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October 30, 2013

RG Mackenzy Bernadeau wants to make the most of his second chance starting

Mackenzy Bernadeau admits Brian Waters'arrival was not welcome news for him. The Cowboys didn't give Waters a one-year deal with a $1.5 million base salary to sit the bench, which meant that's where Bernadeau was headed.

"I’m not going to lie," Bernadeau said Wednesday. "At first, when he came in, obviously it frustrated me to bring somebody in. At the same time, I had respect for Waters. I knew he was. I think we all knew who he was beforehand. It was great just to learn from him. Is it easy to accept? No, because you never want to be replaced. But it’s part of the business. Rightfully so. The team did what they have to do. He’s a great player. I’m glad we had him. I learned a lot from him. I think we all learned a lot from him as an offensive line, and I think he made us a lot better."

Bernadeau has the starting right guard job back, though not the way he wanted. Waters has a torn triceps, which could end his season and possibly his career.

“I’ve always prepped since I’ve been here to be a starter,” Bernadeau said. “Now you’re just starting the game. I’ve done it before. I’ve done it this season. I’ve always prepped for being ready. This is no different.”

Bernadeau started 19 consecutive games after signing a four-year, $11 million deal with the Cowboys during the 2012 off-season. But the Cowboys signed Waters on Sept. 4 to take Bernadeau's job.

"I thought he handled it well both when he was playing and when Brian became the full-time starter," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "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."

Bernadeau playedall 77 offensive snaps in the season opener with Waters inactive. He played 46 of 64 in Week 2 as Waters made his Cowboys' debut with a couple of series. Bernadeau and Waters alternated series in Week 3 with Bernadeau playing 38 of 62 snaps.

Waters started in Week 4, and Bernadeau went four games without an offensive snap. Bernadeau played 25 of 57 snaps after Waters twice left with injuries Sunday.

"You’ve got to be mentally strong in the game, and you’ve just got to know that no matter what happens, your number is going to be called again, and you’ve got to be ready to play," Bernadeau said. "The whole goal of the offensive line is to continue to get better, have no setbacks no matter who’s in there. So you’ve just got to be mentally strong."

-- Charean Williams



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