Cowboys’ Tony Romo sees some positives along injury-plagued offensive line

Posted Thursday, Aug. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Dallas Cowboys are anxiously thin at guard, with Nate Livings, Kevin Kowalski, Ryan Cook and Ray Dominguez all out with injury. Mackenzy Bernadeau, last year’s starter at right guard, has been practicing only a week.

Quarterback Tony Romo, who will get his first taste of live action Friday night at Oakland, said he didn’t have input as the Cowboys searched for guards this week, but he’s optimistic about what the team does have.

“I’m excited about the way the guys up front have been doing,” Romo said after Thursday’s walk-through. “They’ve been working hard, they’re getting better. It’s been a good camp for them. Obviously, we’d like to have a few less injuries. But that’s part of the game. We’ve just got to keep grinding away and keep getting better until we can continue to see some guys get healthy. And then, at the same time, some other guys have stepped up, and we’ll see what happens.”

At least Romo will have starting tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free, plus center Travis Frederick, who despite being a rookie, has seemingly settled that position for the Cowboys — unless the injury or performance situation at guard gets worse and he is needed there.

“They picked a good one there,” Romo said of the former Wisconsin center, generally rated a second- or third-round pick but taken in the first round by the Cowboys. “He’s going to be a guy who’s going to help us a lot for a long time. I don’t know whether people are talking about whether or not we reached for him and stuff like that, I guess, at the time. But he’s a good football player. We got a good first-round draft pick right there.”

At 312 pounds, Frederick provides the “base” that owner Jerry Jones has talked about trying to secure for Romo.

“He’s still growing as a player,” Romo said. “He’s still got a lot of things to learn in the NFL. But he’s a smart kid. He’s got a good anchor. He’s strong. He’s tough. He’s got a good future.”

In the preseason opener without Romo, the Cowboys ran more than they passed. Romo, who last year had the 10th-most pass attempts in NFL history (648), said that is fine with him.

“If you run the ball well, we’re going to keep calling the runs,” he said. “We need to run the ball better this year just in general. To me, that’s an important aspect of what we’re trying to do, and we need to do that.”

But Romo cautioned against reading too much into one preseason game, whether it was last week’s or this week’s.

“I think sometimes we’ll just jump to too many conclusions — us as well as you guys — based on it,” he said. “‘We’re going to be good, you’re not going to be that good.’ More than anything you just want to have good execution. You want to be able to do things. You’re not game planning per se and having the stuff that you’re really going to attack certain coverages and certain teams a certain way. So you get a little vanilla with what you may call.

“You’d like to get into a rhythm, but I just think we need to go out there and execute right way and do things that we feel good about as far as doing our assignments right and getting through stuff quickly and just not having any mental errors.

“Whether you scored the touchdown or field goal, we’re going to look at it and dissect it, and we’re going to feel the same way a lot people are. But we just need it as an improvement factor right now.”

Briefly

•  The Cowboys released former TCU offensive lineman Jeff Olson on Thursday.

•  Brandon Carr returned to camp after spending the past two days at home with his fiancee and his newborn son, Austin, who was born Monday.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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