Not many would be surprised if Ronald Leary was starting at left guard when the Dallas Cowboys open the season on Sept. 8.
Leary played the entire game Sunday night, a 24-20 win over the Miami Dolphins, and Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones liked what he saw from the second-year undrafted player out of Memphis.
When asked after the game if he’d be comfortable with Leary starting on opening night, Jones said he would.
“Yes,” Jones said. “Yes. I don’t want to be the coach, but I’m comfortable. I’ve seen, he just adds a substance, it’s not just his size, it’s his punch. He adds a base in that middle and if you put that with [Travis] Frederick in there and that really changes things up for us with what we have.”
Frederick, the Cowboys’ first-round pick in April, started at center but moved to right guard when backup center Phil Costa entered the game. Leary, Frederick and Costa formed a solid group up the middle.
“I was glad to see those interior guys play most of the game and they did,” Jones said. “We really had our eyes on those guys. We saw them do some good things out there. That’s going to give them improvement and give us confidence in them.”
Leary and Frederick were given extended time because the Cowboys have so many injuries at the guard positions. Interior linemen Mackenzy Bernadeau [hamstring], Nate Livings [groin], Ryan Cook [back] and Kevin Kowalski [knee] were all held out of Sunday night’s game. Bernadeau and Livings were the starters at right and left guard last season.