Earlier today, Stephen Jones said the Cowboys' offensive line is no longer a question mark, as the addition of Brian Waters upgrades the starting line and bolsters depth.
"Getting Waters takes us from being a big, big question mark on the front end to having good depth," Jones said. "You take a starter last year in Bernadeau and he may ultimately be a backup. You know what we think of Costa and Parnell; it gives you a solid eight there. We are pleased."
One day after agreeing to terms with the Dallas Cowboys, Brian Waters practiced for the first time with his new team. Sporting the number 64 instead of his customary 54, Waters practiced at right guard with the second team. But even before Waters had taken his first practice snap, speculation abounded about whether Waters would play in the season opener on Sunday. And while Garrett indicated after practice that Waters would be able to play "pretty soon," but wouldn't commit to an exact timing:
"He’s been a very good player for a long time, as a protector, as a run-blocker," Garrett said. "He’s big, strong, physical, athletic. He plays with the right kind of demeanor. He’s been that way for a long time. You can ask anybody who has ever evaluated him in house or from afar, and everybody would say that. He missed training camp prior to playing in New England a couple years ago, but he had played the previous season, so that would be one difference. He didn’t play last year, so we have to respect and understand that, but again, we think he’s in relatively good shape. We’ll see what kind of progress he makes over the next few days."
Shortly after news of the Water's became public, it became something of a sport to dig up all sorts of info on why Waters would be a boost to the Cowboys' O-line. A sampling:
- In 12 NFL seasons, Waters has allowed 18 sacks and committed 18 false starts, according to Stats Inc.
- In 2011, Waters signed with the Patriots on September 4th and played in the season opener. He signed with the Cowboys on September 3rd this year. Impeccable logic dictates he'll be ready for the season opener - even though he had eight days to prepare in New England, and only five in Dallas.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas noted on Twitter that the Cowboys will now have the NFL Man of the Year from 2009 (Brian Waters) and 2012 (Jason Witten) on their roster.
- Waters was the best pass-blocking guard in 2011, according to Pro Football Focus.
- Ed Werder of ESPN, also per Twitter, offered this input: "Know this about Brian Waters. So respected, when Jevon Belcher tragedy occurred, NFLPA sent him that day to counsel KC players."
But perhaps the most noteworthy piece of information came from Carlos Mendez of the Star-Telegram this afternoon.
Cowboys list Brian Waters at 6-3, 320 today. Listed at 6-3, 318 by the Patriots in 2011.— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) September 4, 2013
For a guy who played his last game of football 18 months ago, gaining only two pounds over that period is pretty impressive - and is one of the reasons the Cowboys are so optimistic about what and when Waters will contribute this year.
The Cowboys will likely start Waters at right guard between Frederick and Free, who'd be back at the right tackle spot where he belongs. That would give the Cowboys a starting offensive line as follows:
Tyron Smith - Ronald Leary - Travis Frederick - Brian Waters - Doug Free
Leary on a starting line with him and Waters at guard and Free at RT: " That's a great line, right there. Very physical"— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) September 4, 2013
Add former NFL starters Phil Costa and Mackenzy Bernadeau as the primary backups at center and guard, as well as Jermey Parnell as the swing tackle, and maybe, just maybe, Cowboys fans can feel a little bit more optimistic about their O-line than they have done for quite a while.
More from Blogging The Boys:
- Cowboys Practice Update: Anthony Spencer Still Out, Brian Waters Practices
- KDP's 10 For 10 Is Back! 2013 Week One Pick'Em Contest
- Cowboys Fixing The Last Issues Before The Season Starts
- Cowboys Crunchtime's 2013 Season Preview Podcast ft. Mike Fisher, BTB's FPWs, Jay Novacek And Bradie James
- Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Early Reactions To Brian Waters Signing