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Week one of the NFL Preseason is in the books. By now you all know that I am writing down all of my NFL training camp & preseason notes in the Training Camp Blog so I thought now would be a good time to review each game and tell you what we learned (or should have) from each contest.
Colts at Jets
The Good: Michael Vick is still really fast and can extend plays with his legs. Andrew Luck is still the kind of QB that can make everybody around him look better despite his teammates not playing particularly well. Rookie TE Jace Amaro was able to stay on his feet, something that he has not been able to do during his first NFL training camp thus far.
The Bad: Both teams need help up front along their offensive lines. These offenses are both incredibly thin as well which will come into play if/when major injuries take place to the starters. The Colts have absolutely no running game to speak of whatsoever. There are high school teams that can run the ball better than the Colts right now.
Patriots at Redskins
The Good: The Redskins rushing attack looked strong despite running against second and third team defenders. It does look as if the Redskins are going to use a zone blocking scheme which is slightly different than what they ran under Mike Shanahan but still fits Alfred Morris’ running style. Rookies Jimmy Garoppolo and Lache Seastrunk were very effective in their first taste of an NFL like game. Garoppolo crushed Ryan Mallett’s output tonight and already looks way more comfortable and confident in the Patriots offense.
The Bad: Redskins kicker Kai Forbath was awful tonight. He hit the upright on his first FG attempt, a 34 yard attempt that was nullified because of a delay of game penalty. Forbath hit the ensuing 39 yarder but then was short on another 46 yard attempt. He also booted a kickoff out of bounds giving the Patriots lackluster offense great field position. Forbath is in a battle with Zach Hocker to be the Redskins primary kicker this season.
49ers at Baltimore
The Good: The Ravens rushing attack completely pummeled the 49ers defense to the tune of 48-237-1. Gary Kubiak’s offenses have always been able to run the football and it appears as though the Ravens rushing attack is on the right path already this season. This should help you realize that despite all of the offseason issues, Ray Rice and even Bernard Pierce are still very useful fantasy RB’s.
The Bad: You have to wonder about the 49ers defense that got shredded by journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor tonight. Blaine Gabbert was awful once against as well going 3-11 for just 20 yards and one interception. Gabbert needs to raise his game if he wants to win even a backup role in San Francisco and stay in the NFL.
Bengals at Chiefs
The Good: A.J. Green is ALWAYS good but even in limited action in the preseason he manages to make a big impact for his team. Both teams ran the ball quite well considering they used mostly deep backups at the RB position. I really like the way that Chase Daniel is coming along and think that he and Aaron Murray are going to have quite an interesting competition in Chiefs camp next season.
The Bad: Despite the high score, this was an incredibly sloppy game by both teams. Neither defense appeared able to stop the run and the turnovers were out of control. Although there were “only” three interceptions in this game there were about a half dozen more throws that went into defenders hands or were tipped up into no man’s land.
Seahawks at Broncos
The Good: The Broncos played like a team that wanted to win this game despite its outcome not meaning anything in the standings. That is a sign that the Broncos coaches got through to them just how important it was to avenge the embarrassment of their Super Bowl loss. Broncos RB Juwan Thompson showed why he is battling for the RB2 job with C.J. Anderson by gaining 59 yards on just six carries.
The Bad: The penalties were off the chain in this game. The Broncos were whistled for 12 penalties while the Seahawks added 13 of their own. I have no idea what the officials were trying to prove here but many of these calls were minor contact related and completely disrupted the flow of the game. Speaking of C.J. Anderson, he left the game with a concussion tonight.
Cowboys at Chargers
The Good: Former Virginia WR and ex-CFL standout Dontrelle Inman showed off why he has been getting a serious look in Chargers camp this summer. Inman had an impressive 70 yard TD catch and run in the third quarter that helped the Chargers open it up on the visiting Cowboys. Inman had 3 catches for 107 yards in total. At 6’3” he is one of few Chargers backup receivers with size which should give him a big advantage in making the team this year.
The Bad: Everything the Cowboys did was pretty pathetic tonight except for Joseph Randle. Randle ran the ball hard and well despite getting no help from his offensive line. The Cowboys defense looks as though it may be even worse than it was at the end of last season in which case load up your teams with players in the NFC East this year.
Dolphins at Falcons
The Good: I really enjoyed watching this game. It felt as though both teams really wanted to win this ballgame and both coaching staffs managed it accordingly. Ryan Tannehill was fantastic which surprised me a bit considering how dreadful he had been in camp earlier this week. The Dolphins are building a new offense and this game was a very good first step in what could be a breakout season. Davonta Freeman proved he could handle a full workload as he was very effective in both rushing and receiving capacities tonight.
The Bad: Antone Smith got screwed out of two huge plays this evening. On the first drive he had a 30 yard catch and run called back due to an illegal formation penalty on the Falcons. Later on he had a 76 yard TD run called back because of holding on first round pick Jake Matthews. For Matthews this is no way to win favor with the veterans.
Buccaneers at Jaguars
The Good: One of my favorite WR sleepers this season is Buccaneers WR Tommy Streeter who caught a six yard TD from Mike Glennon in the game. Each defensive unit played pretty well with some sure tackling and constant pressure on the QB’s. Blake Bortles played well but is performance is being quite overhyped right now. I like Bortles long term but his scoring drive was really aided by a ticky tack late hit penalty against the Bucs which put the Jaguars in position for field goal.
The Bad: Josh McCown isn’t in Chicago anymore and it showed right off of the bat. McCown threw a terrible pick six early to Jaguars FS Winston Guy and also lost a fumble in his first game since signing with the Bucs. I have serious questions of whether Mike Glennon isn’t a better QB right now than Josh McCown.
Bills at Panthers
The Good: Bryce Brown is a very effective RB when he isn’t putting the ball on the ground. Brown was the workhorse for the Bills tonight gaining 82 total yards while Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller watched from the sidelines. Panthers first round pick WR Kelvin Benjamin made a ridiculous skyward grab for a 29 yard TD early in the second quarter. Having Benjamin is going to make the Panthers passing game better than it was at any point last year because he has the size to make up for badly throw balls.
The Bad: The Panthers offense without Cam Newton is almost non-existent. Neither team pass protected very well tonight as the QB’s were always under pressure and sacked a total of five times total.
Raiders at Vikings
The Good: The only redeeming part of this game for me was seeing the Vikings playing an outdoor home game. Other than that and a mildly decent start from Matt Cassel this game had be more interested in the Workaholics rerun that was playing on the TV beside it.
The Bad: The Raiders offense is full of talented folks like Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew and James Jones but none of that means anything if you can’t get anything form your quarterback. I think Matt Schaub will be able to do better come the regular season but tonight it was a mess. This entire game is one in which I would like erased from my memory.
Eagles at Bears
The Good: The Bears offense looked like it hadn’t lost a beat since the end of 2013. Even backup QB’s Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer were very effective against the Eagles tonight. Mark Sanchez lead two impressive drives for the Eagles each ending in TD runs by second year RB Matthew Tucker.
The Bad: After throwing just two interceptions in 317 attempts last year, Nick Foles tossed two picks in just nine attempts tonight. The Bears couldn’t run the ball at all against the Eagles tonight. Matt Forte had negative yards and backup Ka’Deem Carey only totaled 23 yards on 10 carries.
Saints at Rams
The Good: Saints first round pick WR Brandin Cooks got off to a hot start in his NFL career by racking up 5-55-1 in his debut. Mark Ingram showed patience and power in running for 83 yards on eight carries including a 22 yard TD in the first half. Backup QB’s Shaun Hill (started tonight) and Austin Davis capitalized on good field position to put the Rams in the endzone.
The Bad: I wanted to see the Rams defense play better tonight. Thought Robert Quinn didn’t receive much time I expected Aaron Donald to make a bigger impact against a weak Saints offensive line and without Drew Breen under center.
Browns at Lions
The Good: I talked about this game and specifically Johnny Manziel’s first NFL performance in the August 9th edition of the Training Camp Report. Other things that stood out to me were Mikel LeShoure having more bounce to his step than I had remembered and also Ryan Broyles looking fully recovered from his torn Achilles last year.
The Bad: Lions backup RB’s George Winn looked good but lost a fumble this evening. Backup QB Dan Orlovsky was like a deer in headlights while holding onto the ball way too long and having obvious “hot-feet” at times tonight.
Steelers at Giants
The Good: Nobody expects Rashad Jennings to rumble for 73 yard TD’s very often but the fact is that he’s a very solid RB who can break tackles with the best of them in this league. Andre Williams also had another strong effort tonight in picking up big chunks of yards after contact. Dri Archer will be involved in the Steelers offense in both the running and passing games this season. He had a real nice 46 yard catch and run early on from Ben Roethlisberger.
The Bad: Ryan Nassib is brutal gang. He did complete his first five passes tonight but then went 7-16 the rest of the way. The Giants had better hope to God that nothing ever happens to Eli Manning as they would be in deep trouble if that happened. The same could be said for the Steelers and all of their backup QB’s behind Roethlisberger.
Packers at Titans
The Good: Although it wasn’t a good performance overall I really enjoyed watching Zach Mettenberger bring his team back for the winning TD in the fourth quarter. Bishop Sankey made an impact in both the running and passing games as well as we fully expect him to do during the regular season. I also liked what I saw from Scott Tolzien tonight. Despite awful weather conditions he was very cool and comfortable in making plays and in leading the Packers offense down the field multiple times.
The Bad: The weather was so bad that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy basically rested every important player on his roster. I felt this was a pretty chicken shit move but guess that I can’t blame him for sitting Aaron Rodgers. The rest of the Packers were basically on cruise control and still gave the Titans all that they could handle.
Texans at Cardinals
The Good: There was plenty of good on the Arizona sidelines today. The offense was downright superb in all three QB’s combing to go 27-34 for 324 yards and 3 TD’s. Rookie WR John Brown was heavily involved drawing 10 targets and hauling in 5-87 yards. The only redeeming thing for the Texans was the acknowledgement of something I have been mentioning a lot this summer and that is the involvement of WR Mike Thomas. Thomas 4-40 yards or what ultimately was about 25% of the entire Texans offense.
The Bad: The first team defense especially J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney did look dangerous. But other than that everything on the Texans was awful. The lack of any offense here was bewildering. Where was Andre Brown? There has been no acknowledgement from the Texans on why or where Andre Brown was tonight. Ryan Fitzpatrick was so bad that you wonder just how long he’ll continue to lead the first team offense in practices going forward. The Texans will need a much better effort next time out to erase this from their memory.