1. I must have laid awake in bed for at least five to seven seconds last night pondering the career of Malcolm Kelly. Not because I don't like Kelly and refuse to spend more time thinking about him. Not because I foster any ill will toward the receiver. That's just all the time it took to ponder his career.
2. Fred Davis...the crown jewel of the second round draft haul that brought us him, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. The Redskins have really made a habit of unearthing wide receiver busts at the top of the draft. Without defending the man who made these picks, I will say that it is a real crapshoot when it comes to picking these guys high in the draft. My issue is not really based with the failure to identify good receivers at the top of the draft. My issue has been with the general failure to find viable starters in the top two or three rounds. When you are a team like the Redskins--with holes up and down the roster--you simply have to find guys who are at least capable of competing for a starting job in camp. We have been more successful finding projects. If you are the Patriots, you can afford a second round project. We can't. And before people try to start comparing Jarvis Jenkins and his injury to our run of failures in the second round specifically, please try and remember: Jenkins was not hurt BEFORE he came to camp (Kelly.) Jenkins turned heads right away with his enthusiasm and work ethic. Jenkins was absolutely going to be a major contributor in his rookie year. It's not a case of bad luck--these kinds of injuries happen and the Redskins have gotten off easy compared to other teams this August (Giants.) Jenkins is not a project. He fits the scheme, wants to be on the field and has shown a willingness to do everything he is asked. Jarvis Jenkins is not the latest example of our historic failure in the second round. Jarvis Jenkins is the first of what we can only hope is a long line of very solid, smart second round picks. I look forward to rooting for Jarvis for years to come.
3. Guys, we have been talking about this a lot and now I am starting to really get ansty...is Brandon Banks going to make this team? There was no player on the field last year that caused an entire stadium to rise to their feet and breathlessly wait to see what was going to happen. Yet, thanks to an army of capable wide receivers in camp, you wonder about Mike Shanahan's ability to carry a guy who won't play nmuch offense. Coaches as established and seasoned as Mike Shanahan will always place a value on specialists. They just know that the right guy in the right situation can change a game. Experience has taught them that one or two plays can not only change the outcome of one week, it can change the outcome of a whole season. STILL...I don't know. Terrence Austin has really evolved. Hank the Tank is going to make this roster (after Thursday's game, we will hopefully be able to say that he makes it based on performance.) Moss, Armstrong and Gaffney are all slated for Week One barring any surprises. As much as I thought Stallworth had no real shot, he has played with some polish this preseason and it is quite clear that he belongs in the League, making him a hard cut for a team like ours. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will come down to Banks or a third quarterback.
4. I think the real value for Terrence Austin lies in what happens with John Beck. The two have been working out together since last season. You have seen them communicate and connect well together this preseason. Whether Beck starts or ends up coming off the bench, I would expect the Shanahans to put the two on the field together.
5. Since the Giants still have to play one more preseason game, and they have been averaging about 17 injuries per game this August, it is probable we will face two different Giants' teams in 2011. On the 11th, it looks like we will get a watered down defensive line and a battered secondary to test. I would imagine the second game to feature all the usual suspects. Given we have fared exceptionally poorly against the G-men recently, perhaps it doesn't matter. But for all the optimists out there, the prospect of 1-0 is a little brighter today than it was when the schedule first came out.
6. Don't kid yourself into thinking that the Giants' current injury situation doesn't factor into our quarterback competition. If in fact we are going to get served up a nice tall glass of Giants Lite on September 11, I believe Kyle and Mike have to consider that in their thought process. Success is never guaranteed, but whichever player gets the nod, he will likely have an opportunity to cement the starting spot against a weakened opponent. Think about it the other way. If the Giants entered the season with all their studs hitting on all cylinders, you KNOW what would be likely to happen: our starting quarterback would look rough and all week following the game we would be second-guessing the starting decision. Shanahan might be forced to consider rethinking things as well. Maybe.
7. Sav Rocca is a beast. Can he play linebacker? I feel like he could be a bookie and also his own ball-busting collector.
8. Who from Hogs Haven is going to the game tomorrow? Beirut (beer pong to some of you) will be played on the barrier between F21 and F31. If you want in the Preseason Invitational, be there early and be prepared to have your teammate drawn out of a hat. That is how we do it in August.
9. Just to be clear: this is a regular season tailgate. We don't do preseason in the parking lot. All of our starters will be there and they will be playing the WHOLE TIME.
10. Great chance tomorrow to check out a team that has been in a rather successful and promising rebuild the last two seasons. Tampa Bay went young--both on the field and on the sidelines--and the results so far are very positive. There won't be a lot of starters playing for either team, but when Tampa puts its twos and threes on the field, expect to see some very solid, very youthful players. We should be so lucky to find ourselves in a similar spot in 2012.