Players to watch

August 21, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht

Scott Mitchell, QB: Although his best pass of the preseason opener was dropped by Justin Armour, Mitchell irked his coaches by fumbling as he scrambled in the first quarter against the Eagles last week. He seems to have shaken off the "dead-arm phase" of training camp. He also deserves better protection than his offensive line afforded him last week.

Chris McAlister, CB: The rookie had a solid debut in last week's opener, but he followed that up with a shaky week of practice, as he admitted the rigors of his first pro training camp have caught up with him. Let's see if the tired legs show in his second test.

Rod Woodson, S: His first effort at his new position was interrupted by a collision with Ray Lewis, resulting in a nose contusion that forced him out of the game. This is the next step in Woodson's effort to get comfortable at his new home.

Jay Graham, RB: If the third-round draft pick and third-year player intends to make a move and threaten Priest Holmes and/or Errict Rhett for regular-season playing time, tonight would be a good time to start.

Jermaine Lewis, WR: He is the top big-play threat on the roster, although he has had a mediocre camp and was uninvolved in the offense in the preseason opener. He needs to show up tonight.

Lovett Purnell, TE: He could gain a leg up in his battle with Aaron Pierce for the starting job with a good showing against the Falcons.

Patrick Johnson, WR: Few players need a dose of confidence more than Johnson, whose slippery hands persisted last week when he dropped a touchdown pass against the Eagles.

Jonathan Ogden, T: What a gap he created by sitting out the preseason opener with a hip injury. The left side of the line looked below average at best. Don't be surprised if he shakes off the rust tonight in a way that looks effortless. He's that good.

Everett Lindsay, LG: As James Atkins continues to miss practice and playing time with a hamstring problem, Lindsay continues to tighten his hold on the position.

Scott Bentley, K: Veteran Matt Stover is starting to feel the heat, while Bentley is starting to smell an opportunity to unseat the incumbent. A big showing from Bentley will make this competition intriguing.

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