O-Line Battles Through Injury To Costa, New Center And Penalties

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -Sometimes even the seemingly small acquisitions can turn out to be of the greatest importance.

It happened sooner than anyone expected for new swing lineman Ryan Cook, who stepped in for center Phil Costa in the first quarter of Wednesday' season-opening win when the starter suffered a flair-up of his back tightness.

On Friday, less than a week before the regular season, the Cowboys traded a seventh-round pick to Miami for the 29-year old Cook, adding some veteran depth to the line. A shrewd move, it turns out.* *Costa had missed much of training camp and the first three preseason games.

"It's back cramps," team owner Jerry Jones said. "I would assume it's the same thing he's had and we're just going to have to continue to wade through it so that he doesn't get that back cramping up."

Bringing in Cook, was hardly ideal after he had been with the team for only six days, and was facing perhaps the most dangerous defensive line in the NFL. While Cook held his own as a blocker, the line had its share of problems. They allowed only two sacks, but Tony Romo was harassed throughout the night.

But worst of all were the penalties, the front five responsible for nine of them. The Cowboys had eight pre-snap fouls on offense.

"We were moving the football then we would have a minus play," head coach Jason Garrett said. "We were moving the football and then, OK, false start.  You can say that is about the new center playing, you can say that is about playing at the Meadowlands, all that stuff. Unfortunately, we got in those situations too much in the ball game."

Still, for all the things that went wrong, by the end of the night the offensive line blocked for a 300-yard passer in Romo and a 130-yard rusher in DeMarco Murray. Not bad, considering the circumstances and the opponent. "It wasn't perfect," Garrett said. "But I thought they handled it as well as they could."

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