After being in California for almost a month, the Dallas Cowboys come back home to nurse some of their injuries and prepare for the team’s third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. The third game historically is the one preseason game where the expected team’s opening day roster gets the most playing time on the field. The last time these two teams played was last year in a regular season game where rookie running back DeMarco Murray set a Cowboys team record for most yards rushed in one game with 253 yards.
Quaterback Tony Romo’s top three receiving options will not be playing tonight. Wide receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant have a strained hamstring and patella tendinitis, respectively. Tight end Jason Witten has a lacerated spleen. While those three continue to get healthy for the regular season, several other young wide receivers will get more playing time to justify their spot on this year’s 53-man starting roster. Wide receivers Kevin Ogletree, Andre Holmes, and Cole Beasley have done well in the previous two preseason games. Rookie Danny Coale will get a chance to play in his first preseason game.
The offensive line looks to get two key starters, guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, playing for the first time together. It will interesting to see if the offensive line can continue to protect Tony Romo. After a terrible first preseason game, the line did much better against the Chargers in the second game. But the line has not been able to open up the running game. DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones have had no success in either game. One of the big keys to tonight’s match-up is to see if the Cowboys can get that running game going again against the Rams, the exact same way they did last year.
The defense will also gets some key players from last year playing for the first time this preseason. Defensive linemen Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher, and linebacker Anthony Spencer should be on the field. The first team defense has played terrific this year. They have yet to give up any points, and cornerback Brandon Carr had 2 interceptions in the game against the Chargers. They will continue to be without their top defensive player and pass rusher in DeMarcus Ware. He is resting his hamstring injury. NFL’s top slot cornerback Mike Jenkins will not play, and there are rumors that he may be placed on the PUP list. If the rumor becomes true, Jenkins will not play in the first 6 games of the year.
With the first regular game on the road against the champions New York Giants 11 days away, the one thing that Cowboys fans want tonight more than anything else is not sustain any more injuries to key players.