Thursday News, Notes & Rumblings

Even with starting cornerback Bryant Westbrook giving up playing time to Duane Hawthorne, this team is going to need some help to beat the mighty Tennesee Titans this Sunday at Texas Stadium, and it all starts with Quincy Carter.

Dave Campo announced yesterday that cornerback Bryant Westbrook will be used less this Sunday in the Cowboys' home opener against the Tennessee Titans.

Duane Hawthorne will be used more in place of Westbrook because the coaching staff considers Hawthorne the better defender against the pass. Westbrook will still start the game, but Hawthorne could take over if he's able to gain the confidence of the coaching staff.

The word around Valley Ranch is that Bryant Westbrook has fell into the doghouse of head coach Dave Campo based on his performance last weekend in Houston. The Cowboys' biggest fear headed into the regular season was that Westbrook would revert back to his old ways in Detroit, when he was flagged for more pass interference calls than any other cornerback in the league over one stretch of the season three years ago.

Former Clemson linebacker Keith Adams will replace Dat Nguyen at middle linebacker this Sunday against the Titans. Adams was one of the most underrated linebackers in the country his junior year at Clemson when he registered 148 total tackles and 7 sacks.

While Adams may not always take the best angle of pursuit against the ball carrier, his speed allows him to get away with it. Watch Adams this Sunday, if the Cowboys are in need of some bigger plays on defense- he could be the short-term answer. His aggressive play and relentless pursuit should be a spark plug for the Cowboys' defense.

Quincy Carter has to dramatically improve on his 13-of-30 passing performance of a week ago if the Cowboys are going to have a chance Sunday. While Dallas was able to run the ball somewhat effectively against the Texans (155 yards), there was never that solid threat of gaining 4-5 yards a clip; this put all the pressure on Carter to play at a high level, and obviously, he fell short of the mark.

The Cowboys' offense must be able to put Quincy Carter in situations where he has less than 5 yards to get the first down. This will keep the defense honest and allow the Cowboys to use the play action passing game to their advantage.

If the Cowboys are facing 2nd and 3rd downs where they have to go more than 7 yards to keep the drive going, it could be another long evening.

One of the main problems I have with Quincy Carter's game last week in Houston was his inability to look off his wide receivers.

How else do you think Texans' cornerback Aaron Glenn was able to get his hand in on so many passes? Carter was constantly staring down his wide receivers and failing to pump fake to keep the secondary on it's heels.

That will have to stop Sunday if the Cowboys are going to keep the game close.

Other Notes
The Titans enter Sunday's game at Texas Stadium listed as 3-point favorites over the Cowboys. Tennessee has been quite impressive on the road over the course of the last 3 season, compiling a 10-6 record during that span.

Wide receiver Darnay Scott, who signed with the Cowboys this past Monday, is expected to play Sunday against Tennessee, despite a mild shoulder strain.

Lewis Mackey was signed to the practice squad Wednesday afternoon in hopes of solidifying the Cowboys depth at linebacker. The Cowboys cut safety Keith Davis to make room for the move. The Cowboys only had four healthy linebackers prior to the Mackey's acquisition.

Reggie Swinton is finally healthy again and will be used extensively on kick returns this weekend against the Titans. Swinton has been bothered with a hamstring injury since the middle of training camp in San Antonio.

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