ARLINGTON -- They cut a starting guard, lost another to injury and had their starting center unavailable for the first two weeks of training camp. But the Dallas Cowboys don't act like a team short on options in the interior offensive line. They used Phil Costa at center while Andre Gurode recovered from knee surgery. They plugged rookie David Arkin in at a guard spot when Montrae Holland -- last season's backup to the released Leonard Davis -- hurt his back just days into camp.
Gurode has come back, but the Cowboys want to keep looking at Costa.
And Monday, they threw another rookie, Bill Nagy, into the mix at guard. Nagy, a seventh-round pick out of Wisconsin, practiced with the first team.
Costa, Arkin, Nagy, Holland. Options.
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"I wouldn't get too serious about anything that we've just done," offensive line coach Hudson Houck said. "We're just moving guys around, trying to see what we can do."
What the Cowboys have been doing the most lately is using Doug Free at left tackle, Arkin at left guard, Costa at center, Kyle Kosier at right guard and Tyron Smith at right tackle. That's the group that started the preseason opener last week.
Gurode's return displaced Costa, but the Cowboys like the toughness in the second-year undrafted free agent from Maryland. They have said they want to see what he can do at guard. They also haven't ruled out a peek at Gurode at guard, but he's a three-time Pro Bowler at center, so that option is probably down the list.
But with Holland still on the sideline and his return nowhere in sight, the Cowboys really aren't ruling much out.
"I think you'd rather have your starting five guys established, but oftentimes, when you have injuries or you have young guys or you have new guys, it becomes a little bit of a work in progress," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "What we've been really pleased with as coaches is we feel like we have some different options. Some of them are younger; some of them are older and more experienced. But we feel like we have some options to look at."
Houck said Nagy earned a look with the first team.
"We kind of reward a guy," Houck said. "If he had a good day, we're going to move him up a little bit. That doesn't mean by any means he's going to start this game. It doesn't mean anything, that he's going to start the season. We just want to move guys to see combinations and see how they all work."
Garrett said there's no deadline for setting the offensive line. But the sooner the better, of course.
"At some point, you'd like to have it established," he said. "If you can't get it established, you roll that way as well. You just kind of make it work. You almost take it day by day."
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407