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Phillips: Metrodome A Good Test For O-Line

IRVING, Texas --For those wondering how quarterback Tony Romo should feel about having three first-year starters on the offensive line, he should be encouraged by the way the youngsters handled the the Metrodome noise on Saturday.

It wasn't quite Metallica-concert-by-the-stage loud like the 2009 Divisional Round, but Saturday was about as noisy as a preseason venue gets. The starting line featuring rookies Tyron Smith, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski (who will give way to Phil Costa) protected Romo well and didn't have a pre-snap penalty. The only infraction was Kowalski's hold late in the half.

"It's hard to play here. Communication's a problem," Romo said after the game. "We've done a good job working hard at camp to prepare for this and I thought it should in some areas (Saturday)."

The Cowboys were overwhelmed at the Metrodome in 2009. They showed more poise in 2010, but left tackle Doug Free didn't get out of his stance on a key third down, leading to a free rush on Romo and his interception to Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson. Lost that game, too.

Better job Saturday. Needs to be, because Rex Ryan will dial up pressure for the real thing on Sept. 11.

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