Thursday night’s game at Jacksonville is the last preseason game, traditionally a time to give your starters as little work as possible — just enough to keep the rust off, really — and to let the young guys try to earn a spot on the team. It worked last year for Alfred Fincher, who flashed in last year’s Jacksonville game and basically forced his way on to the roster, and there are plenty of guys who could find themselves in similar situations Thursday.
Here’s Coach Zorn, talking yesterday about who he plans to get in the game Thursday night:
“We’re going to play our guys some because I want them to have that consistent readiness. They have to prepare, they have to come out and prepare in pregame, prepare the night before the game, and prepare this week so that they can be ready to play. I haven’t decided how long, but I have decided that, yes, they will play.
“Clinton Portis is not going to play. I’m not gonna play Clinton. There’s a couple guys that are still rehabbing like Carlos Rogers; I don’t know if Carlos will play. I’m not as concerned about that, but I am concerned that we prepare just like it’s a regular game so we can get that consistent preparedness.
“Chase Daniel will play. Todd [Collins] possibly will play. Colt [Brennan] will play.”
It’s that last part that’s the most interesting to me. I like the idea of making sure Jason Campbell and the first team get a little bit of time; no dispute there. Zorn’s voice and face when talking about Collins, though, made it sound like no sure thing at all that he would be in the game, and I’m not sure that I agree with that. Sure, Collins — who holds the NFL record for longest gap between starts — has shown that he’s adept at shaking off rust and coming into a game cold, but I’d kinda like to see him get a chance to run Zorn’s offense in a game situation just in case.
At the same time, I certainly understand the inclination to try to see as much as possible of Brennan and Daniel before making a decision at that third quarterback spot. After being last preseason’s fan favorite, Brennan has had some serious ups and downs in 2009, and he definitely could use one more shot at recapturing the magic of last year. Daniel has seen incredibly limited action so far, not appearing at all in two of the three preseason games to date, but looked good in that short time; he needs another chance to show that the Steelers game was no fluke.
And, of course, there are only four quarters to possibly split up. It’s yet another numbers battle that the coaches have to juggle.
For my part, I’d like to see Campbell get one series, Collins get about a quarter, and Brennan and Daniel split the rest. How would you break down the work?
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