Monday, August 17, 2009

PREVIEW: Pre-Season Game 1 - Miami vs Jacksonville

VS.

For those of you who don't know already, tonight's game is being shown on NFL Network at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific (which makes it easier for us West-Coasters to catch). Tomorrow I will both opine on the game as well as score the second half of the Contest.

For right now, I'd like to look at what's going on today in lead-up to the game. There is more anticipation for this pre-season game than any others I can remember in recent history. We have a special pre-season this year not only because of the Dolphins' improved competition at most positions, but also because this is more a PREVIEW-SEASON than a regular pre-season. All four pre-season matchups will be repeated in the regular-season AND to make it even weirder, they will be played in a mirror-image order.

Pre - Season: JAX, CAR, TB, NO.
Reg. Season: NO, TB, CAR, JAX.

So the pre-season may actually be quite reserved on both sides of the ball (more so than usual) as BOTH teams in each game will not want to showcase too much of their offenses to the opponent.

But here is what we DO know about Jacksonville:

  1. They have one of the league's best running backs in Maurice-Jones Drew.
  2. They have one of the biggest offensive line in the league and just drafted Eugene Monroe, Eben Britton, and Cecil Newton.
  3. They currently have 6 or 7 running backs on the roster, including rookie, Rashad Jennings, who you may remember Omar Kelly chose as a 'cheap replacement' for Ronnie Brown the week before the draft.
  4. The passing game of Jacksonville consists of David Garrard and Torry Holt. That's pretty much it. Whether it's old-time backup QB, Todd Bauman, or the (get this) SIX rookie WRs on the team, the Jacksonville passing game seems hardly of the dangerous type.
What does this all mean? That's right, you guessed it. Once again the Jaguars will be a predominantly running team. this backfired on them last year as they had some injuries on the offensive line. I wouldn't be surprised if this team carried 11 or 12 o-linemen into the regular season. And those rookies will be expected to contribute right away.

So, for Miami, this will be a perfect test for our safeties brought into a rover position as well as our LBs. Not so much of a test for our cornerbacks, but it's probably best to ease them in gently. They will have much stronger competition vs New Orleans.

Expect to see lots of playing time for LBs like Tearrius George, Erik Walden, Orion Martin, JD Folsom, and William Kershaw. Expect the same workload for our offensive line, as Jacksonville's d-line is just as stout as their o-line.

As for Miami's gameplan, I would expect Ronnie Brown to get approximately one carry to start the game, and for Ricky Williams and Patrick Cobbs to get approximately 2.5 carries before being pulled in favour of Lex Hilliard and Anthony Kimble. But the main play-calling would likely be pass-heavy in this game because we need to test both our QBs and our WRs and TEs.

Miami needs to whittle down the roster eventually and at least FIVE players from the receiving positions will be released eventually so the game-time now is important.

The good news is that Jacksonville has some pretty solid starters in the secondary, especially Rashean Mathis and Sean Considine, so there will be plenty of 'man vs. boys' stuff to challenge our rookies. For most of us this will be the first time we see Brian Hartline and Patrick Turner running NFL routes. It could also be James Robinson's first and only shot at getting on Sportscenter, which could be the career move he needs to get an opportunity with another team.

All in all, there will be plenty to watch in this game, even if the scores don't count. I don't share Coach Sparano's mantra that whenever they're keeping score you want to win. History has shown that Miami's pre-season record has no indication of how they will start the regular season. What's important here is seeing how the younger players are grasping the playbook, and how they deal with being in an actual game situation with NFL talent lined up against them.

Based on Sparano and Jack Del Rio's approach to the game, I expect this one to be a low-scoring defensive struggle, with Miami taking a pass-heavy approach and Jacksonville being much-more balanced as they try to get work for all those WRs and RBs.

Tin's prediction: MIA 17 JAX 13

What are you guy's most interested in seeing in tonight's game?


36 comments:

  1. i think i will get lucy cause they will prolly show the game on local television here in jacksonville

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  2. Who's Lucy and what does she have to do with it?
    LOL, jk!

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  3. ha ha lucy im home. man i cant wait. im curious on how henne is going to do. how do you think he will fare?

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  4. I can tell you based on Madden 2010, he'll be slightly above average! lol.
    Seriously though, the QB part will be interesting. I have a gut feeling
    that Miami will have Henne out there for most of the game, well we already
    knew that, but I mean even more-so than convention dictates. I expect
    Pennington to get two drives and for Pat White to get MAYBE one or two
    drives also. It wouldn't shock me at all if Sparano didn't play Pat White
    at all. So Henne could get 2 1/2 quarters or more. I'd expect it to be a
    little shaky in parts due to all the rookie WRs and shuffling of the o-line
    which we know Sparano will do. Henne better put his extra-thick pads on.
    If I were to wager a guess I'd say 13 of 27 for 120 yards 1 TD 1 INT.

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  5. James R. would probably get poached off the practice squad due to his speed, definite deep threat . I keyed on him in the last practice I attended and he has OK hands, dropped two in a row in traffic during crossing drill. I'll be watching our Oline for the first half,should be a nice test to see where were at. Grove and whoever lines up next to him imperticular. 

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  6. I disagree as of right now - he would need to show up in the games and make
    some noise. As it is right now, he's likely not on anyone's radar.
    Anthony Armstrong is much more likely to get poached.

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  7. You disagree with me?? What an idiot! How dare you have your own opinion and share it here LOL
    Get back to me on him after the game tonight ;)  

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  8. I really want to see Henne does too but this also directly affects my competition entry. I chose Penne. The reason was that coach said Penny would probably play the whole first quarter and maybe a bit more (which would give the coaches chance to see how the receivers cope with his passes and level of accuracy) then switch to split the remainder of the game 2:1 between Henne and White, with more pass plays when Henne's in than White. On this basis, I expected Penny to get more completions because of his awesome accuracy. My logic might be flawed though if your theory holds and Henne gets a half or more?

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  9. I seem to remember AA having an awesome camp last year then disappearing when the real games start? I hope he convinces me otherwise, but I fear he may be destined to repeat this?

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  10. so you think he will be sacked quite a bit ehh

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  11. BrianL MY question would be with that speed, why was he playing in the CFL (I think that's where we found him?) *DONT_KNOW*

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  12. BrianL, not only do I disagree with you on J.R. (good initials btw), but
    also on the fact that I am an idiot. In fact, I disagree with anyone who
    thinks I'm an idiot.
    Jut so everyone knows, I will be controlling vontae davis with my PS3
    controller tonight...

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  13. Well, if Penne is super accurate but only throws 10 passes, Henne would have
    to be pretty inaccurate if he's getting that much time.
    But it might be closer than I think.

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  14. Yes UK, he played for Toronto. Stats were 20 something catches for over 350 yards, 1 TD. Honestly he looks thin and would probably have trouble getting off the line in close coverage. He's just another new guy, but he can fly! lol  

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  15. He was actually having a good pre-season then he was playing punt coverage
    and came down the field out of the gunner position and just got leveled.
    That was the end of his 2008 chances.

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  16. I looked at the stats from the 1st game at Tampa last year as follows:


    <table border="0">
    <tbody>
    <tr>
    <td class="nameCell"><span style="color: #364c88;">C. Henne</span></td>
    <td>5/10</td>
    <td>67</td>
    <td>0</td>
    <td>0</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="nameCell"><span style="color: #364c88;">J. Beck</span></td>
    <td>5/9</td>
    <td>45</td>
    <td>0</td>
    <td>0</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td class="nameCell"><span style="color: #364c88;">J. McCown</span></td>
    <td>5/8</td>
    <td>35</td>
    <td>0</td>
    <td>0</td>
    </tr>
    </tbody>
    </table>


    Putting Chad Sr in at 1 and Jr in at 2, I came up with my answer. Having said that, We know Henne will be in for a lot of Q2 and 3. Also, as with the financial markets, past performance is not an indicator for future performance etc etc

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  17. better to be sacked than intercepted.

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  18. The 5 things I'm most intruiged to hear about (if I can't wake up at 1am or find an internet feed) are, in no particular order

    How do we look at right guard this year and how does the line look period? I think everyone is hoping for better things here.
    How are things working out at RDE after Sparano's "words" with Merling?
    Is Patrick Turner the next coming of Christ? Or if not, can he be a relaible target man for Chad Sr and draw some coverage away from TGJ.
    How good will Sean Smith and Vontae Davis look in coverage in a real game?
    How much progress has Cam Wake made? Can we apply pressure consistently?

    All these are important to our short term success and key to our long term success.

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  19. One big problem there, uk, is that Henne didn't start that game. Beck did.
    He played the 1st quarter. Henne played after that for the 2nd and part of
    the 3rd Q. Then McCown played the rest of the 3rd and the 4th.

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  20. "Is Patrick Turner the next coming of Christ?"
    Christ could get open and catch, but he'd always run for the sidelines...

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  21. I was typing a message and it disappeared on me ( hit the wrong key I guess )  Jax is a good team to start with, they have a few areas of there team that can test our new guys. 

    If Penny is effective I don't see him being on the field for long maybe one series or so.  They know what he can do.
    See it you guys think his arm looks stronger.  I want to see how both lines look, and see some hitting.  Enough of that thud stuff.

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  22. You've been reading too many FFR novels? :-D

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  23. <span>Whatever is was that happened on Thrus/Friday either Home or an imposter clearly attacked O personally and did so over and over and over.  I know Home's MO is to post over and over ,but this didn't feel like him.  It was even a little over the top for an imposter.  WHoever it was questioned O' s manhood, nationallity, race, intellect, and about anything else one would consider offensive.  At first I thought Home had been hitting the bottle hard ,but after pondering for a moment it wouldn't be a total shock to find out it was Armando or another tool from the toolbox (Herald).  What u guys think?  Oh and all I want to see is our team injury free when the clock hits zero.</span>

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  24. "Oh and all I want to see is our team injury free when the clock hits zero."
    that reminds me, on Madden 2010, I was playing the first reg season game and
    I noticed that Ike Ndukwe was starting at RG. Turns out that Donald Thomas
    had broken a wrist or something in the pre-season and was out for 4 weeks.
    Chad Pennington also had a broken bone (leg) and was out for 5 weeks.
    It's true sometimes you want to tip-toe through these preseason games, but
    at the same time, you need to practice right?

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  25. ...tin ...I hope we see an early run based game testing our OL ability to open holes in a decent JK DL ...running ronnie from the base to either side of the center ...what do we really have as a base running attack ...JK is a decent test for our OL ...Penne plays two series to direct the run and keep JK honest w/short passes.

    ...then Henne gets to show it or blow it ...I'd think he starts w the same team as Penne running the same game to get a one on one compare ...then we move to a downfield passing game to see what Henne brings and test our receivers.

    ...when we see PW at QB I'd not be surprised to see him working out of the shotgun for at least one series ...its his best chance to show he's still a gamer at this level.

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  26. Hey Tin, you have 77 players on the roster as of Aug. 10. On dolpins site the are still posting 80 but I can't read your chart to find the difference. 

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  27. The game is on homer.tv, as are all pre-season games - looks like a late night for me then - I wasn't going to stay up if it was 50:50, but the feed on there at the moment has a real good picture quality. They are currently showing the Bears/Bills.

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  28. Hawk, I need to update it. Since my last update the Dolphins have added a
    fullback and a kicker. so it should be 79 players. Why can't you read the
    chart?

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  29. uk, the more you mention it, the faster it will be shut down ;)

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  30. Tin, I got it now. I'm not a compture guy had pop-up blocker on.Looks like you don't have Barth Connor K,James Robinson WR, Joe Kowalewski FB. I was just trying to figure out who is not going to be here for the team.

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  31. James Robinson is supposed to be on there...anyway, I just updated it again,
    so refresh for the new one.

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  32. It always comes back again as something else! Perhaps Phoenix next time? It's a tricky dilemna - if others hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have heard about it in the first place and I understand how much finfans need their fix.

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  33. Some said it was when the Trifecta took over
    Some said it was when Chad Pennington took over as Field General
    Some said it was when Ronnie Brown TOOK OVER the Patriots house and scored FIVE TOUCHDOWNS setting an NFL record that went back to the days of Leather Helmets
    Some said it wasTony Sparano was convinced in his team and STARTED GOING FOR IT on fourth down and continuously his players brought him a first down, IN TONY WE TRUST!
    Some said it was when the Dolphins beat the jets IN THEIR HOUSE GAME #16 and simultaneously Knocked the Jets and Pats out of playoff contention
    Some said it was the Dolphins completing the biggest single season turnaround in NFL History
    Some said it was  Chad Pennington having the best year of his carreer
    Some said it was Jake Long and Joey Porter having outstanding ProBowl seasons

    When ever it Happened and for Whatever the reason .....



    ***** The DYNASTY BE FINS! *****

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  34. Home SuperBowl 2010August 17, 2009 at 3:41 PM

    Soon NFL ready rookie Patrick Turner and Brian Hartline will show U fans who have been unable to view in person,  Two great addittions to the MIAMI AIR SHOW 2009

    No test for corners against Jags joke WR
    If Dolphins have decent CBs they should easily handle the Jags depleted WR corp,

    Clemens and Nalbone could shine tonight!

    Enjoy the game! 
    GTG


    ***** The DYNASTY BE FINS! *****

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  35. Ronnie's 5 TDs is not an NFL record....but the rest sounds right...

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  36. Home SuperBowl 2010August 17, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    Buckle Your Chin Straps Primm Donnas!


    ***** The DYNASTY BE FINS! *****

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