What have we learned after two weeks of NFL preseason football? Even though the superstars only make cameo-like appearances in the preseason, there are some things to be gleaned from these exhibition games. There are rookies trying to make plays just to get on a 53 man roster. There are journeymen trying to do the same. There are also good players who had a bad 2013 season attempting to right their ship.
After these two weeks of NFL play, it is obvious that anything Johnny Manziel does will make the news. We knew that going into the season though. He is a lightning rod for attention, good or bad. He played well in his first game versus Detroit. In that game he did show that he is willing to risk his body to make plays, even when an easy pass is available. In game two against the Redskins, Manziel let the defense get to him a bit. He gave them the old middle finger after being razzed, which will cost him a little bit of cash from that rookie contract. Not a big deal, but why do something that is going to get you fined, especially in the preseason.
Eli Manning had a forgettable year in 2013. He tried to do too much to keep the Giants’ season afloat. But he only added weight to the sinking ship as he threw 27 interceptions. He has not exactly looked like a two time Super Bowl quarterback so far in the preseason. That may not be much of an indicator of the real games that will start in about three weeks, but it is a bit concerning for NY Giant fans.
The Atlanta Falcons should likely just burn the coaches film of their loss to the Texans. They were hammered 32-7 and more importantly lost starting lineman, Sam Baker to a bad knee injury. Look for some nasty coaching comments on Tuesday night’s ‘Hard Knocks‘. I don’t like to see my home team knocked around, but it should make for some interesting HBO TV tonight.
In a less than shocking development, Jadeveon Clowney is impressing folks around the league. Against the Falcons he was physically dominant and made some highlight reel plays in the Birds’ backfield. This rookie has the body of a veteran and will only get better as he learns the pro game.
A rash of bruises and bumps is sidelining some veteran NFL players. “Small versions of turf toe”, bruised ribs, and “a walk down a grassy knoll injury” made mini headlines this past week. No way stuff like this would keep a guy out of a game in the regular season. But this is the preseason, where guys secure in their position on the team will find anyway to get out of practice.
You can’t tell much from QB play since the starters barely get to work up a sweat. But Andy Dalton and Matt Cassel have looked good in very limited work. There are a handful of quarterbacks who have completed 100 percent of their passes, which tells you how much they are in games. In that group is someone named Ricky Stanzi, whom I would have guessed was a dance choreographer just by the name.Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings will have to really impress next week to have a shot at starting early in the year. He has been lackluster as Cassel is playing at a high level.
We are gaining ground on the regular season. The first real game will be on NBC on Thursday, September 4th at 8:30. That should be a great game between the Packers and world champion Seahawks. Sunday is full of good matchups and Monday Night Football will have a double header for us.