying an extra offensive or defensive linemen could get in this mix as well. McClain gets a spot only because of his experience. Backups of Holloman, Hitchens and Smith would be tough considering their youth, and I can see the Cowboys looking for veteran backup help around the final cut dates.

CORNERBACK (5)


Carr and Claiborne have to play exceptionally well for this defense to have a chance, and they might have to do it without much help from a consistent pass rush. Scandrick is coming off his best season, and Claiborne will have to beat him out to reclaim the starting spot. Moore can play inside and out. Mitchell showed in his limited offseason work that he can make plays. Last year’s fourth-round pick, B.W. Webb, will have to fight for a spot. Based on his offseason work, he did not make the cut for this roster.

SAFETY (5)

Church is the only player without questions. The Cowboys are projecting the other four with their biggest bet on Wilcox. He enters camp as the starter, but he could be pushed by Heath and Hamilton. Dixon will be more of a special-teams threat if he is to make the roster. Hamilton showed some playmaking in the offseason. No Matt Johnson? Not right now, especially after he couldn’t practice -- again -- for most of the offseason.

SPECIALISTS (3)


Perhaps Cody Mandell can push Jones, but Jones is the more consistent punter and has a good rapport as a holder for Bailey. Ladouceur remains one of the best long-snappers in the game. This group won’t change during the summer unless there is an injury.
Constructing a 53-man roster is a difficult process, piecing together 10 positions groups and matching up present needs with future production of older and younger players. This week we take a look at constructing the Cowboys’ roster.

Offensive line

Smith
On the roster: Tyron Smith, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Ronald Leary, Darrion Weems, Uche Nwaneri, John Wetzel, Josh Aladenoye, Brian Clarke, Andre Cureton, Darius Morris

Locks: Smith, Bernadeau, Frederick, Martin, Free, Leary, Parnell

Inside track: Weems, Nwaneri

Need help: Wetzel, Aladenoye, Clarke, Cureton, Morris

How many fit? The Cowboys had 10 offensive linemen on the 53-man roster to start last season and through attrition ended with eight on the final 53-man roster of the season. Eight seems too light, but the Cowboys have carried just seven to the game for the past few seasons. Ten might seem like too many but finding offensive linemen can be tricky and the future has to be factored in with Free and Parnell entering the final year of their contracts.

As the Cowboys head to Oxnard, California, for training camp, I believe nine is the magic number. The top six are without question Smith, Bernadeau, Frederick, Martin, Free and Leary. The Cowboys could have their best line since 2007 when Flozell Adams, Andre Gurode and Leonard Davis made the Pro Bowl. The Cowboys invested three first-round picks in Smith, Frederick and Martin. Free rebounded with a solid 2013 season. Bernadeau and Leary are good enough to win with.

The questions are with the backups.

With Parnell entering the final year of his contract, could he be trade bait late in camp provided Weems shows he can be the swing tackle on game day?

There would be some salary-cap benefit, saving $1.5 million, especially if Parnell isn’t viewed as a starter in 2015 or beyond. The Cowboys could choose to extend Free’s deal, which could make a Parnell move possible. It’s all predicated on Weems, who had some good moments in the offseason.

The interior depth is a little in question. The loser of the left guard battle between Bernadeau and Leary becomes the top backup with Bernadeau serving as the backup center. Nwaneri has a lot of experience. Clarke could be a guy worth grooming for the future after what he showed as well. Wetzell might have some position flexibility as well at tackle and guard.

The series:

Quarterbacks
Specialists
Running backs
Safeties
Wide receivers
Cornerbacks
Tight ends
Linebackers

Training camp battles: left guard

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
12:00
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With the start of training camp coming next week, we review the five biggest position battles with the Dallas Cowboys.

Left guard

The favorite: Ronald Leary

The contenders: Mackenzy Bernadeau

Outlook: This battle was set up when the Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round and decided to move him to right guard. It meant Bernadeau lost his starting spot and had to fight for a job with Leary. Leary started all 16 games in 2013 and performed well. The Cowboys like competition at various spots, especially if it means improving the position and Bernadeau will compete. Bernadeau lost his job at right guard to Brian Waters only to regain it when he suffered a season-ending injury last season. Bernadeau is still a quality offensive lineman and has shown his versatility by playing both guard spots and some center. Regardless of whether he gets the starting job, Bernadeau is needed along the line. The Cowboys won't invest in a veteran player for the offensive line, like Waters, because the team wants a younger lineup at several key spots.

Who wins? It's a close race, but expect Leary to maintain his spot. Bernadeau will morph into a player who can play several positions and this will help the line overall.

Frederick looks to lighten Romo's plate

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
12:15
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick likes to please. He especially likes to please his quarterback, Tony Romo.

As Frederick enters his second season with the Cowboys, he has one goal.

“I’m going to try and do as much as I can to take as much as I can off Tony that he was doing before for the offensive line,” he said. “Not necessarily because I was a rookie or this or that, but because, if I can see it better, that’s going to take one thing off his plate and that’s going to help the team as a whole.”

Frederick
Romo
Part of Romo’s responsibility is setting the protections with calling out the middle linebacker. The offensive line follows the assignment. If Frederick can take that responsibility away from Romo, then Romo can worry more about the coverage.

When Romo and Frederick watch film of practices or games, they discuss what worked and didn’t work, what they might do differently the next time.

“I think what really has helped is going through the season last year,” Frederick said. “It’s literally about situations. You can talk about as many situations as you can think of and still see 50 more. It’s about being in situations and maybe you make a mistake. Maybe last year I’d change the Mike (linebacker call) on something and he would rather have kept it. After it happened, he told me, ‘OK, this is what I would’ve done.’ Now in the next situation I can do it.”

It’s not just about making Romo’s life easier. If Frederick can do more, he makes it easier for his fellow linemen Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Doug Free, Ronald Leary or Mackenzy Bernadeau.

“The more I can communicate, the better Zack’s going to be able to do, the better Tyron is going to be able to do, the better Doug’s going to be able to do,” Frederick said. “When that happens, everybody can move faster and play faster and they don’t have to think. If I can think more than I did last year, then it makes it less that everybody else has to think about.”

There is a physical adjustment Frederick has made this offseason, too.

“Hand placement has been a big thing for me,” Frederick said. “In college it’s just about getting it done. If you’re strong, you have a better opportunity because no matter where you grab usually you can just hold on. But in the NFL with the great talent we play against and even here in who we practice against every day, you really have to focus on where you’re playing your hands and an inch can make a huge difference.”
IRVING, Texas – When Jason Garrett said goodbye to us all after the Dallas Cowboys’ minicamp ended on June 19, he was asked about the state of the roster.

“We’ll continue to make evaluations of individual guys, where they stack up, if they belong on the roster, who else is on the landscape,” Garrett said then. “You’re always trying to do that. Feel good about how guys have come in here and worked. A lot of young guys got a lot of work over the course of the OTAs and minicamp. A lot of veteran players worked hard, felt competition. That’s a good thing for our team and we want to continue to do that. Whether the competition comes from within or without, it’s our job to make sure we’re always trying to put the most competitive situation available out there on our roster.”

[+] EnlargeRolando McClain
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliThe Cowboys hope recent acquisition Rolando McClain can help fill the void left by the injury to Sean Lee.
Since then the Cowboys have added two veterans: guard Uche Nwaneri and linebacker Rolando McClain.

The player acquisition business is 365 days a year. It never stops.

In Nwaneri the Cowboys have a veteran with 92 starts to his credit. The loser of the left guard battle between Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary would be the top backup on the inside. The other backup candidates are inexperienced with Brian Clarke, Andre Cureton and Ronald Patrick. At the least, Nwaneri gives the Cowboys a lineman to help the backup quarterbacks have a chance in preseason games. At the best, he is a possible starter.

Trading for McClain is something of a gamble because of his past and his two forays into retirement. Does he truly want to play? If he does, then maybe the Cowboys have hit on a player who will be just 25 years old when training camp begins at a position of need with Sean Lee out for the year.

For all of the talk of Brian Urlacher joining the Cowboys, signing a 36-year-old with a bad knee after sitting out one year made less sense than adding a soon-to-be 25-year-old who sat out a season.

So where do the Cowboys look next for help before camp starts?

In the minicamp post referenced earlier, I mentioned they could look at linebacker, interior offensive line and tight end for help. Two of the three have been checked off. All that is left is tight end.

Why tight end?

They have a need for a blocker behind Jason Witten. That’s not Gavin Escobar’s forte. James Hanna is willing but that’s not his strength either. Jordan Najvar is an undrafted free agent. There aren’t many current candidates available to fit the bill in price or job description, but the Cowboys could spend time in training camp looking at other rosters for help.

Source: Leary won't face suspension

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
10:25
AM ET
Dallas Cowboys starting left guard Ronald Leary will not be suspended by the NFL regarding a two-year old DWI charge, according to a source.

Kluwe
Leary
According to court documents, Leary was arrested in Irving, Texas, on Sept. 7, 2012, two days after the Cowboys' season opener at the New York Giants.

There has been numerous court dates postponed since the original arrest. Leary, who was a rookie practice squad player at the time of the arrest, didn't get promoted to the active roster until that December.

When an NFL player is charged with a DWI offense, he's placed into the league's substance abuse program. Once that player completes the program, the league considers the legal matter over based on the facts of any particular case.

Adisa Bakari, Leary's agent, and Cowboys' officials declined comment.

The Cowboys had three players arrested for DWI charges within a five-month period two years ago.

Following Leary's arrest, defensive lineman Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter in Irving, Texas, on Dec. 8, which resulted in the death of practice-squad teammate Jerry Brown.

On Jan. 22, 2013, defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff was charged with DWI in Grapevine, Texas, after hitting a tractor trailer.

Veteran depth key to offensive line

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
4:50
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The Dallas Cowboys haven't made the signing of guard Uche Nwaneri official because they have to make a roster move first.

Nwaneri
Moving Sean Lee to injured reserve, thus clearing space when training camp starts, is one possibility. The Nwaneri signing means the Cowboys want to add experienced depth to an offensive line that is getting younger at its core.

Four potential starters are each under 25 -- Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith.

Smith, 23, anchors the left tackle spot and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. The team picked up his vested option for next season and has plans to give him a long-term deal.

Martin, 23, was a first-round draft pick this year and will play right guard with the potential to move to right tackle in the future.

Frederick, also 23 and last year's first-round pick, was solid at center and appears ready for a long-term future with the Cowboys.

Mackenzy Bernadeau is 28 and he's competing for a starting left guard spot with Leary.

The old man of the group if you will, is 30-year-old Doug Free, who played well in 2013 after taking a pay cut. The Cowboys value him. The question is for how long, considering they have Martin on the roster as well as two younger tackles, Darrion Weems and Jermey Parnell.

Nwaneri is 30. If he makes the team, he's got eight years of experience and adds depth to the interior of the line, which is important to the Cowboys.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said protecting Tony Romo up the gut is essential considering the quarterback is coming off back surgery.

This offseason, the Cowboys devoted themselves to getting younger and as one team official said, youth is important.

When you stick with youth, mistakes happen, and the Cowboys are willing to deal with that -- at least right now.

But there is nothing wrong with adding an experienced player to the line, and if Nwaneri's deal is completed that's what the Cowboys will have accomplished.

Left guard battle is between brothers

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
1:00
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The business of the NFL takes over on a regular basis, so when the Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round last month, it meant somebody along the offensive line was going to lose a starting job.

What the team did was pit Ronald Leary against Mackenzy Bernadeau for the starting spot at left guard.

Kluwe
Leary
Leary started all 16 games at the position last season, while Bernadeau regained the starting spot at right guard after Brian Waters suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle injury. Bernadeau started 11 games for the Cowboys at right guard, but Martin is playing there now, so it's a position switch for the seven-year veteran.

"It's part of the business; it is what it is," Bernadeau said. "I can only control what I can control, and that’s getting better and doing my role and Martin is a great guy and I'm helping him out as well and talking to him. A great player, a great guy."

Leary said the same thing about Bernadeau, whom he called his brother despite the reality that they are competing for the same position.

"Competition is a good thing; it forces you to play your game," Leary said., "Play your best ball, and I knew coming into this game I was going to have to compete and I don’t have problem competing. So me and Mac, that's my brother, so it's not like we going behind each others back. We talk and help each other out; it’s a great thing."

From the moment the Cowboys signed Leary as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he was scheduled to become a starter. It just took him getting used to the NFL game after playing in college at Memphis.

The biggest issue with Leary was a chronic knee problem. It hasn't caused him to miss any games.

"This is as healthy as I've been in a long time, going back to college," he said. "I feel great right now, I'm feeling good right now."

Bernadeau was signed as a free agent from Carolina the same year and endured offseason health issues that prevented him from starting training camp on time. He played in 16 games in 2012, including two starts at center, showing the Cowboys position flexibility.

But last year, Bernadeau had more health problems and before the start of the season, the team signed Waters. He played well until his injury and then Bernadeau took over to start 11 games.

This summer at training camp, the Cowboys will share the first-team snaps between Leary and Bernadeau.

There's a belief both will remain on the 53-man roster regardless of who wins the starting job.

"We both compete as hard as we can and help each other on and off the field and we talk about certain plays we like and don’t like," Bernadeau said. "Its great competition. We're great friends and I understand the business."

Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 1

May, 30, 2014
May 30
10:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas – Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss life without Sean Lee, life without Brian Waters, life almost with Ryan Shazier, life in a zone defense and life with Scott Linehan.

Away we go:

 
IRVING, Texas -- The Sean Lee injury news dominated the first day of the Dallas Cowboys' organized team activities, but here's a look at some other observations from Tuesday's workout:
    SportsNation

    Should the Cowboys give Dez Bryant a long-term extension before the season starts?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 23,361)

  • With Tony Romo limited and Kyle Orton not around, Brandon Weeden was able to get the first-team work and he showed well. He didn't necessarily get more work than he would have if Romo and Orton were available, but he was able to get quality work with the starters. His best throw was a throw to the sideline over cornerback Brandon Carr to Terrance Williams. It was in a spot where only Williams could make the grab, which he did for what would have been a long gain.
  • If there was a spot where Weeden struggled it was on the move. He was not as accurate on his throws on the run, missing mostly high.
  • Romo went through pat-and-go, team takeoff. He threw routes on air to receivers, but he did not go through any individual work. As the other quarterbacks went through footwork drills, Romo was a spectator. He alternated every few throws and made sure most of his passes went to Dez Bryant, Williams or Jason Witten.
  • Zack Martin was the starter at right guard and Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary split the left guard snaps. Will that continue in training camp? In my opinion, it should.
  • The first-team defensive line from left to right: Tyrone Crawford, Terrell McClain, Nick Hayden, DeMarcus Lawrence. With George Selvie (shoulder) and Henry Melton (knee) recovering from offseason surgeries, Crawford moved outside, which is a sign of his versatility. McClain could be a nose tackle candidate once Melton is able to get back.
  • In addition to Selvie and Melton, Morris Claiborne (shoulder), Dwayne Harris (shoulder),Caesar Rayford (shoulder), Ahmad Dixon (hip), Dashaun Phillips and Jocquel Skinner did not take part in team drills. Justin Durant and Darrion Weems did not practice at all.
  • Interesting to note: Cole Beasley and Tim Benford only ran routes from the slot during the receivers individual period while the rest of the receivers worked outside.

Zack Martin opens at right guard

May, 16, 2014
May 16
3:40
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IRVING, Texas -- As the Dallas Cowboys' first-round pick, all eyes were on guard Zack Martin at the first rookie minicamp practice.

And not just the coaches, scouts, front office and media.

A handful of veteran offensive linemen watched the drills Friday, led by Doug Free, Tyron Smith and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

"They just want to see us work," Martin said. "And if we’re going to be part of that group, they want to make sure and know what they’re getting."

After starting all but two of his 52 games at Notre Dame, Martin lined up at right guard on Friday. Bernadeau started 26 games the past two seasons at right guard. Ronald Leary started at left guard in 2013.

"It's really just a starting point, first time he's been out there," coach Jason Garrett said. "We see his position flex and his versatility. We actually see him starting inside more than we see him starting outside. We'll have great competition all throughout our offensive line, particularly in the interior of our offensive line. It seems like it's a pretty natural fit for him. He typically played on the left hand side, played left tackle, but his position flex is something we thought was a real asset. He's a smart football player. He has a lot of poise about him and doesn't seem to be fazed by a whole lot.”

The Cowboys threw 2013 first-round pick, Travis Frederick, into the starting lineup from the beginning last year. Martin said he does not expect it to take long to get comfortable inside.

“Playing inside, the guys are a lot tighter,” he said. “Everything is closer together, so out on the edge you’ve got room to maneuver. Inside you’ve got to have tighter footwork and be more aware.”

And if he needs any pointers, the veterans will be there.

“Just helping with techniques,” Martin said. “Technique is something you’ve got to get. They’re like another coach on the field. Doug’s been through it a bunch of years now. Maybe if he sees something the coaches don’t see, he’ll correct me.”

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