FRISCO, Texas – For the first time since Cowboys training camp practice began two weeks ago, starting right tackle La'el Collins took some reps in team drills as he works back from what he described as just a little "wear and tear."
"I felt like a kid in a candy store," he said. "It felt good. I was telling Tyron (Smith), 'Man it feels good to be back out there.'"
Collins says he'll be ready for the fast-approaching Sept. 13 season opener at the Rams. That's good news for a Cowboys offensive line that hasn't been at full strength in practice until late this week.
Aside from missing one game with a sprained knee (the Cowboys' road loss to the Jets), Collins arguably had his best season since entering the league in 2015. Comfortable in his second season moving from left guard to right tackle, Collins and the line allowed a career-low 23 sacks on Dak Prescott and Prescott posted career highs in passing yards (4,902) and touchdowns (30).
Almost exactly a year ago, the Cowboys signed Collins to a five-year, $50 million extension. Now in his sixth season, Collins believes his best football is ahead of him.
"I feel like last year was just the scratch of it, just the beginning, to be honest," he said. "This is my third year ever playing right tackle. I've been playing football my whole life, but my third year playing right tackle. I'm left-handed and everything on the left came natural. So switching over I really had to get in tune with technique and really understand footwork and where my body needs to be and stuff like that.
"I think as I continue to get more and more reps over the years, I feel like that's what kind popped out last year and I'm just going to build off of that."