8/07 NFL Preseason Week 1 Notes
The first full week of NFL Preseason is underway! In case you were busy on this Thursday night or were frustrated that NFL Preseason Live didn’t work, we’re here to catch you up on the action. We can only take these games with a grain of salt in preseason, but there are a few noteworthy things.
Indianapolis 10 at NY Jets 13
Andrew Luck only played the first series. He marched his team right down the field. But on a third and goal, the snap came when Luck wasn’t ready, and he had to fall on the ball to set up the field goal. He looked T.Y. Hilton’s and Hakeem Nicks’ way primarily. With Reggie Wayne out, Hilton didn’t play in the slot, but that will likely change.
The Colts’ OL did a nice job in pass protection, but their run blocking was fairly poor. You could point to the highly-criticized Trent Richardson and others, but Richardson actually earned his yards fairly well all things considered. This is a big concern if the Colts want to take the next step.
Matt Hasselbeck looked solid. He took a lot of three-step drops. He also got Dan Herron involved out of the backfield frequently, who made some nice moves in space. Herron has a legit chance to be the third-down back of this team.
On the other side of the ball, Geno Smith was effective and smart. He made a handful of plays with his arms and legs. Michael Vick came in later and led the Jets on a TD drive. They did convert a 4th-and-short inside the 10. Both quarterbacks can obviously run. Vick is certainly faster, but Smith’s ability to continue to look downfield was better in this contest. Neither QB did anything to hurt themselves.
One thing of note was that Chris Ivory got the start over Chris Johnson at RB. Neither back performed well, and the Jets OL was bad all around. I wouldn’t look too much into this, but Johnson caught two balls on three targets in the passing game. Rumors were he is supposed to be used more in that area, which is important for DFS PPR. Johnson also scored on a 1-yard TD run.
Also, Jace Amaro led the Jets with five targets. He was already on our sleeper radar and didn’t even get that many snaps.
New England 6 at Washington 23
The Patriots haven’t been a strong preseason team early, primarily since they typically barely play Tom Brady. Brady didn’t even suit up for this one. Ryan Mallet had a rough go in the first half. His OL didn’t give him a lot of help, both in the running game and in pass protection. But he looked rusty.
However, Jimmy Garoppolo looked very impressive. Yes, 9-of-13 for 157 yards and a TD with no INT’s is good, but he also had fantastic pocket presence, threw a variety of passes and showed off his deep ball to Brian Tyms. Who is Brian Tyms? He’s from Florida A&M and barely got any action in 7 games with the Browns last season. Going into a deep Patriots WR core, it’ll be tough for Syms to make it. But anyways, he caught five balls for 119 yards and the one TD. Furthermore, he caught another deep pass with an insane amount of concentration that was heavily covered. However, that was ruled incomplete, but the pass interference set them up inside the 5 anyways. The Patriots went for it on 4th down, Garoppolo scrambled exceptionally well and hit Josh Boyce, but he ended up dropping the ball for what would have been a TD.
Again, Garoppolo won’t be playing any games this year unless it’s in garbage time or Brady gets hurt. But when Brady does decide to hang it up, I could see Garoppolo being the future of the franchise. I know, one preseason game, but there was a lot to like about him. Many of the New England 1st-string players didn’t suit up, especially at WR and TE. Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins played a small amount early.
As for the Redskins, their line play was great on both sides of the ball. RGIII played one series, which led to a FG. Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy looked great – a combined 17-22 for 205 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Several backs averaged over five yards per carry. Alfred Morris looked fresh, as he should. Aldrick Robinson had a nice TD grab on a fade to the back-corner. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson sat this one out.
The defensive line brought pressure all night. Again, the Patriots didn’t have their first unit out there. But this team did win only three games last year and held the Patriots to 6 points.
San Francisco 3 at Baltimore 23
Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick played each played a series, and that was it. Both looked fine.
I thought Carlos Hyde and Jeremy Hill were the two best RBs coming into the NFL this season. Frank Gore didn’t play and he always seems to keep trucking along for solid seasons. This could be where we see the decline. Hyde will be a great overall and particularly powerful back. He had five touches for 39 yards. None of the 49ers 1st-string WRs or TEs played. Stevie Johnson is now on San Francisco and had a catch.
Most notably, Blaine Gabbert was atrocious. He played most of the first half, but had no pocket presence, was 3-of-11 for 20 yards, an INT and it resulted in a 1.7 QB Rating. McLeod Bethel-Thompson was off too going 3-of-7 with an INT. The 49ers better keep Kaepernick healthy.
There wasn’t a lot to note with Baltimore. Tyrod Taylor played the rest of the game (Keith Wenning took knees at the end). Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two regular-season games, but did get three carries for 17 yards. Bernard Pierce, who should start week 1, had 10 carries for 37 yards and a TD. A variety of Ravens receivers caught a few balls. Baltimore had to settle for a lot of field goals. Justin Tucker drilled a 55-yarder.
Cincinnati 39 at Kansas City 41
I didn’t do the exact math here, but even in this high-scoring game, both DSTs lit up the scoreboard. The Chiefs forced two INTs that were returned for TDs to go with an 80-yard punt return by D’Anthony Thomas for a TD. The Bengals forced an INT of their own for a TD.
First team notes: Andy Dalton and Alex Smith each played a series and looked good. A.J. Green caught a deep ball in midseason form. Jamaal Charles and Giovani Bernard were also in the game for a few carries.
The Bengals draft pick in Jeremy Hill was interesting to me in that they already had Bernard and Benjarvis Green-Ellis. However, as I said before, I’m pretty high on Hill. I really could seeing this be three-system backfield. Green-Ellis is getting up there in age, but Bernard is someone I’d avoid until we get more concrete evidence that he is the “go-to” guy.
Chase Daniel played well at QB for KC, outside of that one INT. Jason Campbell threw a few nice balls but made some bad mistakes – 6-of-15 2 TD 2 INT (both INTs returned for TDs). The Bengals also had egregious coverage on the punt return by Thomas.
Seattle 16 at Denver 21
This game was tough to watch – a lightning delay, 25 penalties, Tharold Simon kicked out, just no flow to it, except when Peyton Manning was at QB of course.
Manning actually got two series in this game, which kind of surprised me. In any case, Manning did his thing. His first drive ended around midfield when he barely over shot Demaryius Thomas. The second drive he was vintage Peyton, spreading the wealth, but also hitting Thomas five times in his six targets for 52 yards. He also took a bad snap that rolled on the ground and hit Wes Welker at the 1-yard line. That set up the Ronnie Hillman TD. Montee Ball didn’t play. However, 3rd-string running back Juwan Thompson looked great with his five carries for 59 yards, but left the game and was evaluated for a concussion.
Russell Wilson was erratic and under pressure quite a bit. For his one TD drive – there were five penalties on the Broncos that resulted in first downs. A few of the calls were awful. The Seattle OL also struggled in the running game. Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin sat out. After Tavaris Jackson came in and did a respectable job, Terrelle Pryor came in and was his usual inconsistent self.
Not a lot to diagnose here. The poor performance by the Seahawks OL is what surprised me most.
Dallas 7 at San Diego 27
Not that Tony Romo will lose his spot by any means, but Brandon Weeden played the entire first half and looked great. He didn’t even have Dez Bryant to throw to. A lot of quick reads, solid decision making and actually had time in the pocket to show off his arm strength here and there. He was given horrible field position the entire half, hence only recording 7 points.
No action for DeMarco Murray, so Joseph Randle took 13 carries for 50 yards. Solid outing for the second-string Dallas unit. Third unit, not so much.
Phillip Rivers marched his team right down the field on 4-for-4 passing that totaled 61 yards. However, on 1st-and-goal from the 1, Ryan Mathews inexplicably dove toward the goal line and fumbled it into the end zone where Dallas recovered. Kellen Clemens then came in and went 5-for-5 for 134 yards. He hooked up with Dontrelle Inman for a 70-yard TD. San Diego’s first incomplete pass came in the 4th quarter from Brad Sorensen after he hit his first four passes.
Not anything noteworthy outside of this. Both teams moved the ball fairly well, but never had good field position outside of the Haine fumble. Dallas’ defense was predictably badbut many of their starters rested.View all posts by Nick Juskewycz