The Charm

The third pre season game of each season is the most entertaining of the four. <br><br> The starters will play the first half of Saturday's Miami at Tampa Bay tilt. Charlie Garner will see some time, but he will not finish the first thirty on the field. This is almost a regular season game, but more importantly and it is the make or break point for many bubble players who will be called upon to win the game late.

"We want to see some guys emerge and make this football team, make our decisions easy," Jon Gruden said. "We want to win this game." No matter when the game is played a team needs to win. Everything matters in the NFL, including the level of a team's confidence. Teams that plan on simply turning a switch to win rarely do. Even the Lakers, Red Wings, and Yankees could not make this plan work last year.

Coach Gruden referred to some players specifically after practice on Tuesday as players to watch. Frank Murphy has impressed his coach: I know he can play on special teams he can do that. And he's making plays as an offensive player. He's a much better receiver this year than he was two years ago. That's a credit to him and Richard Mann. He's a big guy who can play the position (wr) and contribute on special teams. That's a versatility that we've lacked around here a little bit.

This opens debate on the receiver battles that will come to end after Saturday's evaluation. Is Charles Lee reliable enough to make the squad? He certainly has the potential to be a game breaker, but his consistency has been in question during his entire career. He can make great catches, run after the catch, and stretch the field. However, Lee can also drop a pass that hits him in the hands while wide open. The "easy" catches still require a great deal of concentration that he has yet to display.

Despite starting for the injured Mike Alstott last season, Jameel Cook will need to make a strong impression if he wants to replace Houston transplant Greg Comella at second on the fullback depth chart. Deon Dyer has been released so it has turned into a question of numbers, The Bucs have not tipped their hand as of yet. The pending roster chop will. Cook's special teams contribution should be enough to get him over the hump.

Gruden also emphasized the fact that the Dolphins have been consistently ranked in the top ten in defense for the last few years. This is an opportunity for the offense to get a psychological shot in the arm provided by pushing around a quality defense in front of the home crowd.

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