by: Chris Sullivan
I must admit that this now-pointless game against the Patriots has got me a little bit down. It has been a long time since a game I was once excited about became utterly pointless and, in hopes of a good draft pick, conflicted about what I'm really rooting for. Steffes put it best: lets see a good game, some signs of life from the Hawks, and no more injuries... So, there we go.
But, alas, with an eye to the future, there are some silver linings on this rain cloud... Here is what I'll be watching for in today's game.
- Our (likely) first look at Mansfield Wrotto. It's not every day that a player's first snaps in an NFL game come as a starter against the defending AFC champions, but that's precisely the situation Wrotto appears to be in today (technically, he has been active for at least three games this year, but if he played, I didn't notice). Wrotto brings to the table his good size (6'4" 310 lbs) and one of the meanest mugs on the team.
- Sean Locklear at LT. Based on Lock's new contract, it appears that he is the heir apparent to Jones' LT spot. Locklear has sizable bonuses in his contract if starts a certain number of games per year at Left Tackle. We'll get our first sustained look at him there today.
- Vallos vs. Wilfork. This is Vallos' first big test from what I can tell, and it's a scary thought. How will he handle it? I think it is to be expected that our line struggles today, especially since these guys have never lined up next to eachother.
- Seneca Wallace. Wallace was mediocre at best in his starts earlier in the year. With everyone looking towards the draft now -- especially Mora and Ruskell -- it is very likely that Seneca needs to prove himself in what could be his last few starts if he wants to stick around for awhile on this squad. Matt's successor could very well be drafted in 2009, and Seneca knows by now that he ain't that guy. It's also a chance for Seneca to prove himself to other teams. If Wallace is mobile, I could see him having a pretty good game. If he's not... lets just hope he is, yeah?
- John Malkovich. He was on Saturday Night Live last night and it was actually one of the best episodes in a couple of years (which might not be saying much). If things get really tough for the Hawks today, I might have to drown my sorrows in Malkovich's reading of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.