Originally created 08/24/02

Cowboys will see a different QB Vick for Falcons



IRVING, Texas -- The last time the Dallas Cowboys saw Michael Vick, he was an erratic rookie quarterback who ended up splitting snaps after halftime for the Atlanta Falcons.

On Saturday night, the Cowboys can expect to see a calmer and more under control Vick, now No. 1 in his second NFL season.

"I have leadership skills because I believe in my teammates and I know they believe in me," Vick said. "Regardless of how a game goes, I'm always going to be confident because I'm the starter. I'll never let the guys see me with my head down or doubting myself."

Vick, whose NFL starting debut came last November against the Cowboys in a game the Falcons won, will play the first half. Doug Johnson will follow, with the Falcons also planning to use rookie Kurt Kittner.

Like Atlanta, the Cowboys are 2-0 this preseason and have settled on their No. 1 quarterback - even if second-year starter Quincy Carter will come off the bench Saturday.

The Cowboys are giving Chad Hutchinson, a 25-year-old rookie who spent four years playing professional baseball, an opportunity with the first-team. He hasn't started a football game since his sophomore season at Stanford in 1997.

"Obviously, Quincy is the starter," Hutchinson said. "They wanted Quincy to come back after a half and play. I'm just the one allotted the first quarter."

The plan is for Carter to play the second and third quarters. Campo and offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet want to see how Carter handles making halftime adjustments in the new West Coast-style offense.

"We didn't want Quincy to have to play three quarters to get that done," Campo said. "He's making great progress and we feel comfortable with him. It's also a great opportunity to get Hutchinson in because there are not very many seasons you go through without using the backup."

Carter, 21-of-27 passing for 177 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in the preseason, missed half his rookie season with injuries.

The quarterback switch won't have any bearing on the first NFL-mandated cuts that have to be made next week. But the Cowboys have several other issues that have to be worked out in their last two preseason games.

Receiver Raghib Ismail is out for the year after neck surgery Wednesday. The Cowboys have to find out if rookie Antonio Bryant can take over his spot, or if second-year player Ken-Yon Rambo deserves the starting nod.

None of the team's eight cornerbacks have really distinguished themselves. The only solidified starter is Mario Edwards, who will miss Saturday with a strained right hamstring.

Tim Seder and rookie Billy Cundiff are expected to split kicks again. Both are 3-for-3 in field goals with kicks of at least 49 yards. Campo said Seder has an advantage because of experience.

The Cowboys are still without their starting offensive line. All five expected starters have been out at some point this camp. Only two or three will play against the Falcons.

Plus, the problem they thought they had solved at deep snapper returned when Jeff Robinson torn knee ligaments this week.

Free agent pickup Mitch Palmer, who has played for Tampa Bay and Minnesota but was cut by the expansion Texans before training camp, will be the first in line for what Campo anticipates could become a revolving door. Dallas also is looking at 41-year-old Trey Junkin.

On Friday, the Cowboys wrapped up their stay in San Antonio. The rest of their preseason work will be done at their Valley Ranch headquarters, starting Monday.