After Jaguars starters retire to the bench, and that's expected to happen early in the game, it'll be all about roster spots the rest of the night. For players on the cut "bubble," Thursday night's preseason finale at FedEx Field could make or break careers and life-long dreams.
Coach Jack Del Rio has indicated that he's likely to give his starters limited "exposure;" a series or two at the most. Then young roster hopefuls, such as rookie running back Chauncey Washington, will take over.
"It's a big week this week. Everything's going to be left out on the field during this last week. They have to make the final decisions, so I have to go out there and just showcase," Washington said.
Washington is likely to get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do. Several other players will be seeking the same opportunity. Here's a breakdown of roster competition by position:
Quarterback—Will Todd Bouman get a chance to showcase his talent? Would it even matter? Del Rio prefers to keep two quarterbacks, which means the situation at quarterback may already be set.
Running back—Washington, a seventh-round draft pick, has shown enough in this preseason to be in contention for a roster spot. He could close the deal with a big game in Washington, but the practice squad may be a more likely destination for him.
Wide receiver—Does Del Rio keep five or six? That's the big question. If the answer is five, then it's likely the situation has already been decided. Jerry Porter, Reggie Williams, Dennis Northcutt, Matt Jones and Mike Walker are considered to be the top five wide receivers. If Del Rio decides to keep six while Porter continues his recovery from hamstring surgery, then it would follow that Troy Williamson, D'Juan Woods and Ryan Hoag are in a three-way battle for the final spot. Williamson is of interest because the Jaguars traded a sixth-round pick to acquire him. Woods offers practice squad maneuverability.
Tight end—Charles Davis and Chris Brown are the "bubble" guys, but they're facing long odds.
Offensive line—Undrafted rookie center Drew Miller is likely playing for the practice squad. Uche Nwaneri and Tutan Reyes are battling for the backup center job until Brad Meester returns. Nwaneri and Reyes are the principals in Washington.
Defensive line—Derek Landri has a leg injury that's clouding his status. He may be headed to injured reserve. Has he opened the door for Jimmy Kennedy? First-round pick Derrick Harvey has joined the team, which means the defensive end situation is starting to clear. Kenny Pettway needs a big game.
Linebacker—Tony Gilbert and rookies Thomas Williams and Lamar Myles are the "bubble" guys.
Defensive backs—Rookie Brian Witherspoon is thought to be a "lock." The battle would seem to be between veteran safeties Pierson Prioleau and Jamaal Fudge.
"A lot of guys are fighting for their lives, fighting for their livelihood and their jobs. I always consider myself on a one-day contract. I just want to be here tomorrow," Prioleau said.
The Jaguars must cut their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday.