As with almost all final preseason games, teams will not play any of the starters and probably not too many of the second stringers. So the only important plays in tonight’s contest will be special teams plays. If your team loses 28-9 but plays well on special teams in tonight’s game, feel good about it. If your team wins 35-0 but your kicker misses two chip shot field goals, then you have concerns.
Since this is the last preseason game, and teams must be down to their final rosters before the regular season opener, some 30 players have to be either let go or kept for the eight man practice squad. The only way to see what these guys can do is to let them play tonight. Plus, you don’t want your main guys dinged up going into the season opener.
One fun thing about tonight is you are going to see a bunch of guys fighting for a job, so the play will be intense, even if it does get a bit ugly. You may not recognize too many of the names, but hey, that’s never stopped you from watching college football.
One player to pay attention to in tonight’s game will be wide receiver Jordan Shipley. You may remember him form his days as the favorite target of Colt McCoy at the University of Texas, when they made a run all the way to the BCS National Championship Game in 2009. Shipley has only been with the team this week, so look for him to see a lot of action tonight.
Players you won’t see tonight include Robert Griffin III, Josh Freeman, Ronde Barber and anybody else on either side you’ve ever heard of. You also won’t see Chris Cooley, a long time fan favorite in Washington, who was cut on Tuesday.
Cooley finishes his Redskins career as the franchise leader in receptions by a tight end with 428 catches. He amassed 4703 yards and caught 33 touchdown passes.
An obviously emotional Cooley said:
“Today, for the time being, will be my last day as a Washington Redskin. It’s been awesome. I’ve been very, very fortunate to play for a franchise that has embraced me and for a fan base that embraced me the way they have. This organization has changed my life, in every way and for the better. I appreciate it.”
There will be a lot of similar emotions after tonight for a lot of these players. Some of them will never again put on a football uniform.