Charles Tapper has been waiting for this chance.
The second-year defensive lineman out of Oklahoma had to sit out his entire first year with a weird injury - a spinal defect - and now he has the chance to start in Arlington.
Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tapper is preparing for a technique change from an interior spot to the 5-technique — lining up on the outside shoulder of the tackle - so he can crack the starting lineup.
"To say there’s a need for depth on the line is an understatement, considering the recent history of suspensions with perhaps more to come if
“Even if some of those guys were still around, I still feel like I’m a real option for this team,” Tapper told the Star-Telegram. “You can only control the things you can control, and I feel like I’m good enough as an athlete to compete.
“That’s why we’re all here, and we came here for a reason and that’s competing against the best offensive line in the world. Around here, they say if you’re quicker than everybody, show us. If you say you’re an athlete and you’re going to be athletic, show us. At the end of the day, I just want to give coach Marinelli a hard decision to make.”
Tapper said he was "basically a nose-tackle" at Oklahoma, where he notched 13.5 sacks over three years including seven in his senior year. Now said he’s shed nearly 20 pounds and is down to around 11 percent body fat.
"The lighter frame is making him more agile in helping to give Marinelli what he desires," noted the Star-Telegram.
He had one awesome quote when talking about conditioning in the switch to a 5-technique:
"Folks should get out and try this in the front year. Just come off the snap against somebody about 5-10 times and see how much energy you lose just in that initial rush. Then think about working on guys like Tyron Smith and big Chaz Green," he said.
If you've got a guy going up against those two everyday in practise, one has to assume they'll be ready for September.