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May 17, 2014

Martin can't help but notice offensive line vets watching him in first rookie minicamp practice

Out of the corner of his eye, Zack Martin had to notice them.

Doug Free, Tyron Smith and Mackenzy Bernadeau watching from the sideline.

“Yeah,” Martin said. “I saw them.”

The veteran linemen showed a ton of interest in the work of Martin at right guard on his first day of rookie minicamp practice Friday. They already knew his work in the classroom. They were getting a first look at it on the field.

“That’s been going on in football for a long, long time,” coach Jason Garrett said. “When you bring a new crew of guys in, guys who have been here for a while kind of want to check out what the competition is. And that’s a good thing for your team. We’re always trying to create competition. We want to make our team better on all different levels. And the veteran players typically do that. They want to keep an eye on who’s coming in.”

Martin, the Cowboys’ first-round pick, said the veterans have been helpful in their first exposure to him.

“We’ve got to work with them and meet with them a few times this week, so we’ve gotten to meet them and kind of be in the same room a couple days,” Martin said. “They’re a great group of guys. They’re willing to help you whenever you need it. Travis and Doug and Tyron and all those guys have been great.”

Martin said Free has an eye for technique.

“Technique is something you’ve got to get used to, and reps,” he said. “Doug’s like another coach on the field. Doug’s been through it for a bunch of years now. So maybe if he sees something that Coach doesn’t see, he’ll come over and correct me.”

Other veterans also watched practice, including Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Brandon Carr.

“I think they’re just watching and seeing how we carry ourselves, if we can contribute to the team and just evaluating us,” fifth-round receiver Devin Street said. “Everything is an evaluation. Everything. From just walking in here, you’re posture, just evaluating what we can bring to the team.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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