Cowboys Compete - Yet Leary's Helping La'el

There's a weird, wonderful thing about football teams that do 'competition' right. Cowboys guards Ron Leary and La'el Collins are right in the middle of a competition and right in the middle of the 'weird and wonderful,' too.



Dallas Cowboys left guard Ron Leary is taking the the challenge of the presence of blue-chip rookie offensive lineman La'el Collins head-on. ... but he's also taking La'el under his wing.

Instead of being negative toward, or at least withdrawing from, the 21-year-old out of LSU, who in OTAs took some first-team reps at left guard, young vet Leary has embraced and mentored Collins.

"I think when you're at this level, you always going to talk to a guy that's younger than you," said Leary, acknowledging what is a football tradition -- at least on the good teams. "I talk to Collins."

Coincidentally, both Leary and Collins are from Baton Rouge, which helps fortify the lines of communication between the fourth-year veteran and the undrafted rookie.

Even though the two interior linemen are from the same part of Louisiana, both have disparate backgrounds. Leary attended Southern University Lab High School while Collins graduated from Baton Rouge Redemptorist. Collins attended LSU while Leary left the state to attend Memphis University.

Some of those differences even comes out in how they see the game.

"I know he asks me questions about things, and we see things differently," said Leary. "But it's all about getting everybody better."

Collins has some position flex, so there has been speculation that he might "get better'' as a right tackle, if not now then later, when Doug Free is out of gas there. But sources tell CHQ that while the Cowboys scouting department has always viewed Collins as a guard, the coaching staff is now in full agreement with that. With Martin locked in at right guard, that means the competition to get Collins installed as part of "the best offensive line ever'' (as he himself envisions this becoming) makes him a guard. A left guard.

Leary, who has done nothing particularly wrong to lose his spot (after all, he was a fixture on last year's terrific O-line) is impressed with Collins and can't wait to beat the Texas heat and open training camp in Oxnard on July 30, even though he has enjoyed his off-season.

"It's been good,'' he said. "You got this little time off, but I miss it. It's pretty much a couple weeks out until training camp. So, that's pretty much time to get into that mode."

So they'll get into that mode. Leary and Collins will do it against each other ... and they'll it together.



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