Is there anything better than a Saturday filled with football games, especially pro football even if it is just preseason. Football time is here and we couldn't be happier!
Young QBs Shine
If Week 1 told us anything, it is that the league is in good hands for the future, with a ton of beautiful throws and some great performances. Now I'm not going to overreact to one week of preseason and say that all of these guys will start for the next decade, but for all of these first round picks to come out and have some really good performances, it reassures us that these guys are headed in the right direction. Let's go through all the top young guys performances.
It's Tua time in Miami, and he looked great out there with some beautiful balls - especially a 50 yard pass to Gesicki. Tua Tagovailoa finished 8/11 for 99 yards and an interception. He looked better in these series then he did almost all of last year, and we'll see if he can keep it going. The guy he went up against got a standing O from the crowd and gave them something to cheer for.
Justin Fields went 14/20 142 yards, 5 rushes for 33 yards and a touchdown both through the air and on the ground. He looks poised to win this job from Dalton similar to what Russell Wilson did his rookie year after Matt Flynn was promised that job. The potential is through the roof and he looked calm, cool and collected out there.
Although they didn't move the needle at all, the top two QBs from this year's NFL draft both had nice days. Trevor Lawrence, the #1 pick overall was 6/9 for 71 yards with a beautiful throw to Marvin Jones Jr. He was 3/4 on tight window throws too. Zach Wilson the #2 overall pick went 6/9 for 63 yards with a nice 16 yard throw on a 3rd and 9. Like I said, nothing special, but still nothing horrific - so a good sign that all is well. The 3rd overall pick had himself a different day almost the opposite. We saw him make a gorgeous throw for an 80 yard touchdown, and saw him make 3 other beautiful throws that were dropped by his receivers. He ended up being 5/14 for 128 yards and a touchdown. He would have been 8/14 for a lot more yards if not for the 3 drops.
The next guy I'm going to talk about is someone whose name we've heard in the media since the day he was drafted, been surrounded by controversy that was never really about him, and has not played a live game in 600+ days. That man is Jordan Love. He had himself a day, with a rocky first quarter being 3/5 with a couple of failed 3rd down conversions, but bounced back with a great rest of the game. Seeing him convert a 3rd and 9 with a beautiful ball that went for 34 yards to his tight end and, with another 3rd down conversion on that same drive that ended with a 22 yard touchdown to Kylin Hill on a screen pass, he looked poised in the pocket and not like a guy who hadn't played in 600 days. He finished 12/17 for 122 yards and a touchdown, and we haven't even seen him use his legs yet. That debut should be a sigh of relief to Packers fans that maybe this guy could actually be the QB of the future in a year or two after Rodgers leaves or retires.
The last two guys I'll talk about are Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones. Hurts was uneventful - he had a good throw or two but also looked off out there. He finished 3/7 for 54 yards, with a costly drop in there that would've made his day better. Mac was very uneventful as well. He looked a lot more poised out there, but his 13/19 for 87 yards was a measly 4.6 yards average per completion. After watching the only Sunday game, I felt I should add Jacob Eason as he made some really nice throws in this game and looked strong in the pocket. He went 11/17 for 125 yards and had one lost fumble. Nothing crazy but worth mentioning since he will most likely start week 1 if Wentz can't.
Let me remind you to not overreact to any of these week one games. While they're all looking good, I'm sure at least one or two of these guys will most likely be busts in the long run.
No Position battles won yet
I know everyone wants those camp battles to be done after one week, but football is rarely that straight forward. Some of these battles could continue into the regular season. Some of the things we're seeing could just be teams protecting the starters, so let's dive into this. I wanted to start with the biggest battle of the preseason and that's about the replacement for Drew Brees in New Orleans. No one can truly replace Brees, but it will be the first time in over a decade that he isn't the starting QB for this team. Unfortunately, nothing was really solved in the first game. Jameis was 7/12 for 96 with a TD and a pick, so same ole Jameis Winston. Taysom Hill threw the ball better than expected but didn't run it all - my guess was that this was by design as to not get him unnecessarily injured. He finished the day 8/12 for 81 yards with a pick, so I guess if you wanted to give someone a leg up, it would be Winston since he threw a TD.
The Patriots backfield remains a mystery. Damien Harris has been a star in camp but the star in the field was Stevenson who looked good rushing 9 times for 37 yards before he broke off a 91 yard touchdown run. He's got a lot more juice and a lot more speed than I originally thought. Sony Michel played in the game too, and James White got the passing game work. So far through camp and preseason week one I'm staying away from this backfield - especially if Cam is the starter and takes away most of the red zone TDs.
The next one hits close to home - literally - and that's the Denver Broncos QB battle. Working for them is going to be a blast this year even if it's on a part time basis. But this QB battle gave us a guy with a leg up and that leg up is Locks leg. He went 5/7 for 151 and two TDs. Even without that 80 yard dime ball to Hamler, he would've been 4/6 for 70 yards and a TD - still better than a lot of the other young QBs. Teddy Bridgewater had a great game too, going 7/8 for 74 yards and a TD, nearly perfect with a perfect TD pass. Both of these guys showed what they do best.
I've said it at the end of each of these last two reactions - don't overreact. It's just one week and none of these guys are guaranteed to be future superstars or HOFers. Jordan Love could be the next Aaron Rodgers, but it's way too early to crown him with that label. We are a week in, super excited, and want to make bold predictions, but let's hold off until preseason is over to start going crazy with our predictions. Defensive coordinators will make adjustments. In Love's case he probably won't see the field at all this year as long as everything goes well and Rodgers stays healthy and happy. Right now Lance is more 50/50, but I think we see him this year too. I know Shanahan loves Jimmy G, but he wants to get Lance as ready as possible. I don't think he will be quick to pull Jimmy, but if the 49ers aren't on a roll or winning the division, they could look to make a change prior to the trade deadline.
One prediction I am confident about is that we are going to see alot of Justin Fields this year. That is a guarantee. He will take the job from Dalton and that is my one bold prediction from Week 1 of preseason. Look at me...already breaking my own rules.
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