Darrion Weems has gotten work with the first team at both right tackle and left tackle this week. The Cowboys are hoping Weems can develop into the swing tackle Jermey Parnell was last season.
“Every day is an opportunity,” Weems said. “Come out every day and you take it day by day.”
Weems, 26, has never played in a regular-season game. He missed all of last season after injuring his shoulder in training camp, spending the year on injured reserve.
Parnell signed a five-year, $32 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving Weems to take over his role. Parnell started seven games, including both playoff games, in place of injured right tackle Doug Free.
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“Darrion is doing a good job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s getting better. He missed a lot of that time, because of the injury last year, but we like what he’s all about. He’s one of those young players that has some ability, and he works at it. You see him progressing. He needs to be in those situations. In the pass-rush situations, he needs to go against some of the better rushers on the team to see how he responds to that, and certainly in the 11-on-11 situations, as well.
“He needs to have position flex to play both right and left tackle, and we think he has the traits to do that. He just needs experience, he needs to play football.”
Weems started 14 games at left tackle as a senior at Oregon in 2011, but the Cowboys see him as a natural right tackle. He needs work at left tackle to prove he can play the position in case of injury to Tyron Smith.
Weems said he feels “all right” at both positions.
“Jermey Parnell was in exactly Weems position a couple of years ago,” Garrett said. “He was a former basketball player from Old Miss, on our practice squad, real questions about whether he was able to do it. Same approach with Weems. Stick him out there against good guys and keep challenging him. Keep putting him in one-on-one situations; keep putting him in 11-on-11 situations. His job is an important one. That swing tackle is critical. Jermey Parnell responded well with it. He grew immensely as a player over the course of his time with us, and Weems is in the same situation. It’s in our past now. Unfortunately, Weems missed an opportunity last year to grow because he had done some good things up to that point. He’s worked very hard to come back from his injury, and he’s taking advantage of his opportunities. It will be fun to see him play on Thursday.”
Weems grew as a player last season, he said, despite missing the season. He stayed involved with the team while rehabbing his shoulder.
“Whenever you miss a year doing something you love, it’s very tough,” he said. “But I went to all the meetings. I didn’t miss any meetings. I didn’t miss any of the stuff. I was there with the guys the whole time. I feel like that helped just my understanding of the game and things of that nature.”
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760