Bernadeau ready to re-establish himself

IRVING, Texas – With Brian Waters likely done for the season because of a triceps injury, the Dallas Cowboys will return to Mackenzy Bernadeau at right guard again.

“It's time for me to re-establish myself as an offensive starter,” Bernadeau said after Wednesday's practice. “Obviously things didn't work out the way I wanted to, but bringing in a guy like Brian Waters, he's a great player. My mindset is I'm a starting guard no matter where I go or where I play. That's the mindset since I've been here.”

Bernadeau started every game last year after joining the Cowboys as a free agent with a four-year deal from Carolina. He started the first two games this season but took only a handful of offensive snaps in five games before Waters got hurt against the Detroit Lions.

“I'm not going to lie, at first when he came in obviously you're frustrated bringing somebody in,” Bernadeau said, “but at the same time I had respect for Waters and I knew who he was and I think we all knew who he was beforehand. It's great just to learn from him. Is it easier to accept? No, because you never want to be replaced, but it's part of the business. Rightfully so the team did what it had to do. But he's a great player. I learned a lot from him. We all learned a lot from him.”

The Cowboys will give Waters time to see if he can return this season, but coach Jason Garrett said they could make a decision in a few days. In Wednesday's practice, right tackle Doug Free took his first snaps of the regular season at guard and center Travis Frederick took some in case they are pressed into duty because of injury.

Free started a preseason game at right guard.

“Having a little bit of experience there is definitely going to help if it does happen,” Free said.

But the hope is Bernadeau picked up some tricks from Waters and performs well.

“Thought he handled it well both when he was playing and when Brian became the full time starter,” Garrett said of Bernadeau. “He got himself ready to play. He knew he was the first guy going in if we had an injury at any of the interior line spots and he prepared that way. That showed in the game the other day when he went in. I think he played north of 30 or 35 snaps in the game and handled himself well.