David Arkin gets the job done at center

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- So low was the bar on the center play that the Cowboys were ecstatic that David Arkin did not have botched snap in three-plus quarters of action against Oakland.

Arkin has snapped for only two weeks in his life and a number of his shotgun snaps were too tall for Dirk Nowitzki. He did not have that issue Monday but it wasn’t perfect by any stretch.

A miscommunication on a screen play led to Tony Romo being sacked after Arkin barely scraped defensive linemen Tommy Kelly before heading out, and he was also flagged for a holding penalty.

“He seemed to be pretty steady from what I could tell,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The big concern that we had from him, having not played center very much in his life, is taking care of the ball. So the nightmare scenario where we have four snaps on the ground, snapping it over the quarterback's head in the shotgun, none of that happened and that’s a positive thing. A number of times, he heard me say, the ball first, Arkin. It’s all about the ball first. He heard that a lot from me and coach Callahan this week, he handled that part well.

"There were some mistakes handling some different fronts and what he was supposed to do. The sack, having a screen coming out, was a misidentification of a man. We let that guy come up the middle clean on Tony. For the most part, he competed well, that’s really his nature. He’s a good competitor. He just needs some more experience in there.”

Starting center Phil Costa missed the game because of a lower back strain, but the team believes he will be able to practice this week and possibly play Saturday at San Diego.