OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz didn't have a normal entry into the NFL as a 2020 fourth-round pick from Wisconsin.
Whereas rookies normally would have a special minicamp just for them, a half-dozen organized team activities sessions, and then a mandatory minicamp, Biadasz – much like the entire 2020 rookie class – acclimated to the pro level via video conferencing. He didn't get a chance to be with his teammates and coaches until August during a month-long training camp with no preseason.
The 6-4, 314-pound center showed enough in his 12 games, four of which he started, to give coach Mike McCarthy and the staff plenty of material to consider him as the 2021 starting center.
Throw in an offseason with actual OTAs and an eight-week offseason program, and the former Badger feels a significant difference.
"It definitely would have been helpful for last year's prior season to have OTAs and things like that," Biadasz said. "But it's great. You get to bond with all of the guys that have family or they go different places to train or everything. But OTAs are great for camaraderie, too. We had a lot of guys in this year."
Biadasz appreciated the extra work with his teammates as it helped everyone get to know each other's personalities, which is central to forming cohesion along an offensive line.
"Everyone has a different personality, and I think that we're all individually unique in different ways, and we're all accepting to it," said Biadasz. "So, I think everyone has a different mantra of who they are and everything, and we just put that into our O-line specifically and we put it forward and we grow with it."
Biadasz is getting first-team snaps at center, but the club is also working on a contingency plan should Biadasz have availability issues in 2021. For the past five seasons, Dallas could rely on Joe Looney to fill in at a guard spot or even center. With Looney recently joining former coach Jason Garrett in New York, offensive line coach Joe Philbin has had to cultivate solutions from within, and the best shot is to give center snaps to left guard Connor Williams.
The byproduct is that the Cowboys could have two interior offensive linemen seeing the game through the eyes of the center.
Said Biadasz: "We talk in the room a lot. He'll ask me some questions about it and we, as soon as he starts snapping, we've been talking almost every day – just declarations or how to fit stuff in or things like that. It's good because once you know [the position], he's more on the same page as me and it works both ways. He picks my brain sometimes, but also we always communicate on that perspective."
Williams asking questions of Biadasz is another example of how the center job is presumptively his.
"He’s taking command of the operation," McCarthy said. "He has a complete understanding. Mentally it flows easy for him. I’m not concerned about that. I think it’s only natural last year not having the extra time with a rookie playing center he was thinking probably a little too much."
Whether two-time Pro Bowler Dak Prescott is taking snaps or backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert, Biadasz knows to be a great center, he has to be a maven at communication.
"I think you have different specific things," Biadasz said. "Some of it was, you know, snaps or the speed of the snaps or to be on the same communication, and that's what it comes down to is just be on the same page and just doing your job to the best of your ability."
Are you confident that Tyler Biadasz will be able to take command at center for the Cowboys in 2021? Make your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.