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Phil Costa's Injury Throws Another Wrench in Offensive Line Plans

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    If you told someone a month ago that an injury to Phil Costa would greatly impact the Cowboys preseason, you probably would have gotten one of two responses.

    You might have heard deep, rolling laughter from your conversation partner and then watched as he tried to find someone nearby who could join in the fun. Or you would have been met with a blank face as the notified party tried to figure out just who Phil Costa was and how his injury could affect the Cowboys.

    Yet here we are on the cusp of the third preseason game and Costa's sprained PCL is making it tougher for the Cowboys to figure out which five players will be starting on the offensive line come September 11th. Costa made so much of his chance to be the first-team center while Andre Gurode was out recovering from knee surgery early in camp that he and Gurode were actually rotating in and out of the lineup after the Pro Bowler made his way back from injury.

    On Thursday, before news of the injury broke, Jason Garrett said that nothing had been decided about the offensive line, other than that the team would go with the guys who were playing the best. That could mean Gurode at center with Bill Nagy or Montrae Holland at left guard or it could mean Costa and Nagy or even Costa at center with Gurode sliding over to guard, but it was obviously something that would need to be figured out on the field.

    Now Costa is out for up to a month with a knee injury and the Cowboys don't really have any more choice in the matter. Gurode will be at center and Nagy or Holland will be at guard and the team is now awfully thin behind Gurode. That's a bit scary because Gurode is coming off that operation on his knee and, reputation aside, he wasn't all that good last season.

    That's part of the reason why Costa was getting such a long look in the first place and Holland's own shortcomings explain why Nagy remains a possibility to start at guard. All in all, having options available is a big improvement over past years for the Cowboys, although it would be nice if some of those options were able to clearly establish themselves as the best options before the games start to count. 


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