"Never put too much stock into any pre-season game. And never put too much stock into the 1st pre-season game." Sage words passed down to me many years ago by Bill Cowher when I first started working in this business. I asked him about his team's expectations before the club's 1st pre-season affair in 1994 against Miami.
As it turned out, and has ever since then, those were true words. The starters play two series at most. Nobody is giving any effort except the guys who are really trying to make the roster and all you can hope for is that nobody is really hurt that bad.
So with the notion that the starters won't play much and it's hard to really make an assessment on who would work well with the 1st team, I thought I'd step into my 'look ahead' machine and take a guess as to what will take place in New Jersey Saturday.
- Starting with the offense, I want to see LeGarrette Blount run. Hard. Fast. With Intent and anger. He's a bull and I think will be a big force as the season moves along. I like what I've seen so far in camp.
- Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant both continue to improve and are gaining confidence each day in camp. Ben most likely won't be throwing much on Saturday, so keep that in mind, but it should be fun to see them get some game action in and show more of what they possibly can contribute. Expect a TD from one of the two.
- Dri Archer on ANY type of kick return should be fun. I just hope he doesn't disentegerate if he takes a direct hit from somebody 70 pounds heavier. The guy is so small! But his speed is what excites most. He will get loose once.
- Mike Adams needs to perform and if not, needs to be let go. This marks the 1st of four auditions for a roster spot. Step up or go work in a box factory Mike, you've been given several chances now. I still see him giving up at least one bad sack.
- Ryan Shazier will debut and let's hope it's one filled with big hits and spectacular plays. He's athletic and physical and all of that should be on display. I see a sack or turnover in his future.
- Vince Williams is a bit upset he's been passed over already by the No. 1 pick from Ohio State. Now would be a good time to keep working hard and show it on the field that you deserve playing time, even as a starter. Solid play should be the result.
- Will Stephan Tuitt & Nick Williams create some disruption down along the line? Williams coming off the knee and Tuitt the 2nd round pick are involved in an tasty battle for playing time & a roster spot at LDE. Good efforts from both will follow.
- The saga of Sean Spence will begin to unfold as well. It's hard to 'root' for athletes when working in the media, but I'm rooting for this kid and think he can make a splash play, most likely on special teams.