IRVING, Texas – Rookie La'el Collins will make his second career start at left guard Oct. 25 against the Giants, but in a way, it might seem like his first start – a chance to prove he can be a week-to-week contributor on the offensive line.
"Definitely the start of showing I'm becoming the player I want to be," Collins said Wednesday after practice. "Just taking that approach every day."
Collins was an injury replacement for Ronald Leary in one game (Week 3 vs. Atlanta) and part of another (Week 2 at Philadelphia). During this bye week head coach Jason Garrett said the team would evaluate the entire offense's performance, and decided on Collins returning to the starting lineup.
"We evaluated his tape versus Ron's tape over the last couple of weeks and just feel like he is deserving of this opportunity right now," Garrett said.
Garrett and offensive line coach Frank Pollack informed both players of the decision on Tuesday. Leary has started 34 games at left guard over the last three seasons.
Collins has stayed ready even though he has been inactive for three of the first five games, including this past Sunday against the Patriots. In those games, the Cowboys kept only seven offensive linemen active, with guard Mackenzy Bernadeau active over Collins because he's also the primary backup to center Travis Frederick.
"For me, I never looked at it as being difficult (being inactive)," Collins said. "I just looked at it as preparing myself, preparing myself to get ready to be where I am and just come out and work hard every day. So that's why for me the preparation and everything that goes into it never changes. Just kind of keep that same pace and now pick it up a notch."
The Cowboys are looking for a spark on offense after averaging 18.0 points during their three-game losing streak without quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant.
The rest of the offensive line will help Collins adjust to his new role, but his experience to this point should help.
"When a younger guy is in you've got to give him a little bit more help," center Travis Frederick said, "but he's a guy who's been through the meetings, he's been in camp now, he's been in there. So for us, it's just about continuing to get better as a group."