OAKLAND – Coach Jason Garrett's nightmare scenario he feared with David Arkin included four fumbled snaps and one shotgun snap over the quarterback's head. The nightmare never played out.
The botched snaps that plagued Arkin throughout training camp didn't occur in Monday's preseason opener against Oakland.
"He seemed to be pretty steady, as far as we could tell," Garrett said. "The big concern for him, having not really played center very much in his life, was taking care of the ball.
Arkin has seen more action than any other Cowboy in training camp, as injuries have forced the guard to learn how to start snapping. His rocky transition to center halted practice multiple times when he failed to deliver the ball cleanly to quarterbacks Tony Romo and Kyle Orton.
The new center hadn't played a snap in a game since the 2011 preseason, as he was inactive all of last year. But a back injury to starting center Phil Costa, the return of Mackenzy Bernadeau from injury and the addition of guard Derrick Dockery promoted Arkin to first-team center against the Raiders.
Arkin had trouble blocking at times, getting blown back on Romo's first completion of the game to Dez Bryant. Arkin didn't get much of a chip on what appeared to be a designed screen, allowing Oakland defensive tackle Tommy Kelly to sack Romo, and was also called for holding.
"We've just got to get the communication going there on the inside," Arkin said. "It wasn't like a physical thing, it was just a communication thing, so we'll get that straightened out."
Still, he managed to keep the ball of the ground and deliver manageable snaps to all of his quarterbacks, something the Cowboys weren't sure would happen when they brought in former Eagles center Jamaal Jackson for a workout over the weekend. Jackson wasn't in good enough shape for the Cowboys to sign him.
"It's a huge credit to all three quarterbacks I played with that I got that right," Arkin said after the game. "I was really happy today."
When the rest of the first-team offensive linemen were pulled for the backups, Arkin stayed on the field without any issues snapping to Orton or Stephen McGee.