Mackenzy Bernadeau adjusts to left side

IRVING, Texas -- Doug Free's move from right tackle to right guard has garnered most of the attention in the last week or so, but Mackenzy Bernadeau was affected, too, moving from right guard to left guard.

“It’s just more practice on your technique and repetitions on the plays,” Bernadeau said. “I’ve played left before, so I was familiar with it. The whole offseason I pretty much worked the right side with my steps and getting in synch with the kick and timing and so it’s just an adjustment with that and getting used to doing it with the opposite leg, opposite side and opposite hand.”

The Cowboys are hoping Ronald Leary will be able to return from knee surgery in time for the Sept. 8 opener against the New York Giants, which could move Bernadeau back to right guard or force him to a backup role if the coaches want to go with Free and Jermey Parnell on the right side.

“For just having a week of practice it wasn’t too bad,” Bernadeau said of his work against Cincinnati, “but I know I can play better. I know I can get a lot better on the left side.”

Along with the technique adjustment, Bernadeau said he has to get used to left tackle Tyron Smith.

“Playing with Doug I understood his sets and his thought process,” Bernadeau said. “I’m just starting to see that with Tyron and adjusting, because his sets are a little different than Doug’s … Me and Tyron are a lot more verbal than me and Doug, because me and Doug understood each other.”

Bernadeau did not practice Monday or Tuesday because of an ankle sprain, but said if the Cowboys had a real game Sunday he would be able to play. Most of the starters will sit out of Thursday’s game against Houston.

Full-time preparation for the Giants starts Monday.

“I want to come back as soon as possible,” Bernadeau said. “I think it’s more precaution. It’s not going to hurt, but you don’t want to make it anything worse.”