OXNARD, Calif. – While the five starters seem to be rather set on the offensive line, especially when healthy, there are some question marks at the backup spots, particularly at swing tackle.
For now, Darrion Weems has been working with the first-team unit for the majority of camp – and on both sides of the line.
With Doug Free limited in his work early in camp, Weems got plenty of reps at the right side. But for the first preseason game, he switched over to the left tackle spot when Tyron Smith (biceps) sat out. Weems had his moments where he struggled at left tackle against the Chargers, and had a few mistakes on the left side last Sunday against the 49ers, but showed major improvement as he started and played well into the fourth quarter.
Head coach Jason Garrett was quick to respond when asked about Weems' progress.
"Getting better. He played a lot on the San Diego game. He played a lot in the San Francisco game. He's out here," Garrett said. "He takes a lot of snaps in practice. Every chance we get, we put him in one on one situations in front of the team, see how he responds. He's getting better. He's fighting through it. He's improved technically. I think his demeanor has improved."
[embeddedad0]Weems has yet to play an NFL snap in a regular-season game. He missed all of last year with a shoulder injury, spending the year on injured reserve.
The Cowboys let last year's swing tackle, Jermey Parnell walk in free agency and he signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal with the Jaguars to start. Parnell had to start six games, including the playoff due to injuries to Free.
Weems remains the leader for the all-important swing tackle spot, but the Cowboys might have other options if a tackle is needed. Guards Zack Martin and La'el Collins both played tackle in college, as did Ronald Leary.
And don't rule out the possibility of claiming a waived tackle when teams cut down the roster to 53 players on Sept. 5.
But for now, Weems remains the Cowboys' top choice and according to his head coach, he's improving by the day.