OXNARD, Calif. – After months of talking, the Cowboys can finally go about determining what to do with La'el Collins.
This spring's OTAs and minicamp practices gave an idea of what to expect from the high-profile rookie, and that continued on Thursday, with Collins lining up as the Cowboys' second-team left guard at their first practice.
"You know, for me right now, I'm just trying to focus on getting better wherever coach got me at, each and every day," Collins said. "Right now, I came out today and worked at left guard, felt really good."
Collins also said he feels comfortable working at right tackle, where the Cowboys have always used him – particularly with Doug Free limited during the spring. With Free back in the lineup, though, the common logic is that Collins will push Ron Leary for playing time at that left guard spot.
When he signed with the team in May, Collins earned notoriety for some bold comments about the offensive line. He wasn't interested in predictions or proclamations in the wake of his first training camp practice.
"Every day we're going to come out here and just get better and leave that up to the coaches," he said.
That should earn him some points among his fellow linemen, a group that's become known for doing its talking on the playing field. With three All-Pros and no shortage of veterans among the group, Collins said earning their trust is one of his primary concerns.[embeddedad0]
"You know, I just wanted to come in and work hard and earn the respect of the rest of the O-Line. That's been my focus each and every day," he said. "Being able to watch those guys, work with those guys every day is only going to help me get better."
With the Cowboys' month-long camp just beginning, Collins' focus on the day-to-day was a big emphasis. Whatever position he winds up playing, he said he plans to help out any way he can – which starts with his current assignment at guard.
"It's definitely better for the team right now," he said. "That's what I want to do – I feel like I can play pretty much wherever coach wants me to play. Versatility is key."