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Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The Cowboys plan to play third-string quarterback Richard Bartel the whole way in Thursday's final "tune-up" for the regular season against the Vikings. Local media has sort of ignored Bartel in its haste to bring in Chris Simms or John Beck as the third quarterback.
But internally, quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and Jason Garrett have been pleased with Bartel's progress. For him, Thursday represents a huge opportunity. Bartel has a strong arm, but he'll need to make better decisions against the Vikings. The good news is that he'll have some huge support at Texas Stadium. He grew up playing high school football about 10 miles away in Grapevine.
I'm told that the family of legendary local pastor Jimmy Draper has purchased at least 17 tickets in support of Bartel. Unlike Jim Zorn and Andy Reid, Wade Phillips won't let his starters anywhere near the field Thursday. And that's the way it should be.