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Now holding on Cowboys' kicks: Tony Romo?

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys might have a new holder on kicks, a guy who made a costly flub the last time he tried -- Tony Romo.

Romo practiced as the holder for kicker Nick Folk on Wednesday and might do it in this weekend's game against the San Diego Chargers. Romo would replace punter Mat McBriar, whose hold on a costly missed field-goal attempt this past Sunday prompted Folk to throw up his arms in disgust.

Folk has missed five of his last seven kicks, with at least one miss in four consecutive games. He has been especially erratic on kicks between 40 and 49 yards, hitting just 4 of 10 after making 17 of 18 over his previous two seasons.

"We feel like we need to do something," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "I just think something new for our kicker would maybe help him mentally, I guess."

The last time Romo held for the Cowboys was in a January 2007 playoff game. He bobbled the snap, preventing Dallas from trying a short go-ahead field goal in the final minutes of what turned out to be a loss in Seattle, then tearfully apologized afterward.

Romo held once more after that, at the Pro Bowl a few weeks later. When Phillips took over as the Cowboys' coach in 2007, he jokingly said that Romo was retired from holding.

So, did Romo volunteer to come out of retirement? Or was he asked to do so?

"Kind of in-between," Phillips said. "We're trying to address a problem. That looked like the best way to go with the people we have. ... It's something he's willing to do. I don't think it's a problem for him."

Romo actually began his NFL career as a holder, doing so much of it in the 2005 season and early in '06 before he replaced Drew Bledsoe at quarterback. Romo even replaced McBriar on the job in '05 after the punter botched an attempt.

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Phillips said special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis liked what he saw from Romo as a holder.

"We let him hold quite a bit to see how he did (because) he hadn't done it in a while," Phillips said. "Guys that have the mechanics, it doesn't take them long to get the hang of it."

The Cowboys (8-4) are coming off a loss that dropped them into a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. Dallas has a tough December schedule and a history of flopping in the final month, so this is a tough time to experiment with anything -- and, apparently, even tougher to stick with a kicker-holder relationship that has gone awry.

Phillips added that it might not all be the holder's fault.

"Virtually, it's up to the kicker, though," he said. "He has to do his part of it, too. ... He knows it's his responsibility to be better, too."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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