With Ryan Cook hurt, Phil Costa returns as starting center

IRVING, Texas – It looks like the Cowboys’ decision on which of their centers is better will be delayed at least a week.

They’ll just go with the healthy guy for now. That’s Phil Costa right now with Ryan Cook nursing a strained hamstring.

“I think Ryan Cook did a great job,” offensive coordinator/line coach Bill Callahan said. “Unfortunately, he’s on the shelf.”

Cook hasn’t practiced since the Monday night loss to the Bears. Costa is ready to return from a back injury that sidelined him for most of training camp and since the first three snaps of the season opener.

It could be argued that the Cowboys are downgrading with the return of their original starter.

Cook, who was acquired from the Dolphins for a seventh-round pick after the preseason, has been the least of the Cowboys offensive line’s problems. Pro Football Focus grades him as the NFL’s No. 13 center so far this season.

Costa, on the other hand, was the offensive line’s weakest link a year ago. Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 30 center in the league last season.

Callahan was noncommittal when asked about the Cowboys’ starting center once both candidates are healthy.

“We just go out on the practice field, we let them practice, we see who’s more consistent, who’s more ready physically,” Callahan said. “So all those things go into the decision. Physically, ability to play, obviously. Who’s ready mentally. Who can do the job. Who can do the best job for our team. Who we think is the best matchup, depending on who we’re going against.”