Cowboys OG Mackenzy Bernadeau has hip surgery, will be out up to 3 months

Projected Cowboys starting RG Mackenzy Bernadeau will miss 10-12 weeks, due to surgery that he had over the weekend to repair a tear in his right hip, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.

This is potentially a big hit to the Cowboys’ OL, as they were already going to be entering the season with almost no continuity.  Here’s what the opening day starting 5 along the Cowboys OL has looked like over the past 2 years and the projected line in 2012:

Cowboys 2010 2011 2012
LT Doug Free Doug Free Tyron Smith
LG Kyle Kosier Bill Nagy Nate Livings
C Andre Gurode Phil Costa Phil Costa?
RG Leonard Davis Kyle Kosier Mackenzy Bernadeau
RT Marc Colombo Tyron Smith Doug Free

With Bernadeau now likely to miss all OTA’s and possibly all of training camp, the Cowboys OL will lose invaluable time being able to gel this offseason.

When the Cowboys signed Bernadeau back in March, he was a complete mystery to me, and to most Cowboys fans. Here’s what I wrote about him then:

The Cowboys signed some dude that (I’ll be honest here) I’ve never heard of. His name is Mackenzy Bernadeau.  He’s a guard.  I’m going to do something that hurts my very soul – Since I don’t know a thing about this guy, I’m going to give you Pro Football Focus’ grades for him. (Nothing against PFF here, by the way. Their snap counts are invaluable. I just put very little stock in their grading system. OK, so there’s a little against PFF, I guess).  Anyway, in 2009, Bernadeau played 515 snaps, and PFF gave him a grade of -13.7.  In 2010, he played 771 snaps, and PFF gave him a grade of -10.5.  In 2011, in would appear he lost his starting job, as he played 125 snaps and had a grade of +3.4.  Apparently, he was drafted in 2008 in the 7th round out of Bentley University.  Apologies for my egregious lack of knowledge here.

Once some people had a chance to put in some tape of him, like the great Bob Sturm did after the signing:

Bernadeau is a player that has started in the past and did not look the part. However, in limited action in 2011, he replaced Wharton who had slid out to left tackle and Bernadeau performed quite well. It was just 125 snaps or so, but in watching him, he looked the part of a promising young guard who might be ready to play well.

His run blocking was strong and he was able to hold his blocks better than Livings. His pass protection was hard work, but he held his own pretty well. Again, a very small sample size, but he may be a developmental player who has developed enough to be worth the shot. Of course, the fact that Carolina didn’t fight hard to keep him when losing Wharton should make us slow our optimism a bit. But, I like the signing at the price and think he has a good shot to be ok.

Let’s not lose focus on the draft as well. This is one of the deepest guard drafts in a while, with many players we think could step right in and start available in the top 100 picks. If the Cowboys decide to go that route, they might have a strong interior. In fact, one source indicated to me that center is a possibility for Bernadeau if they did select a guard in the top few rounds. Or, they could pick one of the few top centers and fix that spot as well.

As Sturm noted, the draft was rich with talent at Guard, but in typical Jerry Jones fashion, he did not address the position. If the Cowboys are not comfortable starting Bernadeau by Week 1, they will be left with a guy that has not yet been able to get on the football field (David Arkin), a guy that stunk last year (Bill Nagy), a marginal pro (Kevin Kowalski), and an undrafted free agent (Ronald Leary). Not good.

Last season, the Cowboys brought in Montrae Holland mid-season, and he actually played pretty well from Week 7 until he partially tore his biceps in Week 16. If I’m the Cowboys, I’m getting my doctors to look at Holland immediately.

8 Comments

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  7. DerfDiggy says:

    Hey Jimmy,

    Is there anything the Cowboys have done WELL with in recent past. At all?
    Rat’s declining, the line is in shambles, D.Ware is a liability in the run game, Jerry is Jerry, the bullies up front aren’t bullies.

    I’m not even trolling or trying to be what most of your readers call a typical cowboys fan. I’m sincerely curious.

    1. You forgot my 2-week ranting on Anthony Spencer, ha.

      But yeah, purely from a front office standpoint, I really liked the Connor signing, I think the Crawford kid might be a player, and despite my critique of the draft I do think the secondary will be vastly improved.

      Otherwise, I think Austin has somehow become one of the more underrated players in the game, Ware is obviously great (even if I noted his weak play against the run in a couple games against Philly), Witten is great, Murray/Felix could be a nice 1-2 if they can stay healthy, Tyron Smith has the potential to be a star, Laurent Robinson and Dan Bailey were tremendous finds, etc etc.

      All of the above has been written about in some form here.

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