OXNARD, Calif. – While a new guard seems to get hurt every day, one starting guard is on his way to a return.
Mackenzy Bernadeau was on the field and with the first team for the first time this camp since injuring his hamstring in the conditioning test when the team arrived in Oxnard, Calif. Bernadeau said he doesn't plan on playing in the Hall of Fame Game, but he'll get into the afternoon practice Friday if he can move around without any pain or issues.
"Just working my way back in," Bernadeau said. "It's feeling a lot better. I'm just trying to get some reps in and see what I can do. As long as there are no setbacks, I'm going to keep moving forward."
Bernadeau, who's dealt with a variety of injuries since joining the Cowboys, including hip, shoulder and hamstring problems, knows it's more important right now to play it safe. However, he also realizes Nate Livings is out, as well as three other guards.
"You don't want to reinjure anything," Bernadeau said. "It's unfortunate we have a lot of injuries in the interior of the line. I'm at a comfort level where I feel all right. It's not going to hurt me. It's only going to get better."
Bernadeau wanted to practice Friday, particularly because next week is a short week after the Hall of Fame Game. He said he ran well Thursday and hasn't experienced any setbacks. He also said the Cowboys' second preseason game against Oakland could be a goal, but right now it's tough to say.
Head coach Jason Garrett addressed the media Friday between the walkthrough and the afternoon practice and said he expects to see Bernadeau practicing some today and tight end James Hanna getting some work as well. Both players were out with hamstring issues.
Garrett touched on the guard situation, the upcoming Hall of Fame Game and a few other topics as well during his daily press conference:
- Garrett confirmed that guard Nate Livings had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his knee, but he only anticipates him being out a couple weeks after the cleanup. "It's still early," he said. "It's better to address those things right now."
- A couple reports have stated that Tony Romo won't play this weekend. Garrett didn't clear up the subject, saying Romo would fall into the category of a playing time situation he doesn't want to talk about at this point. Garrett's treating the Hall of Fame Game like most first preseason games, meaning the starters won't get much work.
- Garrett anticipates Travis Frederick playing in each of the preseason games. He said Frederick will play more center than guard, but he's getting work at guard in practice as well.
- Alex Albright had a back injury that crept up on him, and Garrett doesn't expect the linebacker to play Sunday. He said injuries provide opportunity and to expect to see a lot of the younger guys playing in this game. It's important to Garrett that everybody on the roster gets a chance to prove his worth during the preseason.
- Garrett has said for years that he values the quarterback position, but last year was a rarity with the Cowboys only keeping two quarterbacks on the roster. He said he'd like to keep a developmental guy if he's worth the spot. Alex Tanney and Nick Stephens are both competing for that opportunity.
- The addition of new coaches on both offense and defense were important to Garrett, because he wanted a new set of eyes looking over what the team's doing and evaluating. "Often times you can get too close to something," he said.
- Jay Ratliff hasn't been out on the field since the start of training camp, but Garrett said he's making progress doing individual work and in the weight room. He didn't say when he expects Ratliff back, but he did say he wants to see all of his players in the preseason. Still, if they're not healthy by the start of the year, the amount of football they've played previously will play a role in the decision to play in the opener.
- The added practice time is a benefit in Garrett's mind, but he also knows the team has a long way to go. He said he feels good about the guys on the team and their work ethic, noting specifically that guard Ron Leary has come a long way from where he was at last year.
"We're a long way off, but if you stand at this point 14 days into practice on any football team around the league this year or any year, you probably see the same things," Garrett said. "We're not where we need to be. We're not even close. These preseason games are important." *
The Cowboys signed guard Jeff Olson yesterday, but he left practice yesterday after getting hit in the head. Garrett doesn't expect him back today and will wait to see if he plays Sunday. [embedded_ad]
Garrett referred to Larry Allen as a "slam dunk first-ballot Hall of Famer." He described Allen as different from everybody else in a positive way and said he had a nastiness that distinguished him and set the tone. Garrett had vivid memories of watching film of Allen pulling and knocking linebackers horizontally across the screen.
Garrett grew up outside Cleveland as a child, and he was amazed when he went to the Hall of Fame as a kid seeing the busts of the players. Since then, he's played and coached in the game and still gets the same feeling. "Just the way the league has captured it through the years, I just think it's amazing," he said.