IRVING, Texas – Anthony Hitchens is in line to make his first career start this week if Justin Durant can't go.
With Durant out with a groin injury, Hitchens is lining up in practice as the weak side linebacker after rotating between that position and middle linebacker during the preseason.
"Something like this was bound to happen," Hitchens said. "Injuries happen every year. I'm just glad it's not my first time seeing it at Will, so I should be ready to go."
Hitchens said he's on the field at Will in the base defense and off the field in nickel situations. He was brought in to be Sean Lee's backup at middle linebacker, but the Cowboys gave him reps in the middle and at the weak side in case a situation like this occurred.
"I kind of had a good idea I was going to do that when we started from day one," Hitchens said. "I was ready for it. Now, I've just got to build on that."
He said his preparation won't be different this week, after studying last week as if he was the starter to make sure he wasn't caught off guard if he needed to jump in. Hitchens only ended up getting five defensive reps in the opener, but he had an assisted tackle, and that first NFL experience should help some as he prepares for an expanded role. [embedded_ad]
Hitchens said his head isn't spinning with all the switching from backup to starter and middle linebacker to weak side linebacker, and the game is starting to slow down for him.
"Just glad to be in this opportunity right now," Hitchens said. "It's my job to get ready, and I think so far I did a pretty good job of it."
Hitchens said getting on the field and running around Sunday helped get some nerves out. He looks forward to lining up next to Rolando McClain and the starters this week, and he could tell immediately how much McClain likes to hit.
"As you can see, last week he was running around making plays, and that's what we need here," Hitchens said. "He does a great job of doing it and leading our defense out there, so it should be fun playing next to him."
He may prepare the same way this week as he would any week, but there's some added excitement for Hitchens this week as he gets ready to suit up with the starters.
"Definitely. It's fun to be out there with the ones and being out there competing with the best athletes in the world every day," Hitchens said. "It's definitely going to be a good experience and I'm looking forward to it."