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Monday, September 9, 2013
Cowboys' offensive line with mixed night

By Calvin Watkins

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys offensive line had two players make their debuts on Sunday night against the New York Giants.

Rookie Travis Frederick, the Cowboys' first-round pick, started at center, and second-year right guard Ronald Leary earned his first career start.

The Cowboys rushed for 87 yards  and saw quarterback Tony Romo get sacked twice and he suffered an apparent rib injury late in the first half after two defenders hit him. The line also gave Romo some time to throw 49 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. On one of Romo's sacks the quarterback held the ball a long time and maybe should have just thrown the pass away.

"It's never as good as it is and it's never as bad as you think it is," Frederick said of the line play. "You just got to watch the film and correct it. We ran the ball but I don't think we ran the ball as well as we wanted to. It's something we need to continue to work at and continue to improve."

The biggest blunder of the night came on a crushing hit on Romo with 38 seconds to play in the first half.

It was a bad play for the offensive line: Linebacker Jacquian Williams pushed down tackle Doug Free on a blitz and two defenders, Johnathan Hankins and Mathias Kiwanuka, knocked Romo to the ground on his left shoulder. Romo left the game, missed one play and returned for the start of the second half.

"It's a bad feeling because Tony is our leader and you never want to see your leader go down like that," Leary said. "I'm glad he was able to bounce back. We'll try hard to make sure that doesn't happen anymore."

The offensive line has gone through many changes prior to the start of the season. At one point the Cowboys lost both the first-and-second team left guards to injuries, moved the right tackle to right guard and the left guard to right guard.

Free agent guard Brandon Moore turned down a contract offer from the Cowboys to retire and the team was able to sign another free agent, Brian Waters, to a contract last week. Waters hasn't participated in team drills just yet and is still working on his conditioning.

Gaining continuity is an issue for the Cowboys right now, especially if Waters breaks into the starting lineup in Week 2 at Kansas City.

"We did a little bit together during camp but not much," Leary said. "We got to watch the film to see what we have to clean up but we have to build from that and go from there and try to get better every day."