Mackenzy Bernadeau has started four games at right guard since Brian Waters went out of the Detroit game with a torn triceps, among other injuries, that ended his season.
It apparently has been a seamless return to the starting lineup.
“Yes, Brian was playing well, but Mac has really elevated his play,” offensive coordinator and line coach Bill Callahan said. “You can see. We certainly can as a staff.”
Bernadeau started the first three games of the year before giving way to the veteran Waters, who signed in Week 1. Waters started five games, from the San Diego game in Week 4 until the Detroit game in Week 8.
“Maybe sitting back helped him when Brian was in there for him, gave him a different perspective,” Callahan said of Bernadeau. “Maybe he looked at the game differently – I don’t know. I never asked him that, but I just encouraged him to keep playing. I told him, ‘Look, you never know what’s going to happen, and this is such a long season and we need everybody. So keep your head into it.’
“He was a pro about it. If there was one guy who I would commend just being an absolute pro in every aspect of handling that move, it was Mac.”
Garrett said Bernadeau’s improvement and experience has helped the running game.
“He is getting better the more he plays,” Garrett said. “He is getting more confident. The balance we had last week against Oakland starts with our ability to block up front. He has been a big part of that.”
Right tackle Doug Free, playing next to Bernadeau, said, “He’s doing a great job. He played a year last year. So it was just a matter of getting him back in and getting back rolling with him.”
Bernadeau said he is happy to hear the kind words, but said he still wants to improve.
“I appreciate that. It’s nice to hear,” he said. “But there are things I’m still working on. Got to be more consistent.”
-- Carlos Mendez