What to watch: First night of preseason


Yeah, the preseason is usually a disappointment.

We’re still excited for some football, any football, after what we went through this offseason. Here’s what we’ll be watching Thursday night:


We get our first look at No. 10 overall pick, Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The Missouri product gets a shot to put some heat on starter David Garrard with a good performance. Garrard will miss the game with a back injury. . . . Jaguars No. 2 receiver Jason Hill will try to solidify his role. He’s had a quiet camp, according to ESPN.com. . . . Roles still have to be sorted out in the Jaguars secondary.

New England’s running back group remains jumbled as ever. This is a chance for rookie Stevan Ridley to make an impression with injuries elsewhere. . . . With 21 defensive linemen on the roster, newcomers like Mark Anderson and Andre Carter may have to make a quick impression to make the team. The roles for incumbents Eric Moore and Jermaine Cunningham remain uncertain.


Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young should get extended playing time for Philadelphia. . . .  Rookie running back Dion Lewis makes his case for being in the backfield mix. . . . Wideout Riley Cooper can try to earn Michael Vick’s trust. Cooper could be a starter in Week One if Jeremy Maclin isn’t ready.

Ravens second year player Sergio Kindle should see his first game action for Baltimore after missing all of last year with a scary head injury. . . . Baltimore’s receiver spots after Anquan Boldin are still up for grabs. If rookie Torrey Smith doesn’t impress, the team may still have to look for a veteran.


As Florio mentioned earlier, it’s our first chance to watch the Tarvaris Jackson and Sidney Rice show in Seattle. Just as important: the team’s reconfigured offensive line gets some action. . . .  Second year receiver Golden Tate will try to show he can handle the team’s slot receiver role.

New Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky debuts in San Diego with a new inside linebacker group led by Takeo Spikes. . . . Keep an eye on whether Chargers running back Ryan Mathews suits up after an up-and-down camp.


Orton. Tebow. Quinn. What more is there to say? As official Orton-Tebow beat writer for PFT, I will be watching this game closely. . . . Running back Knowshon Moreno can validate the positive articles about him from camp. . . . Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller debut as a formidable pass-rush tandem.

Dallas’ younger, leaner offensive line says hello. . . . Wideout Kevin Ogletree will try to show he’s worthy of significant playing time. . . . Tony Romo plays for the first time since breaking his collarbone last year. . . .  New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan tries to improve the Cowboys defense without any new talent.


Kevin Kolb has only practiced with his new team for a week, so expectations for this game should be kept to a minimum. . . . . Pass rusher O’Brien Schofield could put some heat on Joey Porter’s roster spot with a big preseason. . . .  No. 5 overall pick Patrick Peterson hasn’t earned his way into the starting lineup. Yet. . . .  Rookie running back Ryan Williams is expected to back up Beanie Wells, but could make that decision tough on coach Ken Whisenhunt. . . . Early Doucet and Andre Roberts battle for the No. 2 receiver job.

Oakland’s shaky-looking Nnamdi-less secondary gets its first test. . . . The dramatically re-modeled offensive line lines up. . . . Raiders receiver Jacoby Ford will miss the game. Snaps are available for Chaz Schilens and Darrius Heyward-Bey to make an impression. . . . Tight end Kevin Boss makes his Raiders debut. He could have a bigger offensive role in Oakland than he did in New York.