What do we expect to see heading into our first full week of NFL Preseason Football? A host of new faces take center stage in 16 slated games between Thursday-Saturday. Let’s take a look at what we should watch for.
NEW YORK JETS at NEW YORK GIANTS
Jets- Do we see Le’Veon Bell?
Don’t count on it and you shouldn’t, Bell hasn’t played a snap since 2017 s it’s natural to think he could use a couple of series in the opener to knock off some rust. In all accounts, he’s still a $13 million dollar running back and should take the usual veteran preseason approach. Head coach Adam Gase says he isn’t sure how much Bell will play in August, but we can bet he will get some snaps at some point. Perhaps a dress rehearsal debut?
Giants – Extensive work for Daniel Jones
The sixth pick in the 2019 NFL draft will take center stage to begin answering questions that have been pending this entire offseason. Regardless if Eli Manning plays or not, Jones is expected to see substantial work with the starters and later the reserves. Pat Shurmur has praised the heir apparent to the Manning throne for exceeding expectations during training camp practice. Now Jones will test his metal against a Jets defense under new coordinator Gregg Williams.
ATLANTA FALCONS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
Falcons – Continuity along Offensive Line
The offensive line was a liabilty last year as Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times a the Falcons responded drafting two rookie lineman Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary in the first round. The only question is who wins the left guard spot between free agents James Carpenter and Jamon Brown. There’s a lot of preseason left to play, and it’s critical the Falcons get a lock on their starting five in the trenches.
Dolphins – Fitzmagic or Chosen Rosen
Somehow, someway, Ryan Fitzpatrick once again find himself at the helm of assuming another starting role, but he’ll have to work his magic to keep the young Josh Rosen off his heels. It’s been noted that Fitzpatrick has shined at camp practices while Rosen has seemingly kept the competition open despite a slow start. Honestly this may be Fitzpatrick’s job to lose though the young gunslinger is the hopeful favorite to win the starting job. These are storylines that actually make watching preseason worth while.
Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns
Redskins- Quarterback carousel
Jay Gruden’s season hinges on the battle between the three quarterbacks Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and first round draft pick Dwyane Haskins. McCoy won’t be in the lineup tonight due to treatment from breaking his leg last season so fourth string QB Josh Woodrum will see snaps. Tonight will be nothing like Week 1 but Gruden’s potential starter will need to show a grasp of the playbook snd ball security
Browns – Offense and Defense
The new look Browns have been so overly hyped you cut their season with a butter knife. Despite the talk, they look really good on paper but can it translate to the field? It would be nice if the offensive starters could get a series or two together, but its expected that Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry could sit so that just leaves the defense. The names of the other side of the ball aren’t as glamorous but they hold weight. It will be interesting to see how Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson fit the system…..oh yea we get to see Greedy Williams tonight!
Los Angels Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Chargers – Austin Ekler and the left tackle spot
Melvin Gordon has requested a trade after denying the Chargers $10 mill a year offer, enter Austin Ekler with a chance to prove he can be the bell cow going forward. LA also has to be weary of the hole left at left tackle by Russell Okung who is dealing with pulmonary embolism and could miss the next six games so the Bolts will put their faith in their young offensive line who will need to gel quickly over the next couple weeks
Cardinals – Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray’s debut
I’m going to see into the future on this one — Murray will go 3-5 for 47 yards and maybe rush for a score then we’ll spend the next week salivating over how incredible he looked and how explosive Kingsbury’s offense was. Now that we’ve got that out of the way lets keep calm if he runs into a mistake…it’s preseason and the perfect time for mishaps.
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers
Cowboys – Kellen Moore’s offense
The first game of the preseason won’t be the greatest indication, but we will gets some glimpse into what Kellen Moore’s rehashed version of Scott Linehan’s offense will look like. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Amari Cooper won’t be the one’s spearheading the offense tonight but we should still see some significant changes (Its supposed to include more pre snap motions…how exciting.)
49ers – Backup QB Battle
Kyle Shanahan has made it clear that Jimmy Garrapolo will not play in the preseason opener, which leaves C.J Beathard and Nick Mullins to duke it out for the backup position. Bethard botched the opportunity in Garrapolo’s absence and his spot was given to Mullins in Week 9 of last year and the 2017 undrafted free agent never looked back. This time Beathard gets a fresh start with the first team that will likely be showcased week 1 and this will be one of the better battles of camp as Shanahan isn’t likely to keep three quarterbacks on the roster