The first week of the NFL preseason is over and it's time to both praise the good performances found in limited snaps and apologise and make excuses for the bad ones - hey, that's the preseason!
Long-time Colts fans may have experienced some kind of deja-vu upon Andrew Luck's debut. He put on a performance just as good, if not better, than Peyton Manning's back in 1998. There's not much else to say other than he looked like a veteran NFL quarterback. His accuracy on some throws was, frankly, phenomenal, and his mobility is something clearly under-appreciated. If you are a Washington Redskins supporter you have to be happy with Robert Griffin III's performance. His solid stats, 4/6 70 yards and one touchdown, were the product of an uncommon poise not usually found in rookie QBs. Pierre Garcon fans should also be happy, he looked like a true WR1. I don't know about you, but the Falcons' 2011 dealing to grab Julio Jones seems to look better and better. 6 receptions, 109 yards and one touchdown from a single quarter. Monster numbers. Tom Brady took a pretty big hit from behind in the Patriots game against the Saints. That Pats OL will be of great interest to me throughout the rest of the preseason. He did hit TE Rob Gronkowski twice during his limited time on the field so that connection still seems intact. The Philadelphia Eagles had a huge scare when Michael Vick appeared to hurt his thumb early. X-rays seemed negative and he'll be fine but it does remind us that to succeed the Eagles will need a reliable backup. Thankfully rookie Nick Foles and journeyman Trent Edwards looked good (even if the second string QB, Mike Kafka, did not.) Ben Roethlisberger looked like vintage Ben Roethlisberger, making people miss, breaking tackles and finding the open receiver. For the most part the absence of Mike Wallace did not seem to hurt the offence too much, but we'll have to wait and see. Hard not to feel bad for the Chargers when their No.1 RB, Ryan Mathews, broke his clavicle on his very first carry. Ouch. This was after what has been a very positive preseason - he'll be out of action for 4-6 weeks. While we're on the topic of the Chargers, TE Antonio Gates looked pretty great with 2 catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. See? I bring good news with the bad. One of the major draw cards for this week was the first Peyton Manning appearance. It's fair to call it a pretty mixed début. But compared to other starting QBs who haven't had a zillion neck surgeries, didn't just sign with a new team and actually played during the 2011 season I'd say he did pretty damn well. The one interception was the product of a terrific defensive play rather than QB rust. All is well in Denver. It's hard to get a read on the Chicago Bears when neither Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Julius Peppers and Matt Forte played. I need to see the Cutler-Marshall connection back in action. The Jets look terrible. Straight up. Neither Sanchez nor Tebow looked like they could carry an offence and at times the game was painful to watch. Not helping was the gushing Tebow commentary talking about his apparently unique ability to "just win games", all the while he's throwing 4/8, 27 yards and one interception. Winning. On the flip side the Cincinnati Bengals looked good. But they did get badly banged up. They actually lost four of their starters in the first 20 minuets of the game. That's the worst case scenario for any team during the preseason. Their starting guard, Travelle Wharton, is apparently out for the season. I didn't like how the Browns treated Colt McCoy. It's a tough sell to argue that he had his shot, especially when his replacement gets a shiny new RB to play with. But I guess Karma has her way yeah? That shiny new RB has had to have surgery to clear up his knee and Brandon Weeden, the replacement, had an absolutely terrible rookie debut. McCoy won't win the starting job, it's already gone, but he can make the Browns look like idiots -- which he certainly has done during their first preseason game. While eyes were initially Matt Flynn they really should've been on Russell Wilson who came on after and was described as 'greasy fast' by the Seattle commentators. Not sure what that means but he showed poise, was very mobile and had a great day. http://youtu.be/3w1EVl7zkLs Talking about QB competitions, technically Jake Locker had a better day than Matt Hasselbeck. In fact, I'm fairly confident that Locker will have that starting spot come the first week of the regular season. Noticed how woeful Chris Johnson was? I sure did. The Kansas City Chiefs' running situation was made only a little clearer by good performances from both Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis. Honestly I see it being similar to the way Charles and Thomas Jones shared carries back in 2010, Jamaal's breakout year. Ideal for both the speedster and bruiser. I have to admit I liked how Josh Freeman looked. He had a wretched 2011 season and I do think the calming, structured approach of Greg Schiano will make that offence work. There could be a two-headed RB monster brewing in LeGarrette Blount and rookie Doug Martin. Most thought Martin would simply take the job but I can see both having solid carries during the season. As for Miami, it's hard to fault Ryan Tannehill who looked supremely confident in the pocket. He made some good throws and clearly knew the system, and now I'm very interested in seeing him compete against a starting defensive unit. Don't worry about Cam's poor outing either, he was terrible during the 2011 preseason as well and look how that turned out. Oh, by the way, Luke Kuechly will be the defensive rookie of the year. Kuechly was always where the action was, he made a big goal line stop and then forced an Arian Foster fumble. The Giants have only made their RB situation more confusing after excellent performances from both D.J. Ware and rookie David Wilson. Three-headed rushing attack in 2012? Sure, why not? Must be nice to have that kind of depth. TE Martellus Bennett made some great plays, both blocking - which the coaches tell us is the reason they signed him - and catching the football. Yes, the Jaguars actually looked ok against the Giants' starting unit. Blaine Gabbert led Jacksonville down to the endzone on the very first drive. I'm eager to see Maurice Jones-Drew finally return and their rookie WR Justin Blackmon make an impact. That's more or less it. If I didn't mention a team it's basically because I didn't think there was anything to report. Not yet, anyway. It's probably a good thing (Dallas Cowboys).
Point of Interest: Chad Johnson is done, and rightly so. Teams can tolerate a joker or a troublemaker, not both. Point of Interest 2: I'm having a lot of trying understanding why Ryan Mathews is still a top 10 fantasy pick. He's injury prone and just broke his clavicle guys. Point of Interest 3: I'm looking forward to seeing offenses get a bit more complicated in week 2. I'd like to see the Redskins Pistol formation in action. Final Point of Interest: Hakeem Nicks looks set for Week 1 of the regular season, Giants fans rejoice.