At 6-4, 310 pounds, it's safe to assume that Marco Rivera likes to eat. A quick look at his new offensive line mates -- Flozell Adams, Larry Adams, Torrin Tucker, Jacob Rogers, etc. -- gives the impression that all of the Cowboys' blocking behemoths like to eat. Rivera plans to feed those images.
Signed as a free agent from Green Bay, the 10th-year veteran has been
thrust into a leadership role with the Cowboys' offensive line. Larry Allen may be the old man on the line, but Rivera -- revered across the
NFL for his intelligence and toughness and work ethic -- already is
being looked to as a mentor for the Dallas blockers, despite the fact
that he has yet to suit up with his new teammates, working on his
conditioning during this weekend's mini-camp after suffering a back
injury while running on a treadmill shortly after signing with the
To Rivera, success for an offensive line starts with familiarity.
Playing up front is not an occupation in which success can be found
simply by showing up for practice and going home.
"I think the key to having a great offensive line is knowing each
other, trusting each other," he said. "We need to hang out, spend time
together, have a cup of coffee together. When you sit around, trade war
stories, you can learn from each other's experiences and benefit from
each other's knowledge."
To that end, Rivera said that before the Cowboys take the field in the
fall, he wants to take the whole offensive line out to dinner. While
describing the damage they might do to the beef inventory at one of the
area's steakhouses, Johnson -- who simply has the misfortune of having
his locker next to Rivera's -- made the mistake of sitting down. "Al
gets to pick up the tab," Rivera said, turning to Johnson. "You were a
second-round pick a couple years ago, right?"
Presumably Rivera was kidding about saddling Johnson with the tab. But
it's hard to say, because it already is clear that when Rivera speaks,
the rest of the offensive linemen listen.
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