The Dallas Cowboys won’t see newly-signed guard Mackenzy Bernadeau wearing a star for a while; the fifth-year veteran underwent surgery on his right hip over the weekend and is expected to be sidelined for 10-12 weeks. Signed as a free agent in March to be a starter right away, Bernadeau’s spot is now up for grabs, as it should have been from the get-go.
The surgery required to repair the tear in Bernadeau’s right hip is unfortunate in that he’ll miss time and will get behind in leaning the Cowboys’ offense, but it’s a good thing in that Dallas’ coaching staff will be forced to remember another young guard who turned heads at a break-neck pace last year.
Second-year guard Bill Nagy was a stud as a rookie in 2011, starting three of his first four games before breaking his ankle and missing the remainder of the season. He showed an explosive first step at the snap and the suaveness and footwork of a five-year veteran. Nagy should now be a starting guard for the Cowboys and compete with Bernadeau for that spot when he returns.
The fact Bernadeau was handed the starting spot after four decent years with the Carolina Panthers is absurd. That’s not to say he won’t win the job, because he very likely could, but just pretending like Nagy doesn’t exist anymore is incredibly ignorant by Jason Garrett and the Cowboys’ coaching staff.
Another second-year offensive lineman who deserves a shot at a starting spot is Kevin Kowalski. In limited work last year, Kowalski was very impressive snapping the ball and then protecting Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. The same can’t be said for current starter Phil Costa, who was arguably the worst starting center in the NFL last season.
In short, Dallas needs to re-evaluate its youth on the interior offensive line because ignoring these promising young players is not something a team truly intent on contending for a title does.