67) Where Does Costa Fit Into the Cowboys' Plans This Season?

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IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.

Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full seasons removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding them as they prepare for the 2013 season.

As we count down the days to camp, the writers of DallasCowboys.com will take a different question each day that is hovering over this team.

With 69 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on the Cowboys' most-discussed offensive lineman:

67) Where Does Phil Costa Fit Into The Cowboys' Plans?

The Cowboys had three different players starting at center last season in Costa, Ryan Cook and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

Costa, No. 67, was the anticipated starter last season, but after the first series in the opener against the Giants, various injuries kept him out on and off the rest of the year.

He played the entirety of the game against the Ravens, when the Cowboys ran for a season-best 227 yards, running efficiently with both DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones. Everything seemed to click in the running game when Costa was at center in Baltimore.

Drafting Travis Frederick in the first round may mean Costa will be relegated to a reserve role this year, considering it's more likely Frederick switches over to guard than Costa. But if Costa has a strong offseason and preseason, he could still compete for a starting role, particularly if he plays the way he did against the Ravens.

It wouldn't be the worst thing to have Costa as a backup center, given the injury history at the position last year. The offensive line didn't have much depth last season, and he would be a player the Cowboys could be confident inserting in at any point of a game. 

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 67:

  • Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright came to the Cowboys in the seventh round of the 1967 NFL Draft.
  • Some storied linemen wore the No. 67 at some point during their careers, including Nate Newton and Pat Donovan on the offensive side and Russell Maryland on the defensive side.
  • The Cowboys didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher or 1,000-yard receiver in the 1967 season, but they still finished the regular season at 9-5.
  • Dallas won the Capitol Division in 1967 by stomping Cleveland, 52-14, in the NFL's new format. But on Dec. 31, the Cowboys lost their second bid for an NFL title by falling to the Packers, 21-17, in frigid Green Bay weather.
  • On Dec. 23, 1967, Clint Murchison, Jr. formally announced plans to build Texas Stadium in Irving. It would be ready for the 1970 season.
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