IRVING, Texas – The offensive line spent the bye week moving rookie La'el Collins into the starting lineup and examining how the overall unit can improve going forward.
"I think guys are playing hard," offensive line coach Frank Pollack said Thursday after the team's final practice of the week. "We're always striving for perfection. It's something you can never reach, but we're always striving to get there. As the old saying goes, you strive for perfection and find excellence along the way."
The unit will have a different look on the left side Oct. 25 against the Giants. The coaching staff has decided to promote Collins at left guard, sending Ron Leary, a 34-game starter since 2013, into a reserve role. Pollack said Leary remains a "vital cog in the wheel" and will stay ready.
Injuries and time off possibly have affected Leary's performance. A back injury limited him for part of training camp and a strained groin sidelined him against the Eagles and Falcons.
"All of that adds up," Pollack said. "It's hard to miss time and play at a high level that you expect to be playing at."
Collins helped replace Leary in both of those games, and he made his first career start in Week 3 against Atlanta. In evaluating the entire offense during the bye, the coaches determined the promising undrafted rookie has played well enough to earn another starting opportunity.
Pollack been pleased with Collins' development even though he hasn't seen certain defensive looks in live action.
"He's made a lot of good progress in his technique, his body control and position, his balance," Pollack said. "He's done a lot of growing as far as his awareness to schemes and what teams are doing. He's going to continue to grow. The more he plays, the better he'll be."
Collins will get his chance.