Cowboys notes: More questions than answers at guard

Posted Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Dallas Cowboys had hoped to use training camp to solidify questions along the offensive line and develop some chemistry with rookie center Travis Frederick.

But a rash of injuries, including the latest setback with guard Ron Leary’s needing minor knee surgery, has left everything in flux.

Leary had taken over the starting role at left guard after Nate Livings underwent arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago.

Leary had been expected to start the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 8, but he was headed to Dallas for arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday. Leary is expected to be out 2-4 weeks, putting his status for the opener in jeopardy.

The Cowboys are hopeful he can return in two weeks.

“We don’t think it’s too serious,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We think it can get cleaned up and he can get back on the practice field in a couple of weeks.”

The Cowboys have been plagued by injuries at the guard position since the start of camp.

Livings missed the early part of camp with a cut on his foot before having to undergo knee surgery, the third on his left knee in his career.

Right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau was out early with a hamstring injury. Leary had a foot injury that kept him out the first two weeks of camp.

Backup guards Kevin Kowalski (knee), Ryan Cook (back) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder) still are out.

“It’s just part of the game,” Garrett said.

Offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan agreed.

“I’m used to this,” he said. “Don’t blink. Don’t flinch. Keep moving.”

The Cowboys still hope to entice veteran guard Brian Waters to join the Cowboys with a one-year contract after they return home from camp next week.

But short of that, they could move Frederick to guard and play backup Phil Costa at center.

That would give them a chance to put their best five linemen on the field, though it may not be the best position for Frederick.

But playing Frederick at guard would be better than going with David Arkin to start the regular-season opener against the Giants if Leary or Livings aren’t ready to go.

Arkin will start at left guard opposite Bernadeau in Saturday’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. Frederick could play some at guard.

“We’re two guards down at that spot,” Callahan said. “We’ll have to see what we do going forward. We really haven’t finalized anything. I think all combinations are alive. We just haven’t settled on one.

“We’ll see how they respond and make our plans accordingly. We haven’t announced anything, and we’re not going to until after the game. We’ll look at some other combinations possibly or maybe just stay where we’re at. We’ll get a good evaluation.’’

The Waters watch

Owner Jerry Jones said Ron Leary’s injury setback hasn’t caused the Cowboys to increase the intensity of their recruitment of veteran guard Brian Waters.

Jones said Leary (arthroscopic knee surgery) should be back by the season opener.

Jones said the Cowboys remain interested in a veteran guard.

Leary’s situation hasn’t changed that. They felt that way when they went after former New York Jets guard Brandon Moore last week. Moore decided to retire.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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