As of today we will never be any closer to regular season football till opening day. The third preseason game is where the first team offense and defense get the most time on the field, the risk of injuries is the highest, and the most playbook is revealed. Which is not to say that the coaches are going so far as to game plan for the Packers, but it's certainly a more realistic representation of how the team will look in September and hopefully January.
Sadly, this is the first of two Jaguars games that are aired on national television. This preseason game and the Monday Night Football game against the Colts. How sad. But fret not Jaguars fans, I'd imagine that as we dominate the AFC this season, we'll see a few of those "flex games" switched to highlight the eventual Super Bowl winner.
There are some important elements to watch out for tonight. Most importantly, next Tuesday is when the roster has to be cut down from the current 92 down to 75. Many of our position battles will begin to take shape, though most of who's cut is training camp fluff. Will we see Reggie Williams gone on Tuesday? It's entirely within the range of possibilities.
Let's bring out the bullet points!
- One of my favorite Jaguars of all time, Joe Zelenka, received an extra boost of job security when rookie Long Snapper Brett Goode was released. Zelenka has the dream job of being a vested veteran long snapper, receiving $720,000 this season for shis services. Do you know why you've never heard of Joe? Cause he's absolutely reliable under any and all circumstances.
- Reggie Nelson, it turns out, only has a simple sprain and should be fine to return to the lineup for opening day. Fantastic news, methinks, though I was OK with the idea of him taking his time and starting his NFL career without the weight of starting over him.
- What if we started the season with these five guys at wide receiver: Charles Sharon, Mike Walker, Ernest Wilford, Matt Jones and John Broussard? I'd be cool with that. The only way we'd carry six wide receivers would be if we only did 4 tight ends, but I've got a feeling we're going to keep a bunch for our new offense.
- This Site makes me happy. Nothing like Pulp Fiction references and the Jaguars.
- Engaging Conversation: Be there! Yeah, I'll be hosting a live blog tonight, right here on the site. You can participate, throw out commentary, make jokes, play the official Big Cat Country drinking game, and enjoy the live broadcast with your humble host. It's BYOB though.
- Injuries: Avoid em! We took a licking on Saturday and we're playing on a short week so the guys haven't had has long to recover. With our starters out there for 2 or more quarters, we need them to survive with their health.
- Passing Game: Have one! Tonight's the night we show off a little bit with the national audience. Let's show them what we can do with our passing game and that our man Byron can do his thing. Also, it'd be nice if our Wide Receivers made it through the game without dropping a single ball, I'd really like that.
- Running Game: Use it, but just the tip! Our bread and butter is our running game, therefore we should give it just enough attention to make sure it's ready, but not enough to hurt anyone. Fred and Jones-Drew should get as few carries as necessary to get the job done. We've got so many jars on the shelf at RB that we don't need to risk our big guys. I just want the offensive line to get used to pushing forward and making holes. It don't matter to me who runs through them.
- Safety Dance: If you want to! Reggie Nelson is a no-go tonight, so we get to see my favorite named Jaguar get some action. Jamaal Fudge did great last week against the Bucs, and now he gets some extra time today in the backfield. I hope he kicks ass. In fact, if he whacks a Green Bay player really hard, I'll call him a Fudge Packer! Ha! In all seriousness, we'll also get to see what Sammy Knight has in the tank as well, if we experiment with moving SS Gerald Sensabaugh to FS, and put Sammy at FS. Or maybe we'll do what I've been clamoring for since before the draft and try out Brian Williams at FS and Scott Starks or Terry Cousin opposite Mathis.
- Defense: Hit Em! Yeah, it's national TV, let's see about putting Brett Farve into early retirement...or late retirement...or whatever you'd call it. He's been hot in the pre-season, let's show him what a real defense looks like.
- Tickets: Buy them! I was pretty nasty yesterday when I heard about the ticket woes. And I'd never suggest that play calling could be used to influence ticket buyers. But I'd be OK with showing off our team a bit to light the fire underneath our "fans" and get them to realize that they've got a chance to participate in greatness.