Publish date:

Zack Martin's Cowboys Fill-In Connor McGovern: How Ready Is He?

Said McGovern after the news broke: “Last year helped me a lot with confidence, so I'm ready to go."

FRISCO - Connor McGovern has a lot of fans who populate the Dallas Cowboys coaching and scouting staff.

And as he readies to step in for Zack Martin in Thursday's season opener because the All-Pro Martin figures to be unavailable as he enters COVID-19 protocols, McGovern is talking in ways that maybe reflect and instill more confidence.

Said McGovern at the start of the week after the news broke: “Last year helped me a lot with confidence, so I'm ready to go."

“Ready to go” would be nice, with the 2020 work of this then-battered offensive line now looking like it was all about experimentation and growth.

But on Thursday at Tampa and the defending Super Bowl champs? The “growth” of McGovern - a highly-touted third-round pick three years ago - needs to be realized.

CONTINUE READING: Zack Martin Now OUT for Bucs

"He'll definitely be ready for this opportunity," coach Mike McCarthy said, praising McGovern’s “work ethic” and terming his spring and summer effort, “Definitely one of the offseason bright spots of an offseason where we had a lot of bright spots."

No image description

88s
Play

Funky in Foxboro: Top 10 Wildest Wins in Cowboys History

Dallas' overtime survival in New England was one for the record books, but not the faint of heart

93D522DC-CBAC-47F8-8C2F-120A0B946B7B
Play

'We've Been Kicking Ass!' McCarthy's Message to Cowboys

McCarthy is trying to make certain his Cowboys - who didn't win a fifth game last season until Week 15 - both cherish success and continue to hunger for it.

lael dark
Play

La'el Collins Returns to Cowboys as Suspension Lifted

La'el Collins - assuming he can stay eligible - is healthy and talented and ready to help the 5-1 Cowboys.

Again, McGovern is not new to this; he started eight games last season. 

Still, McGovern has never in the NFL played quite at this level of intensity. This is, as NFL guys put it, "The Big Stage.'' National TV. Defending Super Bowl champs. Subbing for a future Hall of Famer is a game with gigantic implications.

"You never know when someone's going to go down or what's going to happen. And being in a situation like this (with Martin on the Reserve/COVID-19 list), you've just got to be ready to step up,” McGovern said.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has talked rather fancifully about the remote possibility that the COVID timetable could somehow be squeezed in a way that would have Martin show up just in time for kickoff, a couple of clear-up coronavirus tests in his pocket.

But that's not the Cowboys reality. Connor McGovern is the Cowboys reality.

“I just feel real comfortable right now,'' said McGovern, who with a successful outing on Thursday would convert even more fans over to his side.

READ MORE: Cowboys Release First NFL Injury & Practice Report of Season