GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dallas Cowboys’ flirtations with Brian Waters are over. For now.Dallas made an offer to the veteran guard, who lives in Waxahachie, but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement.“It takes two,” owner Jerry Jones said after the Cowboys’ 12-7 loss to the Cardinals. “We weren’t able to get it done. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to get it done later at all. It just means it’s not done right now.”The Cowboys had an agreement with veteran guard Brandon Moore on Aug. 6, but Moore retired before reporting. Jones said that, barring the unforeseen, the Cowboys will head into the season with what they have on the roster at guard.Dallas remains hopeful that Nate Livings, who had right knee surgery two weeks ago, and Ron Leary, who had right knee surgery Friday, both will return before the season opener Sept. 8. Livings, whom the team signed to a five-year, $18.75 million deal as a free agent in 2012, started all 16 games last season. But the Cowboys have penciled in Leary, an undrafted free agent in 2012, as the starter.“We have always had the alternative of doing what we hope happens and have Livings healthy, and we expect Leary to be healthy,” Jones said. The Cowboys have been snakebitten at the position, with guards Kevin Kowalski (knee), Ryan Cook (back) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder) among the 16 players who didn’t dress for Saturday’s game.Albright outLinebacker Alex Albright will have back surgery next week and will miss the season, owner Jerry Jones said Saturday.Albright, who had sports hernia surgery after last season, first hurt his back in May. One of the team’s best special teams players, he had 17 special teams tackles last season. He also had been expected to back up at the strongside and middle linebacker spots.Defense doesn’t breakThe Cardinals had 365 yards but only four field goals. Call that a win for the Cowboys’ defense.“That’s pretty impressive how our defense held that score down so that we can get in there and play,” Jerry Jones said.The Cardinals had the ball a lot in the first quarter when all or some of the Cowboys’ first-team defenders were on the field. Dallas forced a three-and-out on Arizona’s first possession, but then Dwayne Harris fumbled a punt.The Cardinals got the ball at the Dallas 22, but the Cowboys held them to only 15 yards and a field goal. Arizona drove 82 yards on its third possession but turned it over on downs. The Cowboys forced an incompletion on fourth down, with backup Jerome Long getting pressure on quarterback Carson Palmer.Arizona had the ball for 12:26 and 22 plays in the first quarter and gained 101 yards, but it held only a 3-0 lead.“It’s huge being able to make a stop inside the red zone after a turnover,” Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said. “It’s something we need to pride ourselves on. Not giving up touchdowns is something we need to pride ourselves on. “Another thing we need to pride ourselves on is getting takeaways, making the other team turn the ball over. It’s something we could have done better tonight.”Briefly• The Cowboys came out of the game healthy. Safety Will Allen left after being kicked in the ribs, but he could have returned.• Cornerback Morris Claiborne said after the game that he will begin running next week. Claiborne turned his left knee during practice Aug. 6, but an MRI was negative.• Rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman had his second turnover of the preseason. He intercepted a Drew Stanton pass at the Dallas 2 in the second quarter. The Cowboys, who had only 16 takeaways in 16 games last season, have forced five turnovers this preseason.• The Cowboys’ special teams continue to be a work in progress. After a disastrous game against the Oakland Raiders, the Cowboys fumbled a punt on special teams for the second consecutive week. They also took a 15-yard penalty when Micah Pellerin was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Charean Williams 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean