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November 14, 2012

Mackenzy Bernadeau takes snaps at first-team center with Cook, Costa out of practice

Mackenzy Bernadeau has never played a snap at center in a regular-season game, but he's ready to do it if needed. Bernadeau took the first-team snaps at center with Phil Costa (ankle) and Ryan Cook (knee) missing practice. Derrick Dockery practiced with the first team at right guard.

Costa is expected to miss a fourth consecutive game, while Cook expects to play. Bernadeau is ready either way.

"Whenever someone goes down, someone’s got to step up and play," Bernadeau said. "My mentality since I’ve been in the league was the more you can do the better, so I’ve always been trying to learn all three interior positions. So I had that mindset coming in from the get-go."

Bernadeau has started every game at right guard. His off-season hip surgery, followed by a knee injury that kept him out of part of training camp, prevented him from getting much work at the center position. But after nine games, he feels comfortable doing both again.

"Other than snapping the ball and getting it up to [Tony] Romo, making the calls and telling everybody else what to do, not too bad," Bernadeau said when asked if the center position was more complicated than guard. "Nah, I'd say if it a first-time deal, it’d be a little bit complicated. But just knowing the system, knowing the guys you’re playing with and being familiar with the guard and center position in the past, it’s easy to transition."

Bernadeau had never played or practiced at center until his rookie year in Carolina when the Panthers asked him to try it. He was their backup center his four years there, though he only got on the field at center for a game in the preseason.

-- Charean Williams

Twitter: @NFLCharean




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