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Things To Watch For In Preseason Finale

Starters rarely get any more playing time than a series or two in the fourth and final preseason game, and this year is no different. The starters are rumored to only play a series and some are saying they make take the Indy approach and rest all their starters. The question for many fans then becomes “why watch?”

It’s hard to reason with those fans who would much rather watch Ohio State kick off their season than watch unknown players play a seemingly meaningless game, but this match-up actually has huge ramifications. With the final countdown to the 53 man roster looming, Marvin Lewis and the staff will be watching closer than ever to those bubble players. Often these unspoken players, those 2nd 3rd and 4th stringers, are the ones who are vying for playing time or even for a spot on the team at all. When it comes to injuries or starters not playing well these unsung players will need to be the ones to step in and play well. Of course there are a few roster battles more intriguing and important than the others. Here are the ones fans should keep a close eye on.

  • The battle for the final receiver spots is still up in the air. It’s not even close to being decided yet, but the favorites as of right now look to be Quan Cosby and Jerome Simpson. Dez Briscoe has struggled this preseason and looks like the most likely receiver to actually make it to the practice squad so he looks to be a long shot. Matt Jones, Simpson and Cosby all look to be fighting for one or two possible spots and the battle can be won tonight with a good game.
  • Andre Smith, last years top ten pick, has seen more action on the field as of late. He needs to prove he is ready to step in with the starters tonight and the best way to do this is give him a boat load of reps. Watch him closely tonight as his performance will directly affect his playing time in any of the regular season games in the near future.
  • The defensive line is a strong point on this team, but with the amount of talent they have, there could very well be a surprise cut. Watch closely as people like Rucker and even Geathers could be close to the chopping block.
  • The backup QB’s will need to stand out and play well as rumors are stating one of them could be cut as soon as Saturday. I believe Jordan Palmer is the favorite because of his big arm and age. Tonight his spot on this team could be his to lose.
  • The kicker job is also a very import part on this team, and they still have not yet filled this major question mark. Dave Rayner and Mike Nugent have been battling all off-season for the job and Rayner has led the whole way due to injuries to Nugent. However, it has been said that Nugent has more long distance range on his kicks, and the kick he made from 54 yards out last week has put him in position to steal the spot in the final game.
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