It’s the last preseason game, which means that the main thing to watch for is no one getting hurt. Here are a few other things I’ll be keeping an eye on tonight:
- The momentum of the starting offense. I’ve heard a lot of skepticism about Coach Zorn electing to give the starting offense a series or two this evening, the main counter-argument being that they’ll be going against Jacksonville’s second- or third-string guys, so why bother? I’m a big believer in momentum, though, not just in-game but across multiple games, and it couldn’t hurt the offense to have their most recent action be something — ANYthing — better than last week’s display. I’m just not going to think about what happens if they struggle here.
- Malcolm Kelly in the game. His first preseason action, the main thing I want to see is if it looks like he trusts his legs. Sure, it’d be nice to see him do something impressive, but I’d settle for successfully running a few routes, maybe taking a hit, and jogging off the field to prepare for next week.
- The defensive backs and linebackers. With cuts looming and the defensive starters not scheduled to play at all, it’ll be instructive to see which of the young defensive backs and linebackers makes any kind of case to make the roster.
- And, of course, the punting battle. Both punters scheduled to punt tonight, for the first time this preseason, and this one is likely for all the marbles. This will be the most attention I have ever paid to the person holding on extra points and field goals in all my years watching football.
Mainly, though, I’m hoping the team gets through this one clean and injury-free. Thanks to the extra preseason game, I’m even more ready for the regular season than I usually would be by this point.