What I'll be watching: Rams-Cowboys

August, 25, 2012
8/25/12
2:33
PM ET
The Dallas Cowboys play their third preseason game of 2012 at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday against the St. Louis Rams in Arlington, Texas. Here's what I'll be watching...

Most closely: The backup wide receivers. With Miles Austin and Dez Bryant (not to mention tight end Jason Witten) out with injuries, I'm very interested to see who catches Tony Romo's passes in this game. Kevin Ogletree has been the standout among the No. 3 wide receiver candidates so far this preseason, but Dwayne Harris, Andre Holmes, Cole Beasley and others are still in the mix and should get opportunities with the first-team offense tonight. It's still audition time for those guys, and with this likely to be Romo's final preseason game of the year, it's probably their best chance to show their stuff.

On the other side of the ball: The defense looks to be getting healthy, as nose tackle Jay Ratliff, defensive end Jason Hatcher and linebacker Anthony Spencer all have a chance to see their first preseason action. The Cowboys have struggled a bit against the run in the preseason so far, but Hatcher and Spencer are two of their best run defenders, and Ratliff's presence in the middle of the defensive line should shore things up there. Seeing the starting defense on the field together all at the same time will be encouraging to Cowboys fans, and it should be interesting to see who gets the bulk of the playing time at that defensive end spot opposite Hatcher. Some roster decisions looming over there.

If I think of it: DeMarco Murray's touches have been very limited this preseason, and Dallas doesn't want to risk injury to the running back on whom it plans to rely on a great deal this year. Murray will probably get more carries in this game, but don't expect to see very much of him. I'll be looking at Morris Claiborne again at cornerback, as he's going to have to hit the ground running if the defense is to function the way they want it to. And of course, the offensive line, whose struggles have been the story of the preseason. Are they getting healthier and/or better there?

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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