IRVING, Texas – Just last week, some of the Cowboys' starting offensive linemen were asked to address the comments of rookie La'el Collins, who suggested this group has a chance to be the best in NFL history.
Offensive tackle Tyron Smith downplayed that prediction but said he would rather be considered "the hardest-working line" in the league. Those sentiments were obviously shared by teammates Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.
While it's only been a couple of OTA practices this summer, new tailback Darren McFadden certainly wouldn't disagree with the notion. McFadden said he knew how good this line was before he signed with the Cowboys back in the spring, but he didn't know the kind of hours they put in.
"Those guys are working hard. They are some of the hardest-working guys I've been around," McFadden said of his new offensive linemen. "They go out there and work as hard as they do, I love that as a running back."
McFadden spent his first seven years in the NFL with the Raiders, who drafted him No. 4 overall in 2008. While he's battled injuries throughout his career, and enjoyed only one 1,000-yard season, McFadden said he's more than excited about this fresh start.
"Once you've been in a place so long like Oakland, you can get set in your ways," McFadden said Wednesday, after his second OTA practice with the Cowboys. "Coming out here and being around guys that work so hard, it just brings out the best in you. It's something I look forward to."
McFadden is splitting first-team reps with Joseph Randle, although this is the time of the year when the coaching staff just wants to mix and match personnel groups. For McFadden, he's not caught up in where or how he lines up just yet.
"For me, I'm just going out there grinding. However the coaches put me out there – whether it's first team or second team. When it comes time for them to make a decision, it's totally up to them. I'm just trying to get that playbook down and take advantage of this opportunity."
The Cowboys lost the NFL's leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, who signed with the Eagles this offseason after his 1,835-yard rushing season, the most in Cowboys history.
Currently the Cowboys have Randle, McFadden, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams as the top four tailbacks on the roster along with Synjyn Days, an undrafted rookie from Georgia Tech.