5 Players to Watch Tonight

With competition heating up at several positions, Dave Campo will seperate the men from the boys by who comes up big on gameday. Here is our look at 5 players to watch during the Cowboys first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders this evening.

QB Quincy Carter
Anyone who has been to training camp in San Antonio will tell you that Quincy Carter has made great strides since last season. Carter has proven that he should be the starting quarterback on the practice fields, now it's time to show the rest of the world what he can do.

While the Cowboys won't reveal everything their new offesne brings to the table this evening, it will be imperative for Carter to make the most of his opportunity. "Quincy needs experience, even if he has to fend for himself out there a little bit," Dave Campo said yesterday.

With a banged up offensive line, Dallas will rely on the run to get things going early on, but look for Carter to get somewhere between 10-12 opportunities to throw the ball before he's yanked late in the 2nd quarter. The short passing game and the intermediate routes to Ismail, Galloway, and Bryant should be the mainstay of the passing game in the first half.

Make sure to watch Carter when he's in the pocket, pay close attention to how he responds- is he going through his reads, is he hitting his wide receivers in stride, and most importantly, is he avoiding the big mistake? It will be very important for him to establish himself after completing only 1-of-6 passes last week in Houston.

CB Bryant Westbrook
Bryant Westbrook has yet to show prove his worth in training camp. He's been beaten deep by the likes of Joey Galloway and Raghib Ismail, and he also has looked hesitant against rookie Antonio Bryant. Unfortunately for Westbrook, the Raiders still have veteran all-pro receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice.

The former pro-bowl performer out of Detroit needs to gain his confidence back if he's going be an impact player this year. "He's a guy that is testing where he's at, his limits. I don't think that he's let it all go yet, I'm really kind of excited to see what he does in ballgames because I think that when you look at it he's had more interceptions I think than our entire secondary has - himself, over his career."

Pay close attention to how Westbrook responds on the deep routes. Does he still have that excellent closing speed? Can he provide ample run support against a bigger running back? These are just some of the questions that will begin to be answered this evening.

QB Chad Hutchinson
After a 4-year absence from any sort of significant live action on the football field, Chad Hutchinson will get his chance this evening at Texas Stadium. The former Stanford Cardinal has a lively arm and all the physical tools you'd like to see in an NFL quarterback, but he's still rusty after 4-years in minor league baseball.

Hutchinson looked solid last week in his debut against the Houston Texans as he led the Cowboys' offense to their only touchdown. Tonight will be different, as he faces his first true test as a professional football player without the help of coaches on the field offering instruction. Look for Hutchinson to see at least a quarter of action against the 2nd and 3rd team guys on the Oakland Raiders.

Also, look for Bruce Coslet to open up his playbook more with Hutchinson in the game. It is imperative that the Cowboys' organization finds out what he can do, even though he's only been in Dallas since January. Even though nobody wants to talk about it, there are experts that think Hutchinson could be ready to play much earlier than what the organization is letting on. A good start tonight for the young gun could be a huge stepping stone to bigger things in the future.

FS Roy Williams
We've all heard the hype, now it is time to "unleash the beast" so to speak. The arrival of safety Roy Williams will usher in a new era in the Dallas secondary- starting tonight. Before you get too excited, don't expect the Cowboys to reveal all of their new blitzing schemes during a preseason game, but Williams should be in position to make some of the big plays he's most noted for.

"We have a lot of speed on defense, and it's going to allow us to play aggressively and do more things on defense," said Dave Campo. "We have guys like Roy Williams that play with a lot of confidence and intensity."

PK Tim Seder
Simply put, Tim Seder has found himself on the hotseat in a hurry. He's been largely inconsistent since the beginning of training camp, and if he has any hopes of regaining the respect of Dave Campo and the rest of the Cowboys coaching staff, he'll need to do something at Texas Stadium tonight.

Remember, Seder was injured mid-way through the 2001 season, and he only finished the year 11-of-17 on field goals. Those numbers were anything but spectacular, and the pressure is squarely on his shoulders. Cundiff has performed much better under pressure through the first two weeks of training camp, even though he too has struggled with his accuracy.

Tonight certainly could go a long way in determing who the Cowboys' placekicker will be this season. A missed kick could mean that somebody will lose their job.

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