Robert Brewster to start Saturday

OXNARD, Calif. -- Wade Phillips said he was pleased with the tempo of the practices here and Monday's two-minute session was really impressive, especially a nifty touchdown reception by Jason Witten over two defenders.

More important, with Marc Colombo out 10 to 14 days as after undergoing knee surgery Monday, Robert Brewster will replace him in the starting lineup for Saturday's third preseason game at San Diego.

"He had a lot of mistakes in the first ball game," Phillips said of Brewster. "And he cut down on those and he had one mental error in the second game, and that's a positive there because he [was] having trouble on the calls. He's got a lot of ability [and] he's got a good base and strong and he works hard. I like the way he's going and he's still young."

*Alex Barron, the swing tackle who sprained an ankle in the preseason opener vs. Cincinnati, won't play again this week. If Barron were healthy, he would start in Colombo's place.

"We would list him as doubtful this week," Phillips said. "I'm not sure in a regular season if he could play and would play. I really like his attitude. He's been banged up and he's worked diligently in trying to get well."

Phillips said he wouldn't move Doug Free from left tackle to right tackle because Colombo is out. Free started seven games at right tackle last year.

*Phillips also said he wouldn't reduce the number of snaps in Saturday's game for Tony Romo because of a new right tackle. The Cowboys might change the protection for Brewster, meaning a tight end on Brewster's side would stay to help him block a defensive end or outside linebacker. A running back would also chip away at a pass rusher to help Brewster.

*Safety Pat Watkins, who hasn't played in the preseason, was second on the team with 18 special teams tackles in 2009. But numerous players -- including Jesse Holley, Sam Hurd, Leon Williams, Jason Williams, Barry Church and Michael Hamlin -- are making an impact on special teams and in other places on the team. It could mean Watkins' time away could place his roster spot in trouble.

"He's played and started here and we can count on him," Phillips said of Watkins. "He's played really well on special teams, if not our best or close to our best special teamer since I've been here. He's got a lot of pluses going for him."

*The are several decisions that need to be made regarding who makes the 53-man roster. Phillips said he hasn't made any regarding how many linebackers, offensive linemen or safeties he will keep. He wouldn't speculate if he would keep three quarterbacks on the roster.

If all goes well with kicker David Buehler, the Cowboys can keep one kicker and maybe go long at another position.

"It allows you to go longer than last year," Phillips said. "We kept two kickers. The [lower part of the 53-man roster] are your best prospects. Some of them won't be there on game day; it's guys for the future. We kept 10 linebackers before. Sometimes you keep six or seven wide receivers. It depends on what you have."