OXNARD, Calif. – One of the biggest position concerns heading into training camp is now a bigger concern with camp now underway.
Not one, not two but the top three guards on the depth chart are not practicing when camp opened Sunday here at the River Ridge sports complex in Oxnard.
Mackenzy Bernadeau suffered a hamstring strain in the conditioning run on Saturday and will be out a few days. Nate Livings had a laceration on his foot that will sideline for a few practices this first week. Their primary backup is Ron Leary, who has a calf strain that has him on the shelf for a few practices.
And if that's not enough, versatile center/guard Ryan Cook did not pass his conditioning test, which puts him on NFI (Non-Football Injury) list to start camp.
"It's football and that happens," said offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan. "It's unfortunate to have these guys out, but that's part of the game. We just work with who we've got. And it sounds like those players won't be out for long."
So who's actually practicing?
Well, that would be David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski as the starting guards in practice. The backups include Ray Dominguez and converted tackles Edawn Coughman.
"Injuries create opportunity," head coach Jason Garrett said. "We've got some young guys who have the chance to step up here and take advantage of these extra reps. That's what training camp is about."
One of the young guys expected to get plenty of reps at center is first-round pick Travis Frederick. However, Garrett said he might get a few snaps at guard, depending on the injury situation. [embedded_ad]
"We have a little bit of a plan for him to play some guard early on in this training camp, so we'll continue with that plan," Garrett said. "But really what you have to do is just look at what's available to you. And those guys will get some more reps. David Arkin needs more reps. He needs to play football. He needs to play a lot of football, and he'll take advantage of that opportunity. Kevin Kowalski has been kind of a spot player for us the last couple of years, and he'll get more work. And it's great for those guys. Like I said earlier, injuries provide opportunities for those guys to show us they belong here and can be a part of this football team."
Right now, any guard with some experience and good health would help this team.