FRISCO, Texas – Back from his five-game NFL suspension, La'el Collins will work at tackle and guard in practice, head coach Mike McCarthy said, with Terence Steele still the first-team right tackle to start the week.
"We're going to push him in there," McCarthy said of Collins. "He looks good. He moved well Monday. LC has position flex.
"We're going to start the week with Terence at right tackle, but LC gives us some great competition in there. So we're going to try to work him as much as possible this week."
The Cowboys' unofficial depth chart lists Collins as the backup right tackle behind Steele and the backup left guard behind Connor Williams this week, though McCarthy referenced healthy competition on the line moving forward.
Collins as been the starting right tackle when healthy and available since 2017. He started 14 games at left guard his first two years with the Cowboys (2015-2016) before moving out to right tackle following Doug Free's retirement.
Collins missed the entire 2020 season with a hip injury requiring surgery. He started this year's opener at Tampa Bay before his five-game suspension took effect.
Steele started 14 games at right tackle as an undrafted rookie last season and showed improvement there in five starts so far this season during Collins' suspension.
"You clearly have to recognize how well Terence played. We all recognize that," McCarthy said. "Continuity on the offensive line is something that you're always striving to sustain over the course of the year. The intricacies of what goes on there up front, the reps that they play together is crucial. We want to continue to grow that, but also I think this gives us the most competitive, the most depth I know that I've had in my time here in the offensive line room."
Collins hasn't played guard in several years. How quickly can he adjust to that position again?
"Well, we'll find out," McCarthy said. "That's all part of it. I think position flex is always important. We'll see how it goes. I look forward to seeing him back out there.
"He's a pro. LC has gone through a tough spot being out of it here for five weeks. I think he's done a really good job in the weight room and staying on top of his conditioning. He's just anxious to get back out there."