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Roster Rundown: Bernadeau Struggled Early, Improved Late
(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players’ impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features guard Mackenzy Bernadeau.)
Name: Mackenzy Bernadeau
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 320
Experience: 5 seasons
Key stat: And this isn’t just on Bernadeau alone, but as one of the starting guards and key interior players, the Cowboys struggled mightily in running the ball into the end zone. Just seven touchdowns by the running backs and eight overall. The Cowboys have to get a better push inside the red zone and it typically starts in the middle of the line.
Contract Status: Signed through 2015
2012 Impact: After studying this offensive line all season, were there issues that they struggled with? Yes, there was no doubt about it but to only point the finger at one or two players I feel it is the wrong way to look at it. Mackenzy Bernadeau had his struggles but we all act like he was terrible for the majority of the season and that is just not the case. In my view the game where he was at his worst was against the Buccaneers and Gerald McCoy but if you watch McCoy play all season like I did on tape, you would see that he gave guards better than Bernadeau problems as well. Where Bernadeau had his biggest problems was when he would overextend or lunge when he was dealing with quick rushers. When he was able to get his head back, hands up and inside then sit down on his man, he was generally fine because he can play with some upper body power. When rushers were able to get him off balance, it was hard for him to recover and you saw this when the scheme was trying to handle twist stunts by manning them instead of passing them off, later in the season, they did a much better job of. His foot work and body position was much better. What was surprising to me in the running game is that you didn’t see him get the movement consistently enough. I mentioned that he did play with some power on his pass sets but when he needed to get push, there were too many plays where he was flat along the line instead of getting his man up the field. I will also say this about the running game, this offensive line with and without DeMarco Murray in the lineup was a different group.
Where He Fits: If I still worked in the scouting department for the Cowboys, I would make a big push to move Bernadeau to center and look to add a guard through the college draft. If it was one of the top ones like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper that would be fine but there are some others in the second round and beyond that could be nice fits as well. If Bernadeau has to continue to play guard, I don’t see this as a terrible situation because I did see improvement as the season wore on and with an entire off season and a healthy training camp, I believe he would be fine. In what direction they go scheme wise will also tell you a lot about the plans for the offensive line as a whole. The question needs to still be answered if they are going to be a power/gap or zone blocking line. Once we get that answer, we will have a better idea of how he fits.
Nick Eatman – It’ll be interesting to see what a full offseason can do for Bernadeau. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that he missed all last summer with injuries and then was thrown into the fire early in the season, and then struggled out of the gate. If you look at the end of the season, Bernadeau was playing much better and in my opinion, was the better of the two guards, although that’s not a ringing endorsement. I do think Bernadeau is better at guard than center, but his ability to play both spots is always valuable. Let’s see if he can stay healthy this summer, get a better understanding of the offense and his assignments and you’ll probably see a better player in 2013.