Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo praised the progress of his young receivers who have gotten extra work during training camp because of injuries to Miles Austin (hamstring), Dez Bryant (knee) and tight end Jason Witten (spleen). None of those starters are expected to play Saturday, meaning Romo will be looking to target newcomers like Cole Beasley, Danny Coale and James Hanna during Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
The contest is the team’s third pre-season game and, typically, the starters play into the second half. But the Cowboys’ top receivers will be sidelined, which Romo does not consider a full-blown negative.
“I’ve been around long enough to know that as long as you’re not having guys go out for the full season that can really affect the way that you do things, … it gives some young guys some reps they can really use with me and some of the other guys when they’re out there,” Romo said.
Coale, a fifth-round pick from Virginia Tech, grabbed a touchdown pass from Romo to cap a two-minute drill at the conclusion of today’s combined workout with the San Diego Chargers. Romo noted that, with the rash of injuries during this year’s camp, he achieved a career milestone in 2012.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever thrown to everybody on the team in the (first-team) drills in camp before,” Romo said. “But I definitely have this year.”
How confident is he in those fresh faces?
“I’m confident,” said Romo, who added that he is hoping the team can get “lucky” with existing injuries and have some _ if not all _ of his starting receivers back for the Sept. 5 opener against the New York Giants.
Romo weighed in on Coale, who has yet to play in a game but has received significant snaps in the past two workouts.
“He’s getting better. He’s doing a good job,” Romo said.
He also expressed confidence in Cole Beasley (5-foot-8, 177 pounds), an undersized SMU product who topped the 100-yard mark in receptions Saturday against San Diego.
“He’s done a good job. He’s come in, he’s created separation, he’s given himself a chance to get out here and earn a spot,” Romo said. “He’s got a knack for understanding things.”
_ Jimmy Burch