Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week 2, pre-season.

Ravens @ Redskins: Beware the Grossman! Not sure how much playing time he'll get but he should at least appear for a series or two in the second half. Against the Ravens banged up secondary there is an opportunity for another big day. Regardless of who is at QB for Washington, their receivers need to take this chance to show that they can produce the goods after drawing a ton of criticism in recent years. For the Ravens it will probably be a tough day through the air. The Redskins defense is one of the best around (surprisingly) so I'm expecting plenty of action on the ground from Baltimore. Of course they could shoot this plan in the foot (ala the Carolina Panthers last year. Hate 'em) and decide this is a good time to be testing the limits of Flacco and their new look receiving corps. Steelers @ Giants: So, will we see Big Ben or not? That is the question. Personally I don't care, but there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding it. I'm more interested in the ongoing Dennis Dixon versus Byron Leftwich battle. Also keep an eye on Flozell Adams at RT. Word out of the Steelers camp is that he's struggling at the position. For the Giants, we'll all be watching to see if Victor Cruz can bring the goods again. This is also a perfect match up between the Giants pass rush vs. the Steelers O-line. If they're going to kick start their season anywhere then this is it. Chiefs @ Buccaneers: Ugh. Both teams have struggled to draw themselves out of camp and get going. For the Chiefs I'm hoping to see more of Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster. I think the risk of injury is worth the price of getting the team off its butt and into action. We're also still waiting on Dwayne Bowe to finally do... something. Anything. For the Bucs I'm keen to seen Brain Price in action. Yeah, McCoy is great and all, but watching Brice in his college days I'm struck by just how well he penetrates the backfield. And man, the Bucs need some of that this year. Would be nice as well to see josh Freeman make more use of TE Kellen Winslow II in the passing game. Dolphins @ Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew. Anyone remember that guy? Would be nice if the Jaguars did. Rashad Jennings could also see some carries (please god, stop throwing it 40 times a game!) (Unless it's Luke McCown). For the 'phins, all eyes are on Brandon Marshall once more. After a week of reports involving drops in practice and petulant punting of the football, the pressure is mounting on Marshall to justify the Dolphins trade and the salary hike they gave him. Rams @ Browns: The Rams say they don't want to push Bradford too much. They want A.J. Feely to take the load and I kind of like that. I though Feely performed well when he got time for the Eagles many moons ago, the question is whether he can reproduce that form tonight. Big games from Donnie Avery and Mardy Gilyard will help immensely. The Rams defense? Errr... yeah. Given the amount of talent (and money) on that D-line, we really should be seeing results by now. For the Browns it's make or break time. They have to give Jake Delhomme some serious playing time and start making a decision as to who will start. After a good showing by Seneca Wallace in week 1 of the pre-season, the pressure is mounting on the coach Eric Mangini to pick a starter, and more importantly, to pick the right one. Keep an eye out for Brian Robiskie to build on his solid performance from last week. Texans @ Saints: The Saints struggled in the first game, especially defensively. First round pick CB Patrick Robinson has been taking some flak for his performances through training camp so the main load will fall on Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer to repeat their form from last year. Offensively I'd like to see the Saints get their ground game going, as play-action was a huge part of their scoring offense in 2009. The Texans are pretty sound offensively and defensively they seem to have progressed since last year. Rookie corner Kareem Jackson is finding his feet and LB Darryl Sharpton excelled in his first action of the pre-season. Jets @ Panthers: The Jets have some wounds to patch. Having spent the entire off season trying to convince the world that they're destined for the Super Bowl, the Jets now have to face the reality that their depth at the corner position is looking a little more shallow. Darrelle Revis meanwhile is sitting at home rubbing his hands with glee, waiting for the phone to ring with a big, fat offer attached. I'm expecting the Jets to revert to more zone coverages this week and to lay off the blitz a little. As for the Panthers, who knows? They could just as easily spend the whole game with Gary Barnidge at QB as they could running the football with Williams and Stewart. In all seriousness, the Tight end position is key for the Panthers. Last year the trio of Gary Barnidge, Jeff King and Dante Rosario did good service and with the Panthers still trying to find themselves at the receiver position expect these three to see plenty of the ball. Raiders @ Bears: After a surprisingly good draft and a trade to get a new QB, the Raiders seemed poised for a good season. But then reality hits home I guess. Darrius Heyward-Bey still hasn't panned out so Louis Murphy must pick up the slack. Defensively they're still leaning on Richard Seymour to generate most of their pressure, though rookie LB Rolando McClain and former Brown Kamerion Wimbley offer some hope for the Raiders D. The Bears are the Bears, which means that Jay Cutler will probably spend most of the game fruitlessly trying to find someone to throw the ball to. We're still yet to see any improvement in the running game either, so it'll be interesting to see they cope in this aspect. The return of Brian Urlacher from his season ending injury last year continues at a steady pace, so keep an eye for him leading the team in tackles. Cowboys @ Chargers: Classic Cowboys after game 1. All hype and no substance. So far at least. The o-line didn't little to inspire confidence and the early optimism surrounding the Cowboys three headed rushing attack is quickly starting to fade. The Chargers D had a field day last week against the Bears and facing Dallas is another tough challenge that will help prepare them for the season ahead. There's a possibility they might even top the five sacks from last week. Lions @ Broncos: With Tebow on the suspect list, it's down to Brady Quinn to make a run at Kyle Orton. Yeah, good luck with that. Looking forward to seeing a bit more of Demaryius Thomas if at all possible. The Lions... just keep plugging away guys. Keep plugging away. Looking forward to a bit more from Jahvid Best. Packers @ Seahawks: The Aaron Rodgers show should continue to roll and Ryan Grant should continue to slip under the radar to a degree. Packers are looking strong already but it's early days. The Seahawks need to find some of that hype they were riding heading into training camp. Still keeping an eye on Kam Chancellor to come in as a back up safety. Right, that's your lot for now. I'll be back either later to today or more likely tomorrow to round up tonights action. Till then, Have a great day everyone.

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