NFL PRESEASON BEGINS TONIGHT
In years past, most football fans considered the preseason a waste of time and an unnecessary opportunity for their favorite teams’ players to get injured in meaningless games. However, due to the long lockout, shortened camp, and threat of possibly no football season this year, this preseason has been met with much more anticipation. While the Hall Of Fame game (annually held on the night the new class is inducted) was cancelled, the NFL preseason officially kicks off tonight. From a fans perspective, the outcome holds very little relevance, but from the coaching staff’s perspective, it gives them an opportunity to install new game plans, as well as take a long look at the players who will eventually fill out their roster. The starting units play sparingly, but there are always a few players who dominate the preseason and end up making an impact come regular season. This evening will feature two games and I’ve included a few key things to keep an eye on
The Jacksonville Jaguars vs. The New England Patriots
New England Patriots
- Will Tom Brady play and how will he bounce back from offseason surgery?
- How will the offense gel with the addition of Chad Ochocinco?
- What kind of impact will the veteran additions along the defensive line make, such as Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, and Andre Carter?
- Will they throw their #1 draft pick Blaine Gabbert into the fire at quarterback straight from the get go and how will he perform?
- What kind of impact will newly signed former Raider tight end Zach Miller have?
- Will we get to see Maurice Jones-Drew or will they try to keep him fresh for the season?
The Baltimore Ravens vs. The Philadelphia Eagles
- Coming off of two spectacular seasons, how much will Joe Flacco play?
- Will we get to see the newly signed Ricky Williams take some carries away from Ray Rice?
- Will newly acquired Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach clear even more room for Ray Rice to help him eclipse his rushing totals from the past few seasons?
- With perhaps one of the all-time greatest runs in free agency, which player will make the most impact?
- How will the Eagles utilize their 3 Pro Bowl CBs Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
- How much gas does recently sign RB Ronnie Brown have left in the tank?
- How will Michael Vick spread the ball around evenly to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Steve Smith (injured) to keep them all happy?
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers
- Tavaris Jackson was brought in from Minnesota to be this team’s QB. Does he have what it takes to be successful?
- The team recently released leading tackler and defensive captain LB Lofa Tatupu; who will step up and take his place?
- Do they have enough weapons on offense with Sidney Rice, Mike Williams, Leon Washington, and Marshawn Lynch to make a run at the playoffs?
San Diego Chargers
- Can Philip Rivers continue to put up astronomical passing numbers the way he has in years past?
- Will the tandem of Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews get it done at RB?
- Who will step up and fill Shawn Merriman’s place on defense?
Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys
- Will Kyle Orton be able to hold onto the starting quarterback job?
- How much playing time can we expect Tim Tebow to get?
- Can Knowshon Moreno finally live up to the expectations that made him a high draft pick?
- What kind of impact with #2 overall pick LB Von Miller have?
- Can the offensive line keep Tony Romo off the ground?
- How effective will the rushing attack be with Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, and DeMarco Miller now that Marion Barber has been released?
- How will the #9 overall draft pick Tyron Smith hold up at RT, the position he was drafted to start at from Day 1?
Arizona Cardinals vs. Oakland Raiders
- How will Kevin Kolb fare in his first appearance as the Cardinals’ starting QB?
- How sorely will Pro Bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie be missed?
- Is #5 overall pick Patrick Peterson as good as advertised?
- How different will this defense be without Nnamdi Asomugha?
- Will CB Stanford Routt, rewarded with a mega contract, be an adequate replacement for Asomugha?
- Can Darren McFadden improve on his breakout season from last year?