Romo doing fine with other Cowboys receivers

The next game Tony Romo plays, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback

expects to be throwing again to Miles Austin and Dez Bryant.

And hopefully Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten too.

Yet Romo didn’t seem bothered that his expected top three

pass-catchers were standing on the sideline injured in his last

preseason game. He did just fine throwing to Dwayne Harris, Kevin

Ogletree and John Phillips.

”Tony is an outstanding player and he’s done it with a lot of

different kinds of guys. This is the third or fourth time we’ve

turned the receivers over,” coach Jason Garrett said. ”He’s

someone who continues to play at a very high level. It’s nice to

see him play well and play in a good rhythm with the younger guys.

He’s worked very hard with the different cast of characters he’s

been playing with and they’ve been growing together.”

Romo was 9-of-13 passing for 198 yards and two long touchdowns

to Harris in a 20-19 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Saturday

night. The Cowboys (No. 15 in the AP Pro32) scored 17 of their

points in the three series Romo played in the first quarter.

There is a void to fill at the No. 3 receiver spot behind Austin

and Bryant after Laurent Robinson had 11 TD catches last season and

got a big free-agent deal from Jacksonville.

The absence of Austin (hamstring) and Bryant (right knee

tendinitis) provided Harris and Ogletree more time with Romo and an

extended chance to prove they can play.

”You get a feeling, you get a sensation you think is good, but

what happens then is you’ve got to be able to go out and prove

it,” Romo said. ”You’ve got to go out into the game and you’ve

got to execute well. I thought our team did that. Our young guys

knew what they were doing and it showed.”

Harris, a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, got behind the

secondary for a 61-yard TD and then split two defenders while

finishing a 38-yard score. Ogletree, going into his fourth season,

caught two passes from Romo for 40 yards.

Romo completed passes to six different players, including

running backs DeMarco Murray (two for 16 yards) and Felix Jones

(one for 14). Undrafted rookie Cole Beasley had a 19-yard

catch.

”I thought all of them had the kind of games that will bode

well for them when we’re looking at where we are with our roster

spots,” owner Jerry Jones said. ”Obviously the ones that were in

there with the first group made some good plays for us and that was

good to see, and good to see Tony having confidence in them, and

getting the ball to them.”

Phillips, the tight end filling in as the starter for Witten

(lacerated spleen), had one catch for 10 yards. Phillips had a

one-handed catch reversed on replay and then a 20-yard gain to the

Rams 4 wiped out when he was called for offensive pass

interference.

Harris finished with three catches overall for 118 yards, while

Ogletree had five for 75 yards.

While most or all the young receivers will get more chances in

the preseason finale Wednesday against Miami, Romo expects be

standing on the sideline then.

The Cowboys had Sunday off, then their practice Monday will be

the only one before the last preseason game. That game at home

comes exactly a week before the regular season opener at the

defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Romo, going into his seventh season as the Dallas starter, is

already focusing on that game.

”I do know I’ve been preparing for New York for a while,” Romo

said. ”We’ll just get back to studying on them and take it from

there.”

Dallas has been admittedly cautious with Austin, the two-time

Pro Bowler who missed six games last season because of problems

with both hamstrings. Bryant got hurt during a practice session

with the San Diego Chargers last Monday, but like Austin is

expected to be ready for the opener in New York.

Witten has missed one game in his career, because of a broken

jaw as a rookie in 2003. He sustained a lacerated spleen after

taking a hit in the preseason opener two weeks ago and his status

for the opener is uncertain. The tight end is scheduled for another

doctor visit Tuesday.

”We have to wait until Tuesday to get that update,” Garrett

said.

Notes: Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who was held out of the

first two preseason games because of a foot problem, injured his

ankle in his preseason debut. The extent of the injury wasn’t

clear. ”We’re concerned about any of these (injuries) getting down

where we’re within 10 days of playing,” Jones said. At the same

time, Jones indicated he’d be surprised if Ratliff didn’t play

against the Dolphins. … Garrett said Murray hurt his hand against

the Rams, but it didn’t force him out of the game. … Safety Danny

McCray said he was feeling OK after coming out of the game with a

neck strain.