Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, August 10, 2012 at 10:09 AM
The NFL Preseason Week 1 games are comin' at you fast and furious, wouldn't you say? The six games on the Thursday night docket now are followed up by another half-dozen tilts come Friday night. Now, here's a look at Friday's NFL Preseason Week 1 games:
TAMPA BAY at MIAMI - 7:30 p.m. ET
You might have caught the listed depth chart of the Miami Dolphins earlier this week as it placed David Garrard as the team's first-string quarterback, one-time starter Matt Moore as the chief backup and highly-touted rookie Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M) as third-string - and insiders say Garrard has been exceptional in camp thus far while wiping away the competition. No doubt that Garrard has looked confident while operating the west coast offense installed by new Fish head coach Joe Philbin (and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman) and so Tannehill will get some snaps here in this game but figures to ride the pine till further notice. Meanwhile, keep a close eye here on Miami's new RT Jonathan Martin who played the other side in his days at Stanford while protecting the blind side for QB Andrew Luck. Martin was a second-round draft pick this past April and many folks believe he was a draft night steal ... we'll see.
Current Las Vegas Lines: Dolphins (- 2.5) and 33.5 points
NEW YORK JETS at CINCINNATI - 7:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network
There's no question that this whole Mark Sanchez vs. Tim Tebow soap opera will play out throughout the steamy month of August but be sure that Sanchez is the starter and Tebow - according to folks who know - will be a short-yardage/goal-line operator and likely nothing more once the season starts in September. In the meantime, it would be nice if Rex Ryan's clownish club could conduct a practice without a full-scale brawl breaking out (see two days in a row of major fisticuffs) - maybe playing somebody else here will help. No WR Santonio Holmes (groin) here in this one. The host Bengals, meanwhile, have been flying underneath the NFL radar screen these days but TE Jermaine Gresham told media folks this past week that he's been "below average" as a player in this league despite the fact last year he became the first Cincinnati tight end since Dan Ross to sport back-to-back 50-plus catch seasons (Gresham finished with 56 receptions a year ago). Look for new Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to get Gresham the ball a couple of times here against a J-E-T-S defense that's had problems handling quality tight ends in the Ryan Era.
Current Las Vegas Lines: Bengals (- 1.5) and 34 points
CLEVELAND at DETROIT - 7:30 p.m. ET
Injury news to report first here as Lions S Louis Delmas underwent surgery on his left knee this past Tuesday after missing a full week of practice - remember he missed the final five regular-season games a year ago after suffering the knee injury in a Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay - and don't forget that last year head coach Jim Schwartz dubbed Delmas his team's "defensive MVP" ... for whatever that's worth on a unit that finished 22nd in the league in pass defense and 23rd in rush defense! Meanwhile, last year's woeful Browns finished 30th in the NFL in rush defense and no doubt won't be helped by the fact OLB Chris Gocong suffered a torn Achilles tendon in a goal line drill last Saturday morning. In case you're wondering, former starting QB Colt McCoy has - for now - wrested away the backup spot from Seneca Wallace as both sit behind 28-year-old rookie Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State).
Current Las Vegas Lines: Lions (- 3) and 36.5 points
NEW YORK GIANTS at JACKSONVILLE - 7:30 p.m. ET
Let's face it: This figures to be a rather ho-hum preseason for the Super Bowl champ Giants who really don't have many position battles going on and so the biggest thing is to sort out time among the club's running backs and straighten out a secondary that seemingly gets banged up each/every summer. So, let's concentrate a few moments on the J'ville Jaguars who these days are playing without holdout RB Maurice Jones-Drew and so that means former backup RB Rashad Jennings (202 and 459 yards rushing, respectively, the past two years with this AFC South squad) will get starter's minutes until further notice and new Jags head coach Mike Mularkey might be tempted here to dish Jennings the ball often while trying to put some "heat" on Jones-Drew to return. Stay tuned.
Current Las Vegas Lines: Jaguars (- 2.5) and 35 points
ARIZONA (0-1) at KANSAS CITY - 8 p.m. ET
The KayCee Chiefs have become a really vogue pick to win the AFC West this year but hasn't anyone noticed that there's already "trouble in paradise" with WR Dwayne Bowe not even in camp (holding out from signing his one-year tender)? The AFC West bunch has a spirited battle for the backup QB spot behind veteran Matt Cassel and right now head coach Romeo Crennel says Brady Quinn (remember him?) is listed ahead of former Iowa standout Ricky Stanzi who threw an INT in a joint practice this past week with the 'Zona Cardinals. Speaking of the 0-and-1 Redbirds (see 17-10 Hall of Fame Game loss to the 2 ½-point favored New Orleans Saints), Ken Whisenhunt's squad will move forward with Kevin Kolb as the No. 1 quarterback even after he suffered bruised ribs in that preseason opener last Sunday night. Kolb - who completed just 1-of-4 passing attempts for a total of 4 yards against the Saints before departing - has been working extremely well in practice with rookie WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) but the coach says right now Floyd is only No. 4 on the team's WR depth chart behind Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. We'll see if that changes in the coming weeks.
Current Las Vegas Lines: Chiefs (- 2.5) and 34.5 points
MINNESOTA at SAN FRANCISCO - 9 p.m. ET
If there's a major area for concern on this SF 49ers offense this summer, it's righting the team's red-zone woes. Last year the NFC West crew scored touchdowns on only 22 of the team's 54 trips inside the enemy's 20-yard line (the third-worst in the NFL) and even recent practices have not gone well and center Jonathan Goodwin grumbled about "leaving points on the table". Meanwhile, the word out of Vikings camp is that veteran CB Antoine Winfield has looked sharp. The 14-year veteran might wind up playing mostly nickel situations with Minnesota this season but new defensive coordinator Alan Williams has hinted that the NFC North club would play a three-CB look on many occasions and so watch for that here in this Bay Area bash.
Current Las Vegas Lines: 49ers (- 3.5) and 34.5 points
NOTE: More NFL Preseason Week 1 Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.