What to look for against the Jags tonight
- In the last pre-season game, the mantra is DON�T GET
ANY STARTERS HURT!
Expect the starters to play only the 1st quarter.
Ashworth and Light might go a little longer since they
have not had much work.
This will be the final interview for a dozen of so
players that may or may not be part of this team over
the next year. I would also note that a scout from
every team in the league will be watching this game
too! They are looking to gobble up these players that
BB doesn�t seem to think enough of to keep.
What positions battles to look at:
OL � Adrian Klemm, Stephen Neal, Joe Andruzzi, Bob
Hallen are battling for O-line spots. Klemm has been
playing on the kickoff team. Andruzzi is a hard nosed
veteran with a higher salary ($1.2M). He has battled
through injuries over the years and no one questions
his toughness. However, he has diminishing returns
and is as good as he will ever be. He and Neal play
only one position (RG) which puts both at a
disadvantage. I myself project him to be kept and
have the Pats keeping 9 OL. Gene Mruczskowski may be
the odd man out. He can play both C and G and is
eligible for the PS if he passes through waivers.
RB- Mike Cloud and Malaefou MacKenzie � Cloud only
plays RB. He contributed 5 TD�s last year in limited
playing time. His outstanding running against the
Titans was a key to that regular season win. On the
other hand he has been mediocre in preseason games,
but the reports out of camp had him looking very good.
MacKenzie can play both RB and FB, catches the ball
very well, is cheaper in terms of salary numbers, and
plays on special teams.
LB � Justin Kurpiekis, Don Davis, Matt Chatham and Ted
Johnson � This is an interesting bunch. Prior to camp
I had Ted Johnson listed as a goner. His age, high
salary, injury history and the fact that he plays only
one position as a backup spelled doom. BB has a
history of making that difficult decision, releasing a
veteran player a little before he can no longer
perform rather than after his skills have diminished
to that point. Having had the opportunity to meet his
father, sister, brother in law down in Houston, it
would sadden me to see him cut. After seeing Dan
Klecko struggle to learn a new position and the
thought of Larry Izzo trying to play ILB if there was
an injury to the starters scares me. With the newly
interpreted rule of no contact, the ILB�s that can�t
cover, are really going to be exploited. I had
Kurpiekis making the team and Davis not. Chatham will
go on PUP and be back in week 7. I have changed my
mind now and think Kurpiekis (and his $380K salary)
will not be kept. They will keep only 9 LB�s with
Johnson being one of them. Davis is still gone.
Klecko could also play D line, and Tully Banta-Cain is
abackup at OLB.
DB�s � Randall Gay, JeRod Cherry, Christian Morton,
Shawn Mayer, Dexter Reid
Reid has been very impressive on Punt coverage teams.
Mayer has been installed as the blocking back on the
Punt team. Gay was very impressive early in camp and
received a tremendous amount of attention by the
national press. He will not get through waivers if
cut. Cherry hasn�t played yet, but the team knows
exactly what they have in the veteran. On the other
hand, Cherry really plays only on special teams. Look
for Cherry to get cut or reserved in some way. If he
gets cut that doesn�t necessarily mean he won�t
return. It means that his salary won�t be guaranteed.
Morton looks like a candidate for the Practice
WR � I am projecting they will keep 6. The injury
history of this group is not good. We currently have
3 banged up. Patten has been outstanding from day 1
of camp. Brown, Johnson and Branch are very solid. I
am disappointed that Givens has been dinged up; I
expected big things from him this year. PK Sam is
headed for IR. That leaves a battle for the last spot
between Mike Jennings, Chad Gessner, and Ricky Bryant.
It is Gessner�s position to lose. He has not had a
lot of catches in the three games, but that is not the
whole story on him. He has done a lot of things away
from the ball and has the good NFLE season under his
belt. The negatives are that he gets called for too
many penalties and is a bit slow. He also doesn�t
play special teams. Jennings is just flat out fast.
He didn�t make a NFLE club this past spring. Bryant
was cut then resigned immediately. He has lasted all
camp and been impressive on special teams and caught a
TD pass. Tonight�s game may tell the story here.
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