IRVING, Texas --Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau's expected 2-3 month rehab from hip surgery isn't just a setback for the 25-year-old free agent signing.
With changes expected on at least four of five positions, the Cowboys' revamped offensive line needs as much on-field work together as possible.
Tackles Doug Free and Tyron Smith are returning starters, but they're switching sides. Bernadeau and fellow free agent addition Nate Livings are the projected new guards. Phil Costa is the incumbent center, but he faces competition from Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski.
It's not out of the question that the Cowboys could have new starters at all five spots in the Sept. 5 season opener.
The Cowboys will start Organized Team Activities (OTA's) Monday without Bernadeau. Nagy, a three-game starter at left guard last year, 2011 fourth-round pick David Arkin and maybe a guy like rookie free agent Ronald Leary could get more reps in Bernadeau's absence.
"We'll find out more when we get out on the field, but we do have some new guys," head coach Jason Garrett said last week. "The offensive line maybe more than any other unit has to gel. They have to learn to play together, communicate better."