The interior of the Cowboys’ offensive line is depleted to the point that plans are in place to bring in a veteran center ASAP. Starting center Phil Costa is expected to miss Monday’s game at Oakland and guard David Arkin, who has struggled to get snaps accurately into the hands of quarterbacks during practice, has been working as the first-team center and is expected to handle that role against the Raiders.
Arkin is thrust into that spot because four other players on the roster with experience at center have been sidelined by injuries in camp. Derek Dockery, signed off the street last week, has been running as the first-team left guard.
Asked about the injuries up front, quarterback Tony Romo said: “Obviously, we’d like things to be a little different. But we got to roll.”
Against that backdrop, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said he’s seen enough to believe the offensive line will be better this season.
“I think we’re better in the interior,” Jones said. “The things we’ve done to address that help us out.”
The key, said Jones, is getting newcomers Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, the projected starters at guard, on the field at the same time. Bernadeau returned to action this week and is expected to play Monday. Livings (hamstring) is not. He spent this afternoon working on conditioning drills.
“I want to see some of the things we’ve put in place happen,” Jones said. “I think Dockery’s looking better. Costa’s someone that certainly has raised the eyes of (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan. And I really do feel good about what we’ve done with our tackles. (Jermey) Parnel has really given us some options. He hasn’t played in a lot of games. But Parnel may give us a real asset here as far as flexibility in our offensive line.”
_ Jimmy Burch