As Cowboys coaches try to decide who will be their left guard, and who will be their third receiver, and what rotation of running backs works best, no one is more affected by preseason competition than the quarterback.
Tony Romo has noticed the almost daily shuffle at left guard, one of the five positions most important to his well-being, and knows how important it is for the Cowboys to make the correct decision among the likes of Montrae Holland, Phil Costa, David Arkin and Bill Nagy.
"You see them, just in the huddle and things of that nature," Romo said. "It's a battle. It's going to be a good battle. I don't know what the coaches are thinking, that whole process, but it's an important position and we need someone to play good football, I know that."
Just three offensive starters remain from 2006, when Romo took over as the Cowboys' starting quarterback - Andre Gurode, Kyle Kosier and Jason Witten. This camp, he lost linemen Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis, who have been together protecting him on the line's right side since 2007.
A year after Romo suffered a season-ending collarbone injury, the Cowboys are trusting the franchise quarterback behind a line that will consist of at least one rookie starter, Tyron Smith, and possibly more.
"We obviously need a few young guys to step up to really help this football team this year," Romo said. "Without the offseason, it's been kind of a crash course. Mistakes are going to happen - that's part of the growing curve. But we obviously need them to step up quickly, and they're doing a good job battling every day."
In the minds of some, the No. 3 receiver position should belong to a rookie as well, following Dwayne Harris' breakout performance against Denver in the preseason opener, but Romo already seems to be narrowing his sights on third-year veteran Kevin Ogletree for the position. Asked about the spot behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, he spoke only about Ogletree.
"I think Kevin is doing a great job," Romo said. "He's got to continue to work, but he's got a bunch of ability and I think he'll end up having a real good season this year."