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.