Romo’s preseason debut comes behind unsettled Cowboys offensive line

08/08/2013 5:32 PM

08/09/2013 4:57 PM

For the first time since the cyst that cost him an off-season of work was removed, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is going to face live action.

And he’ll do it behind an offensive line the Cowboys spent the week trying to upgrade with players off the street.

But for Romo and the majority of the starters, it’s Game 1 of the preseason. It’s time to play, even if only for a series, even if the offensive line isn’t at 100 percent.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne will miss Friday night’s game with a knee injury he sustained earlier this week in practice. Orlando Scandrick will start in his place.

Here are five things to watch Friday night at Oakland:

1 Play delivery: For the first time, Tony Romo will be in the pipeline of the plays as they reach him from new play-caller Bill Callahan. The Cowboys tested the system last weekend against Miami with the other quarterbacks. This is Romo’s chance to see how it works.

2 Interior line play: Sunday, center Travis Frederick and left guard Ron Leary got good reviews. They are on the way to being the starters in the season opener against the New York Giants. But right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau has work to do to gain the confidence of the coaches.

3 George Selvie, the sequel: The opener was a nice game for the new defensive end, signed off the street. He had two sacks and four tackles. Now that he’s the most popular player no one had ever heard of, he has to show something again.

4 More takeways: The theme of camp has been takeaways, and the Cowboys made two happen in Game 1. Well, one. But they were in the right place at the right time to recover a missed exchange between the quarterback and running back. Being around the ball is a big deal for the new defensive coaches.

5 Safety play: J.J. Wilcox took a step back last week in his underdog bid to beat out Will Allen or Barry Church for a starting job. Coach Jason Garrett said he needs to run every play and understand the NFL game. Eric Frampton and Micah Pellerin will get longer looks with Matt Johnson out.

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