Cowboys OL Columbo, Kosier miss practice, likely out Sunday

IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys running backs likely will depend on two backup offensive linemen to block for them in Sunday night's season opener at Washington.

Starting linemen Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier, who sustained knee injuries during training camp, missed practice for the second consecutive day Thursday.

"That makes their chances slimmer that would play this weekend," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said after practice. "We have not ruled them out, but it does make them slimmer as far as those guys are concerned."

The Cowboys have veteran backups at both positions who have been working with the starting offense this week. Alex Barron has been at right tackle for Colombo, and Montrae Holland at left guard for Kosier, and they likely will start against the Redskins.

"We have a lot of confidence in both Barron and Holland," Phillips said. "They have worked well all along. They are looking forward to this opportunity. They have both started, had some good games. They have shown they can play in the National Football League. I think they want to show they can play for the Dallas Cowboys."

Holland signed a two-year contract in the offseason to stay with Dallas after being inactive every game last season. He started just two of the eight games he played in 2008 after the Cowboys acquired him from the Denver Broncos, with whom he started all 16 games at right guard in 2007.

Dallas acquired Barron from St. Louis this summer in a swap of underachieving former first-round draft picks. Linebacker Bobby Carpenter was sent to the Rams, who released him at the end of training camp.

Barron played in 76 games for St. Louis, all but two of them starts, and looks forward to his chance with Dallas.

"This is a great opportunity for me to go out and show what I can do to help the team," Barron said. "My confidence is high. ... It feels pretty normal. Being a starter is a good experience."

With Barron and Holland likely to start, that means the Cowboys will open the season with three different starting linemen than last year. Doug Free has taken over for expensive five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Flozell Adams, who was cut during the offseason.

Unchanged are center Andre Gurode and right guard Leonard Davis, though Romo doesn't sound too worried.

"We have a lot of confidence in the guys that are stepping up. They're good players as well," Romo said. "Were lucky enough to have some depth at those positions and were going to keep battling."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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