Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Cowboys [Print without images]

Saturday, August 21, 2010
Scout's Eye: Chargers preseason game

By Bryan Broaddus

OXNARD, Calif. -- Thoughts for San Diego preseason game:

*Rookie Bryan McCann has carried over his solid play from San Antonio to Oxnard. Every day you see him doing something that makes you wonder if the Cowboys would try and keep a fifth cornerback on the roster. Or are the spots just too valuable to have that luxury?

McCann is playing with a great deal of confidence and understanding of what his job is. Have been impressed with his ability to read routes, maintain position and make plays on the ball. Usually rookies are afraid of taking on such a challenge because they don’t want to look bad or get beat. There is no fear in McCann’s play from what I have observed,

He will cover the best when he is called upon to do so. Miles Austin, Roy Williams or Patrick Crayton -- it just doesn’t matter. McCann plays with speed and quickness, but most importantly, he plays with smarts.

I have seen some productive work on special teams as well which can only help his cause to find a spot on this roster. If Cletis Gordon had struggled one bit in this camp, there is no doubt in my mind that McCann would have made this team as the fourth corner from what he has done so far, but Gordon has been outstanding as well.

Keep an eye on McCann in this Chargers game. It’s another opportunity to make the front office and coaches have to make a hard decision on him and a roster spot.

*Who is Phil Costa and why is he about to make the Dallas Cowboys roster as a backup center?

Costa is a tough, hard-working, no-nonsense type of a guy that doesn’t look 6-2 1/2,“ but he plays much bigger than he is. He doesn’t have your classic center build and to be honest, he has short arms for an offensive linemen, which usually is a big red flag. Costa would scare me away because of his physical traits, but he really is a fine football player.

The more you study him, the more you understand what he brings to the table. You rarely see him on the ground and he does a very nice job of firing his hands inside and working for leverage. He does have troubling extending his arms and that makes him a belly to belly blocker, but he is effective at it. Feet and hands work very well together and he does manage to keep himself between the defender and the quarterback.

Front office personnel that I have spoken with think that Costa has a much better upside to improve than former backup center Cory Procter.

Two weeks ago, my co-host for “The Football Show,” (ESPN 103.3 FM Saturday, 10a.m.-1 p.m.) R.J. Choppy, and I made some early 53-man roster projections. Costa was a guy at the time that I put on the squad because I felt like the club needed a true backup center instead of a “moonlighting” Kyle Kosier.

Costa has earned his way on to this team. Physically he might not be the most imposing or gifted player on the line but his toughness has been impressive.

*When the team went to the field-goal period Thursday, David Buehler was a confident kicker. His training camp and preseason had been sailing along nicely. Talk of bringing in another kicker for his job was starting to remove itself from the conversation. Buehler connected on his first three kicks with no problem Thursday, but then the wheels came off on the next four kicks.

Buehler missed two to the left and two to the right. The misses were the first real problems that Buehler had shown since OTA’s and mini camps. The once steady, reliable kicker in camp was now leaking oil badly.

After practice, Buehler spoke of being grateful that he would have another opportunity to try kicks against the Chargers. But what once seemed like a lock now had everyone that witnessed the kicking display questioning how things might go the rest of the preseason.

The one thing that Buehler cannot have happen is to become inconsistent. Sure, there are going to misses, but to miss four straight raises the questions once again: Can this staff and his teammates really rely on him when they need him the most?

Maybe it was a bad or off day, or maybe we need to once again think about what could lie ahead. Once again, Buehler has put himself back on the hot seat,