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Anticipating tonight's preseason finales -- emphasis on finality

8/28/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

I'll be flipping back and forth between Titans-Packers and Jaguars-Redskins tonight and am sure to share some thoughts.

Yes, it's only preseason and all four teams can show nothing tonight and play spectacularly on opening day. Nevertheless, heading into the final four preseason games for the division, if coaches could write scripts for what they'd like to see, they would look something like this:

Colts vs. Bengals

Tony Dungy doesn't intend to play many starters. Whether Jim Sorgi (knee) plays or not, you'd have to expect undrafted rookie center Steve Justice from Wake Forest to be in the lineup. No matter who he's snapping to, is he on target and does he look comfortable? Odds are he's about to play at least six games in place of Jeff Saturday, and the injured veteran center is rated as a key cog in the Colts' system and his spot now rates as a huge concern. Punts and kicks needed to be handled cleanly by those vying to replace injured T.J. Rushing.

Jaguars at Washington

Jack Del Rio will play most of his healthy starters little, or maybe not at all. This game is a last chance for some veterans to make a case for being around past the weekend. So keep a close eye on receiver Troy Williamson, safety Pierson Prioleau and defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy. If they make a couple significant plays, the work could go a long way to them surviving upcoming cuts. Running back Ciatrick Fason, signed recently, probably gets a lot of work as a temporary fill-in. David Garrard will play a bit behind the first offensive line and it would be nice to see left tackle Khalif Barnes play welll. Derrick Harvey, added to the active roster today, could actually get a couple snaps.

Texans vs. Buccaneers

Gary Kubiak won't play veteran starters, but younger guys will get work. At running back, Chris Taylor and Steve Slaton could firm up their roles and Chris Brown can make a final case to stick. There are roster spots still being sorted out at safety and on the defensive line because a lot of guys are bunched up. One of them is veteran Rosevelt Colvin, the linebacker turned end brought in to help spark the pass rush opposite Mario Williams. He's done little so far. Here's a quality roster analysis from John McClain that I missed earlier today.

Titans at Packers

The team's passing offense is a big issue and I don't care what anybody says, it would be a lot healthier for Vince Young and his receivers to spend the next 10 days knowing they can drive the ball in a game setting than wondering if they can. Receivers need to get separation from defenders and Young needs to find them. Tennessee starters will play into the third quarter. Green Bay's may go just 10 plays. That should be a recipe to get something accomplished.