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Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Random thoughts: The return of Phil Costa

By Calvin Watkins

After a review of the Cowboys-Ravens game, we have our weekly Random thoughts on what we saw, again.

1. The return of center Phil Costa from a back injury proved to us he was missed. On his Tuesday morning radio show, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Costa is one of the smartest players on the offensive line. Against the Ravens, the Cowboys sent a bulk of their running plays toward the middle of the line. Costa played with power and took his blocks to the second level, much like fullback Lawrence Vickers, who had his best game of the season.

2. Jay Ratliff also returned to the field after missing the first four games with a high-ankle sprain. Ratliff participated in 37 snaps and the Ravens weren't afraid to run at him. Baltimore ran six plays toward the middle of the line of scrimmage on their opening drive of the game. Ratliff faced single and double coverage at times and he even dropped back into coverage once.

3. Dez Bryant had a solid game for the exception of his drop of a two-point conversion pass. But one thing the Ravens did a nice job of with Bryant was tackling him. Bryant got open against press coverage, something he attributes to his practice work with Brandon Carr. However, when you look at Bryant's 13 catches, he averaged just 7.3 yards a reception. It makes you second guess Jason Garrett's decision even more to throw a slant to Bryant late in the game knowing he couldn't get free for big yards. Yes Bryant has done that in the past, but given how the Ravens were good at open field tackling, maybe Tony Romo should have directed his pass elsewhere.

4. Where was DeMarcus Ware on Sunday? He recorded just one tackle, one sack and a quarterback hurry. The Ravens ran away from Ware and made sure they had a defender on him at all times. Sometimes the Ravens slid a guard over to help the tackle. But Ware was taken out most of the day by a strong front and sometimes he got chipped by Ray Rice.

5. In Monday's news conference I asked Garrett could Andre Holmes get more playing time. I'm not saying Holmes replaces Miles Austin or Bryant, but maybe Kevin Ogletree. There were numerous penalties on Ogletree and of course he dropped a sure touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Holmes' recovery of the onside kick could push him to see some offensive snaps because Garrett always wants players to make plays to earn playing time. Olgetree seems to have regressed from that season-opening victory against the New York Giants. Holmes had a knee problem that's cleared up. It will be interesting to see if Holmes gets more snaps than Ogletree in practice this week.

Notes: Jason Witten was the only offensive skill position player to play every snap, 89, outside the offensive linemen and quarterback Tony Romo. ... Felix Jones played a season-high 49 offensive snaps. ... Dan Bailey had made two previous field goals heading into the direction of his 51-yard miss toward the end of the game. ... Carr is great at press coverage, but when he plays off defenders he doesn't seem to have the speed to catch up when there's separation. That's a concern going forward.