For starters, first team offense will play
As you probably have read, Jim Zorn has decided to play the offensive starters for a series or two tonight in the Washington Redskins' preseason finale.
The players, by all reports, are all in favor of getting out there to play the kinks out of their game, even if they will be facing the Jags' second-team defense. Even Clinton Portis, who regards preseason game with great distain, showed a willingness to go out there (although not a great degree of enthusiasm.
"Being that I have to play, and it's not my choice," Portis said, "I can't do nothing but be excited about it."
Zorn's has created a minor stir out there. Mosley on the ESPN blog thinks it's a major mistake, but for the wrong reason. He thinks that Zorn is playing his first team for around a dozen plays in an effort to win the game. Of course, that's ridiculous. Zorn is playing the starters because they stunk up Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte last Saturday and what was supposed to be their final tuneup turned out to be a confidence-killing cluster, uh, bomb.
I'm not quite sure where the "tradition" of having your team's final tuneup come two weeks before the first game originated. It really doesn't make any sense when you think about it. Why get the machine running just right facing live action and then shut it down for two weeks?
In any case, those guys need to get back out there and run something resembling an NFL offense. Yes, there is a small risk of sustaining an injury to a starter during those 12 plays, but it's small enough to make it worth the risk.
I like the fact that Zorn doesn't feel bound by this "tradition".
A few other notes about tonight's game:
- Cornerback Byron Westbrook has been a longshot to make the team all along. The odds against him are now even longer. He sat at my table at the Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon yesterday and he told me that he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Panthers and that he's unlikely to play against Jacksonville.
- With the release of Matt Sinclair, the chances of linebacker Alfred Fincher making the team as a reserve linebacker increased greatly. However, he'll still have to prove himself tonight. The Skins could scan the waiver wire and pick up a veteran reserve if they're not wild about what they see from Fincher tonight.
- Fincher should get plenty of action as the defensive starters are not expected to take the field. All this for $100 and more a ticket.
- The punt-off between Derrick Frost and Durant Brooks will come down to tonight as the two will alternate kicks. It says here that a tie goes to Frost as Shaun Suisham seems to prefer the veteran as his holder.
- Don't forget to join in on the blog tonight, live from FedEx Field. You'll have a chance to participate in the beta of the Virtual Locker Room, which will give you a chance to ask questions of the players and of Jim Zorn after the game.
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