Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Position battle: Phil Costa’s competition keeps getting hurt
By Tim MacMahon
OXNARD, Calif. – It doesn’t appear as if Phil Costa will have to put up a fight to keep the starting center job.
His competition keeps getting hurt.
Mackenzy Bernadeau might have been the guy, but the Cowboys just want the free-agent addition to focus on guard after he recovers from hip and knee surgeries.
Bill Nagy or Kevin Kowalski could have had a shot at it, but they both look like long shots as they nurse ankle injuries. Nagy is probably out for the rest of training camp after suffering a high ankle sprain during the first practice. Kowalski is still out indefinitely with an ankle injury that sidelined him for all of the offseason workouts.
David Arkin, the fourth-round guard who was inactive for every game as a rookie last season, played some center during Tuesday’s practice. The results weren’t pretty. He was part of a handful of botched center-quarterback exchanges.
There are some decent options on the open market. That includes two unsigned centers who were starters last season: ex-Buccaneer Jeff Faine and ex-Ram Jason Brown.
A source said the Cowboys are aware of the options outside of the current roster, but they don’t feel a sense of urgency to bring in another center.
“You try to create competition certainly for a spot on a team – a guy trying to make a team, have a spot on the team, have a role or be a starter on a team,” coach Jason Garrett said. “You try to do that as best you can, but for Phil Costa, it’s pretty competitive for him every time he breaks the huddle and has to go against our defensive linemen. That’s a competitive environment we’re similarly trying to create.”
Even that is too easy for Costa right now, with Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff out indefinitely due to a foot injury.