|August 21st, 2010
|7:30 pm EST
Heading into the second game of the NFL pre-season, we've got a good idea of what to look for now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Certain positions are easier to watch than others, but luckily this is a home game, so a lot of us will be in the stands and see the entire field.
Click the jump to find out what positions I'm going to be paying the most attention to the first go-round.
Obviously this will be a position of note, given how things transpired last week. Don't focus on just the stats, however. As I pointed out after re-watching the game for analytical purposes, not everything was bad from David Garrard. Statistically, he wasn't very good, but there were some things he did correctly.
Look for those types of things. Watch how the quarterbacks react when they get pressure. Note where the pressure came from and if it was pressure from a blow block or from holding the football. Watch the quarterbacks head while they're dropping back, see if you can see it move.
Statistics are nice in the pre-season, but they can be over inflated.
Troy Williamson and Tiquan Underwood
Both players are competing for the same role in the offense, big-play field stretching wide receiver. Both so far have shown that ability. Expect both to get a lot of playing time.
Leger Douzable and the Defensive Tackles
Because of the injuries to Tyson Alualu and D'Anthony Smith, there is a big hole at the defensive tackle position ripe for the taking. Outside of Terrance Knighton, there is a battle going on. I believe the early lead goes to newcomer Leger Douzable, so see if he carries the first game and practice into the game. Guys like Walter Curry, Atiyyah Ellison, and Ko Quaye were somewhat disappointing in the first game.
Pay attention to how many plays, missed plays, or "almost" plays Reggie Nelson makes. He was up and down in the first pre-season and was rather unnoticeable in training camp. By all accounts, Nelson is still behind guys like Sean Considine and Anthony Smith in the safety rotation, so Nelson needs a good showing.
The guard battle is going to be an important one. Vince Manuwai was slated to start last Friday's game as the right guard, but before the game the switch was made to start Kynan Forney at left guard and Uche Nwaneri at right guard. Some feel Forney has the early lead and this will put Vince Manuwai on the ropes for his roster spot (I think he's kept on the roster, regardless. Article on "why" will come later). Who can move the pile for the running game? Who can pass protect and pick up blitzers against Miami's 3-4 defense? Justin Smiley is still in the mix too, but I have concerns about his injury history. He's still sitting out practices, and that's not a good sign, precautionary or not.
Tackling has been a big point of emphasis for the defense all off-season, but it doesn't seem a whole lot different to me. It's expected for tackling to be poor in the first pre-season game, as it's most teams first chance at real live hitting. It should improve drastically from Game 1 to Game 2. If it doesn't... uh oh!