Tucker Going the Extra Mile for Rookie

IRVING, TX. - Three things had to happen before rookie offensive tackle Rob Petitti was placed into the Cowboys' starting line up.

No. 1, the Cowboys cut former second-round draft pick Jacob Rogers. No. 2, the Cowboys released veteran Kurt Vollers. And no. 3, Petitti had to beat out Torrin Tucker, last year's starter.

Now just two games into his NFL career, Petitti has performed remarkably well for a rookie who wasn't drafted until the sixth round. So far, he has held his own against two teams -- San Diego and Washington -- both of which boast excellent defenses.

At his press conference Wednesday, head coach Bill Parcells said he was relatively pleased with Petitti's progress thus far, although he was quick to point out that Petitti still has a long way to go. Parcells lauded the rookie's work ethic, attention to detail and work habits, and said that Petitti benefits from the advice he receives from right guard Marco Rivera and … Tucker.

"I'm very proud of the way Torrin Tucker has helped him out in the first couple of games," Parcells said. "(Tucker) has done a really good job helping him."

Petitti said that having Tucker on the sideline, watching him, is almost like having an extra offensive line coach.

"Torrin has helped me a lot, especially in the first game," Petitti said. "I remember I messed something up. I gave up a pressure -- not a sack -- and the coaches were upset. He got to me and really helped me calm down and understand what I'd done wrong. It really does help to come off the field and have him there, to tell me what to do."

Tucker said that his willingness to help the player who took his starting role this year stems solely from his desire to see the Cowboys win.

"We're a team first," Tucker said. "Regardless of who's out there, we're playing to win games. If Rob's out there, and I see something that he can do better, because if he plays better, we have a better chance to win.

"When I'm out there, I'd hope he'd do me the same way."

The fact that he's getting advice from the man he supplanted in the starting lineup is not lost on Petitti.

"For the guy (Tucker) to be like that … that tells you so much about what kind of guy Torrin is," Petitti said. "He's a great person, and he's a team player. It's a little weird. I know this sounds cheesy, but I really believe good things happen to good people, and Torrin's definitely a great person.

"You never know what's going to happen. Even during (training) camp, we always help each other out. Hopefully me and (LT) Flozell (Adams) won't get hurt, but if something happens -- we're only carrying three tackles -- Torrin will be ready."

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