OXNARD, Calif. — Early on in training camp, a lot of eyes are honed in on the offensive line group with so many storylines circulating about almost every start up front.
Whether it's Zack Martin's holdout, Tyron Smith's durability, Terence Steele's return from injury or Tyler Smith's second season looming, there are a lot of different talking points surrounding the wall up front and it is a challenge that offensive line coach Mike Solari has taken head on.
In his first season back in Dallas, Solari has been encouraged with the buy-in and leadership from the group up front and how they have developed in his short time in the building.
"I'm just looking forward to working with and developing this offensive line," Solari said. "It's a very good group of men. They have great leadership within the group. It's exciting. I think we're gonna have something special."
Six-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin has still not arrived in Oxnard, but for Solari, he sees it as an opportunity for a guy outside the top-five to make his mark.
"We want Zack here, but it's part of the business," he said. "It gives another man an opportunity to get reps in practice and develop. They're all competing and working hard. The best five will start, and they'll define that role. It's a good group."
Terence Steele surprised just about everyone around the franchise when he was cleared in time to participate in training camp less than eight months after tearing his ACL and MCL, which Solari conveys as a testament to his determination off the field.
"It's unbelievable in the sense of his dedication, his passion and his work ethic," he said. "The grit that he's come along and developed and [he's] put himself in position off of that injury. He's worked hard with great dedication and great leadership."
Eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith hasn't played a full season since 2015, and after playing in just four games last season, questions about his durability have rightfully grown to a deafening level.
However, when asked if he could last a full season, Solari is confident in his starting left tackle.
"Absolutely," he said. "Tyron's a pro, not only on the field but off the field. His preparation, he's a great leader of men. You can sense his work ethic in practice. Injuries are a part of the game, but we're counting on him being a part of every game."
Tyler Smith stepped in and provided needed help at left tackle last season when Tyron Smith went down in the preseason, but Solari likes the second-year Tulsa product to hone in on his natural position ahead of year No. 2.
"Right now, he's locking in at the left guard spot," Solari said. "Absolutely he can play both, he's a talented football player, but we want him locking in at that left guard spot so he can master the fundamentals with the center, with the tackle and keep ascending as an offensive lineman. It's exciting, he can play four positions."
With or without Zack Martin, Solari will trot out his starting offensive line for the first time next Saturday when the Cowboys take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first preseason game of the year.