By Matt Noonan
It’s Thursday, but not just any ordinary Thursday, yet instead, the official kick-off to the 2011 NFL preseason. So, with that being said, here are a few hot topics to get you set for some early pigskin action, enjoy.
To Play or Not to Play: Preseason football is usually the time when coaches don’t normally play their starters. However, due to this past off-season being condensed into the past few weeks, it should be expected that the main players, (first-team) should attempt to play roughly one quarter. Yet, don’t be fooled if you see back-ups or third-string players that won’t make the roster in September. Although, due to the lockout, it’s also possible that all 32-teams will most likely hold out a majority of their starters, so they don’t sustain any injuries. In fact, almost every team has experienced the “injury bug,” due to no practices the past few months, as well as the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) reconstruction.
Tim Tebow vs. Tony Romo: Thursday will mark yet another intriguing matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos. In fact, these teams have met quite frequently during the month of August; however, this year in particular is an important one, especially for both quarterbacks, Tony Romo and Tim Tebow.
Romo, who according to multiple league sources is on his “game,” yet, what exactly does that mean? Some analysts believe he’s destined to have a Pro-Bowl season, but again, it’s too early to tell, right? Expect Romo and his offense to be somewhat in-sync against an average Broncos defense, but again, it’s still too early to predict Romo’s season numbers.
So, instead of barking about Romo’s past five-seasons in the league, why don’t you turn your attention to Denver, Colorado, where besides the Rockies, the Broncos have encountered some issues. Yet, what exactly is the matter with Denver’s football team? Well, according to some, there’s a quarterback controversy, but is that entirely true?
Seriously, quarterback,Kyle Orton, drives this offense, not Tim Tebow. However, while the youngster is waiting in the wings, it’ll be expected that he won’t be handed the starting position, especially if he plays flawless football for the next few weeks. He’ll be the starter one day, but in the meantime, he needs to slam on the breaks, as well as understand that he’ll only improve if he listens and watches Orton under center.
Possible Super Bowl Preview: The Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles will meet under the lights of Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday; yet, some believe this could be a possible Super Bowl preview. However, I think not. In fact, it’s way too early to predict, which teams will be playing in February.
Both teams still have major questions to address, especially the Ravens, who said so long to wide receiver Derrick Mason (New York Jets) and tight end Todd Heap (Arizona Cardinals), but did manage to acquire one of the leagues original “bad boys,” Ricky Williams from the Miami Dolphins. Expect quarterbackJoe Flacco to begin his preseason on a good note, yet, don’t expect great things off the bat. Some questions could be answered, but again, one game doesn’t illustrate true definitions, especially for Baltimore. However, they should dominate the run and pass defense, especially against Philadelphia’s quarterback, Michael Vick, who loves to scramble out of the pocket.
As for the Eagles, well, all eyes should be on the defense, especially their cornerbacks, as well as newly acquired defensive lineman, Cullen Jenkins. The Eagles have some questions too, but certainly, one game won’t tell how good their squad will be this season. In fact, it’s way too early to be labeling them, “super bowl bound,” so instead, let’s just grab some popcorn and see what they have to offer, OK?
Chad Ochocinco Needs to Play: The New England Patriots have been quite sneaky this off-season, as they’ve attempted to add more depth to their defense. Yet, despite the signing of Albert Haynesworth, the acquisition of Chad Ochocinco has brought a great deal of excitement to the city of Boston, as well as New England. Although, before he is deemed an immediate starter or someone who’ll provide the necessary spark for Tom Brady’s offense, it’s vital that he suit up for all four preseason games, so head coach Bill Belichick can get an accurate gauge on the animated, yet talented wide-out. Ochocinco, who hasn’t been on a “super bowl contender,” wants a ring, but before he strives for one, he isn’t the second coming of Joey Galloway.