As the days draw near for the Cowboys to report to camp in Oxnard, one of the biggest questions remains is how will this offensive line look when they open the season against the Giants. Those practices and games in camp will tell us plenty in what direction this front office and coaching staff will go before that time. There will be a battle at right tackle between Doug Free and Jermey Parnell. Rookie Travis Frederick will start the camp running with the first offense at center over Phil Costa but the position that needs our attention is at the guard spot and will Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau be able to fight off the challenge of Ronald Leary.
Last season at this time, Leary was just a rookie trying to make his way through practices. He was thrown into the lineup early in camp because of injuries to the two starting guards, but he wasn't ready to play. He started off well but the everyday grind of the practices and the mental side of the game was just too much thus he didn't make the 53 and spent the majority of the season on the practice squad.
As we focus on this season, in the OTA's and mini-camps, Leary received snaps playing on both the left and right side while Livings and Bernadeau continued to once again nurse injuries. What I have seen from Leary this season that I didn't see last year is a confident player. There never we questions about his physical ability but whether he could be assignment sound and handle that down after down. In these camps, you didn't see the missed assignments or the lack of awareness in scheme that gave him so many problems last year. Even working on both sides and with a rookie center, he has passed stunts, worked to the second level and been in position to finish his block. I didn't see a player that was confused or lost. I could see the physical side of him come out because he was confident in what he was doing.
As much as I want to believe in the overall health of Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau as this team prepares for the upcoming season, there are still those questions in my mind and this is where Ronald Leary comes into to play. My gut tells me that Leary has made enough strides in the mental side of the game and with his experience of last season in camp and on the scout team, he made a great deal of progress. He is a different player and the front [embedded_ad] office along with the coaches see a different player. The last thing this organization wants to do is go into the season with questions along the offensive line. The goal is to find the best five and roll with that group. Ronald Leary has the ability to be one of the best five and when they break camp in California and he will be the starter at one of those guard spots because of his ability. The front office and coaches were very high on Leary when they signed him from Memphis after the 2012 NFL Draft, this is his time to prove them right and my gut tells me, he will.