Dallas Cowboys: macrus spears

What to watch for: Cowboys-Raiders

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
9:29
AM ET
The Dallas Cowboys open their preseason schedule against the Oakland Raiders on Monday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Here are a couple of things to look for as the 2012 Cowboys take the field against a hostile opponent for the first time:

1. The offensive line: It looks as though David Arkin will start at center in place of injured Phil Costa. Center and guard are two positions of great concern for the Cowboys. Even healthy, Costa wasn't very good last year, and Arkin has no experience at the position outside of the practice reps he's been taking in Oxnard for the past two weeks. You'll see some of Harland Gunn (also learning the position), and if free-agent signee Mackenzy Bernadeau is healthy and active for the game, he could get some center snaps as well. The Cowboys also need to find answers at guard, where Bernadeau and Nate Livings were brought in to help, but Livings has been hurt and isn't likely to play. Keep an eye on undrafted Ronald Leary, who's been getting a lot of first-team snaps at guard and is someone the coaches like. Also watch left tackle Tyron Smith, a great talent who's making the switch from right tackle in his second NFL season. See if he's got that footwork down yet.

2. The wide receivers. With starters Miles Austin (out) and Dez Bryant (game-time decision) beset by hamstring injuries, Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Andre Holmes, Cole Beasley, Danny Coale and a host of others will get significant reps. The No.

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