5 Players to Watch Against Atlanta

Back up quarterback Chad Hutchinson gets the start tonight against the Atlanta Falcons. He headlines a long list of players the Cowboys' coaching staff has important goals for in tonight's game at Texas Stadium. Could this be the last game for guys like Billy Cundiff and Jeremaine Copeland?

Chad Hutchinson
The rumors in the media have been swirling around the former Stanford star ever since the announcement that he would start tonight against the Atlanta Falcons. If ever there were a time for Chad Hutchinson to step into the spotlight and make a case for playing time this year, this would be it. While offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet and head coach Dave Campo have openly expressed that Quincy Carter is still the starting quarterback, both coaches still want to see how Hutchinson responds with the first team. Tonight will go a long way in settling the so called, "quarterback controversy," at least for this year.

Bryant Westbrook
The Cowboys situation at cornerback is anything but settled; only Mario Edwards has solidified himself on the first team. Bryant Westbrook, signed as a free agent this past offseason, made tremendous strides during his last week of training camp in San Anotonio. Can he carry that over into tonight's exhibition game against Atlanta? That will be the question defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and head coach Dave Campo will look to answer this evening. With rookie Derek Ross coming on strong, this could be a make or break night for one of the Cowboys' "prized" offseason acquisitions. Westbrook has shown a better sense of awareness on the field as his confidence has slowly returned from an Achillies injury suffered two years ago. He must continue to prove himself tonight to keep his momentum going towards a starting spot on the first team in Houston on September 8th.

Billy Cundiff
Let's face it, the Cowboys want Billy Cundiff as their kicker- they really do. All he needs to do is show more consistency. The rookie out of Drake clearly has more leg strength than Tim Seder, and he's been largely more accurate during training camp, he just hasn't done that one thing to prove himself as the starter. Cundiff must do something spectacular tonight if he's going to stay with Cowboys another week. Whether its a long field goal, a game winning field goal, or some incredible special teams play- he needs to step up to the plate.

Antonio Bryant
Make no mistake about it, rookie wide receiver Antonio Bryant is the answer Rocket Ismail's season ending injury. Now all he needs to do is go out and prove himself as the starter. Tonight, he'll have every opportunity to do that. The Cowboys will utilize the short passing game to get Chad Hutchinson and Antonio Bryant into the game early. How the two respond in those first two drives will likely determine the play calling for the rest of the game. Bryant now knows that he will become a focal point of the Cowboys' passing game this year, and that will only speed up his development as a primetime receiver in the NFL. Is he ready?

Jeremaine Copeland
Jeremaine Copeland needs to have a big night if he's going to make a serious run at 53-man roster. Copeland, who had a horrible first week of camp back in early August, has been steadily climbing up the depth chart for the last two weeks. He knows that Randal Williams has the slight edge, especially now with the loss of Rocket Ismail. Campo loves to see lightning fast speed in his receivers, and Williams has the edge over Copeland simply because he is the fastest player on the team. Copeland's future with the Cowboys rests entirely on what he can get accomplished on the field this evening.

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