The Dallas Cowboys could be without starting center Phil Costa on Sunday when the team goes on the road to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Costa injured his back during the first drive of the Cowboys’ 24-17 win over the New York Giants in the 2012 NFL opener and will now reportedly miss at least the Seattle game.
Obviously, no injury is a good thing for any football team, especially one that lacks depth on the offensive line, such as Dallas. However, the Cowboys might actually do better without Costa in the lineup, primarily because he won’t be starting.
Dallas acquired Ryan Cook in a trade with the Miami Dolphins just before the Giants game and he filled in beautifully for Costa against the defending Super Bowl champs. Naturally, he’ll get the start against the Seahawks after his solid performance and with Costa still nursing his back. That may be the best thing for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and the offense.
Costa is anything but a quality NFL starting center; he has slow feet and he’s easily knocked off balance by opposing defensive tackles and blitzing linebackers. Couple that with his phantom snap episode against the Washington Redskins last season and he’s a nightmare for Romo.
For whatever reason, the Cowboys have stuck with Costa as the starting center. Even if Kevin Kowalski and the recently-waived Bill Nagy were healthy, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett would still foolishly start Costa. However, Garrett is now forced to go with someone else with Costa out on Sunday and he’ll see for the second week in a row that Cook, or anyone else with a jersey number in between 60 and 80, is better than Costa at protecting Romo and opening lanes for Dallas’ running backs.
That’s certainly not to wish injury or prolonged recovery for Costa; however, his absence could be the turning point for the Cowboys’ offensive line, a unit that has struggled to find consistency over the past two years. If you’re a Costa fan, get some film and spend a few hours studying his game. You won’t be a fan much longer…