Cowboys have youth blocking with Costa, 3 rookies

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Houck said Costa has a better understanding of the offense and the angles the Cowboys want linemen to use.

“He reacts a little quicker because he’s more confident,” Houck said. “Actually, I think he’s probably a little bit stronger than he was.’”

Backup quarterback Stephen McGee found out early how fanatical Costa was about practicing shotgun snaps. McGee recalled being in a meeting one day with Romo, Garrett (then only the offensive coordinator) and quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson when Costa interrupted them.

Phil had just gotten here from Maryland, they didn’t even know his name probably. … `Excuse me guys. McGee, you about ready to get some snaps?’ We’re just dying laughing,” McGee said. “That’s Phil Costa. He doesn’t care who you are, if you’re Jay Ratliff or whoever. He’s going to fight his butt off. That’s how he plays the game. That’s how he works. He’s a winner.”

Costa has heard about the comments by Jones and the stories told by McGee.

While that’s all nice, Costa knows he can’t be content with what’s being said. He has to keep performing on the field.

“Just keep working from there, and building off that,” Costa said. “You have to have an edge out there to be a lineman. You have to be smart, and you have to be physical. … Last year, you come in with more the mentality that you want to make the team, and you want to play. This year, you come in with the same idea and have high goals.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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