The Cowboys have three new starters on their offensive line. The starting five have a combined 13 years experience on the front five. Last year, it was 36. The new avearge age is 25. Last year, it was 30.
Center Phil Costa, if he returns from a knee injury, will start his second career game on Sept. 11. It is one more than rookie left guard Bill Nagy and rookie right tackle Tyron Smith. Left tackle Doug Free, with 23 career starts, doesn't have much more experience. Only right guard Kyle Kosier, with 104 career starts, has much experience on the Cowboys' new-look offensive line.
Quarterback Tony Romo, who hasn't played a regular-season game since Oct. 25 when blitzing Giants linebacker Michael Boley ended his 2010 season, insists he isn't worried. But he also knows they are going to make rookie mistakes.
"It’s not going to go perfect," Romo said. "Obviously, when you have new people, there are going to be mistakes here and there. The whole idea is to continue to get better every time we step on the field and every game we play. So that will be the goal for this team to continue to improve each week and each day, and if we continue to do that, this team will get better as the season progresses."
Romo will miss Gurode. Only three games in his career has Romo played without Gurode as his center.
"You know when you’ve been around this game long enough, you understand certain decisions are business-related," Romo said. "I think Dre’s played at a high level for a long time, and I have nothing but respect for him as a player. He’s done some great things. We’ve had some great times here. I wish him the best but it’s always tough to see."
-- Charean Williams