Like the changing of the seasons, one can expect debate over whether these preseason games matter once August rolls into town. Those who claim concerns should be tapered over this four game stretch seem to miss the obvious point: They're playing the games.
This then begs the question of "why". Why do the games matter? The simple answer is to evaluate the players on the roster. Going no further than the simple answer we must then focus our attention on the qualifying statement: "It matters because (insert comment here)." What obviously should not warrant deep analysis are the scores and, for the most part, the stats. They do not matter since the "starters" are limited. But there are positions which have no clear starter, and it is there which we find a high degree of "it matters". Furthermore your starters can get old and it is preseason where you might begin to see cracks in their walls of invincibility.
So let's just quit pretending that these games do nothing more than to service our football needs prior to the games that count. At the very least depth is on display and within that struggle for second string or the practice squad you can sometimes find the unknown star. How many actually thought Mike Thomas would be this good after watching him last year?
But can we also hold off on the quarterback change until at least the Atlanta game? That is where too much emphasis is being put on the preseason. As bad as Curtis Painter looked in game one, he was lights out last night. Luke McCown could be the exact opposite.
I will now take a step down from my soap box. Some thoughts to digest after the jump.
- I cannot believe someone actually used Maurice Jones-Drew getting zero yards as a counter example to why concerns over David Garrard are not justified. So let me get this straight, a player who has performed top five at his position during the regular season is being compared to a player who has struggled with consistency over the past two years. Apples to oranges.
- I must be alone in my concerns with respect to Rashad Jennings. Against the Eagles I saw a slow spin move and an inability to shake a defender in the open field. I hope Deji Karim gets more touches against better defensive talent this weekend. I believe Karim can jump Jennings on the depth chart.
- Anyone else tired of hearing how Derrick Harvey will be better when (X) gets back in the lineup? The strip against Michael Vick was nice but I'd rather see him in Vick's face than reacting to the scramble due to good coverage. I don't know how long he'll play against Jake Long but I hope there is more than just bull rushing.
- Continuing with that topic, Paul Kuharsky had a great response to a question from our friend Joey Marchy over at Jagsonville.com on this Thursday's abbreviated AFC South chat. I would prefer Harvey was the difference maker and not the one needing the difference maker. And I'm not sure Alaualu and Kampman are Freeney and Mathis.
Joey Marchy (jagsonville.com)
This rush the passer situation is getting a little scary. I keep hearing people say there's no way to evaluate the pass rush w/o Kampman and Alualu on the field. I feel like we should be generating more pressure regardless of those two. Can two people really make a huge difference in a team's pass rush?
Of course they can. You are talking about half the line. Ever seen Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis? They change games.
- If Miami knows it is coming, I simply do not care. We have paid our money to see a preseason game and we want to be entertained. Last year the first play from scrimmage (in new uniforms) of the preseason was a 74 yard touchdown bomb to Troy Williamson. Call that same play and execute it...again.
- Still waiting for my MJD dance.
- Last year Chad Henne picked the Jaguar defense apart as if he were Peyton Manning. Greg Camarillo, they're number one WR, had his only +100 yard game. With the add of Brandon Marshall on the roster this is another big test for the defensive backs.
- Now that I think about it, maybe the real test will be keeping their eyes on the ball so when Marshall bobbles it they can intercept. If you don't get it, read this.
- Speaking of Central Florida alums, it is a shame Mike Sims-Walker is injured and will probably miss the game. You have to believe he'd like the chance to out shine his ex-teammate.
- My first fantasy football draft is in the books and even with the great press he has been getting recently, Marcedes Lewis went undrafted. I have been a fan since watching him at UCLA, along with Drew, and would like nothing more than for him to become a top tier receiving TE somewhere.
- If I missed this write up let me know, but one matchup to watch tomorrow night with the starters is Anthony Fasano against the Jaguar linebackers. Consider that this year the team will face Dallas Clark (twice), Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Owen Daniels (twice) and Brent Celek, all scoring threats. How Miami uses the Henne\Fasano connection in limited playing time may disclose a season long mismatch.
- So for all of you who criticized the organization for not taking Brady Quinn, can we please get a formal apology? As bad as he has been, I'd take Reggie Nelson any day of the week over Quinn, who made a bad first impression in his attempt to gain a lock on the backup position in Denver. At the very least Nelson is seeing the field and has shown promise of being serviceable.
- Great article by Alfie Crow regarding Garrard's performance last week. I hope that silences those voices who think he unfairly criticizes David. At least for a while. I used to be one of those voices. Though my criticism was always fair. ;)
- I love Tim Tebow as a person and as a player, but I think everyone needed to see that hit on him by Abdul Hodge. Remember, this was not a hit by a defensive starter. Tim won't get away with the scrambling at the NFL level and his "passion" won't win games. Hopefully Kyle Orton will continue to play well and Tebow can watch and learn. I am still pulling for Superman.
- Staying with this topic, I find it amusing that some who laud Tebow for his attitude and overall outstanding character can be total jerks when talking about the Jaguars not drafting him.
- Last thought on this topic, just because you defend Tebow doesn't make you a Gator Homer. When you generalize to that extent it makes you just as much of a jerk.
- Now that I've managed to probably insult a good number of people it is time to take a shot or two at myself. I will start with my pre-draft comments that taking Sam Bradford was a mistake. Well, behind a bad offensive line Sam was successful in converting twice on 3rd down and the shoulder withstood multiple hits against Minnesota. This is why I don't write very many articles related to a players draft worth. As of today Bradford looks worth the risk.
- When defending Drew's "America's Team" comment I felt I had a solid argument: any team that is America's Team should be the underdog and not assigned the name because they were on television so frequently (as Dallas was). Sadly my next comment utilized the Pittsburgh Steelers and how Dallas failed against them during the 70's. I think the word you're looking for is "jerk".
- I have to be honest with you: The more I look at the schedule the more I only see five wins. Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland and a split with the Titans. Maybe Buffalo will make six but that is an away game and I'm not sure they if they can win there and at KC. Again, the word you're looking for is "jerk".
- OK, they've had a year to grow on us and I feel the same as I did when I first saw them: Love the uniforms. I don't care that the helmets foster "sparkle kitty" comments. The total package is sleek and classic, not too busy or gaudy. I'm also a big fan of the Colts and Penn St uniforms. But nothing beats the powder blue and gold of the UCLA Bruins.
- School is back in session across the country. Please be careful on the roads. There are inexperienced children driving and others on buses.
- Brian Fullford