Preseason Week 1 Rookie Recap
Written by Cody Manning
Week 1 of preseason football is in the books! We are now just a few weeks away from the regular season but it doesn’t mean that we are watching pointless football right now. Week 1 of the preseason is made for the players on the bottom of the 90-man roster, it gives them a chance to put film on their resume to avoid getting cut or for their next team’s consideration. One of the better parts of this week is that we get to see some rookies that we have been waiting to see perform in an NFL uniform. Don’t worry if you missed out on any of the early football action, I got you covered on some notable things that happened in the first week of preseason games.
The biggest thing for me this week was seeing the five first-round rookie quarterbacks that will be tied together for the rest of the careers. Baker Mayfield looked like a veteran, he was comfortable in the pocket and was able to zip balls into his receivers all throughout the game. He finished with 11/20 for 212 yards and 2 touchdowns. It appears that the Browns may have finally figured out their dreadful quarterback situation. Tyrod Taylor will have to play as perfect as he can because if Mayfield continues to shine all preseason then the Dawg Pound may start barking for Mayfield if Taylor’s play isn’t getting the job done.
Sam Darnold had a great first performance as a New York Jet. Darnold had the confidence that you want in a young quarterback. He showed off his mobility to stretch out plays and showed that when he zipped a ball in to cap off a touchdown drive. He ended the game with 13/18 for 96 yards and a touchdown. The Jets appeared to find a special one in Darnold, so they need to bring in a camp arm as it is risky to have him out there finishing preseason games like he did this week. It will be an interesting watch to see how the Jets quarterback battle plays out over the next few weeks.
Josh Allen gave the Buffalo Bills something to believe in after his first performance in NFL action. While he was far from perfect, he was able to show off his powerful arm throughout the game and he finished a two-minute drive with a touchdown to end his day. Allen final stat line included being 9/19 for 116 yards and a touchdown. If he can continue his development and work on getting his timing down with his receivers, then Allen could push for early playing time. We will see if he ends up getting any reps with the starters over the next couple games. If he does, then we could see Allen starting earlier then what most expected.
Josh Rosen based on his stat line, 6/13 for 41 yards and 0 touchdowns, most would consider he had an awful performance. But that is why you don’t want to be a stat scout. If you watch the game, you would have walked away with some good impressions. On his first series he was behind the backup offensive line and the Chargers had their starters still out there. Melvin Ingram ran free at him, Rosen delivered athrow and took a hit as he got his first NFL completion. He also showed his ability to avoid the pressure, reset his feet and deliver the pass. He did have a couple of down moments, but the Arizona Cardinals must have liked what they saw in their future franchise quarterback.
Lamar Jackson got to show off his skills during his now second NFL performance. He was able to prove that he can make those next level throws and show how dangerous he is with his feet as he broke a defensive lineman’s ankles as he scooted his way into the endzone. Jackson was 7/18 for 119 passing yards while also getting 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He still needs work on delivering the ball, but the Ravens must be satisfied with his progression so far. We will see if Baltimore shows off how they will use him with Joe Flacco in the next couple of games or make us wait until opening week.
Quarterbacks always get all the love, so I can’t leave out any other notable rookies that got a chance to shine. Saquon Barkley showed off why he was the #2 overall pick on just one 39-yard scamper. Carolina Panthers top pick D.J. Moore was impressive with his 4 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to have found themselves an immediate contributor in their 2nd round pick Dallas Goedert. He had 4 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
While Mayfield got a lot of attention, one thing shouldn’t go unnoticed is his early chemistry with fellow rookie Antonio Callaway. The two connected 3 times which resulted in 87 yards and a touchdown. Harold Landry made a memorable play in his first action when he was able to bend around the tackle for a strip-sack which got draft fans still pondering how he fell to the Tennessee Titans in the 2nd round. Marquez Valdes-Scantling could end up being a steal for the Green Bay Packers. The receiver had 5 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Shaquem Griffin continues to show why he is a football player, not just a feel-good story. He racked up 9 total tackles in which 4 were made in a row on the first drive of the game. Michael Gallup only made one catch, but it was worth mentioning. Dak Prescott connected with Gallup on a 30-yard touchdown, the early chemistry could develop into a deadly duo for the Dallas Cowboys. Kerryon Johnson showed off his legs for the Detroit Lions as he could be an answer for their rushing woes. Royce Freeman was another rookie back who looks like he could be an immediate contributor, he had 4 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown.
One of the worst parts of the preseason process is the injuries that happen before any ‘real’ action is going down. The most notable name for this week is the Washington Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice. Guice tore his ACL on what was great run that showed he was ready to compete early in his career. I hope he has a healthy recovery and comes back ready for the 2019 season.
The San Francisco 49ers saw 5 players go down. Solomon Thomas, George Kittle, Matt Breida, Malcom Smith, and Gary Gilliam all left the game with an injury. Kittle and Breida should hopefully be back by the opening week. Thomas is currently in concussion protocol along with Gilliam. Smith is now week-to-week with a hamstring injury.
The Indianapolis Colts saw starting running back Marlon Mack suffer a hamstring injury which has put him on a week-to-week status. Their rookie receiver Deon Cain suffered a torn ACL which unfortunately ended his first season prematurely.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargraves suffered a groin injury which will put him out for a few weeks as he recovers for regular season action.
Other Notable Performances
While most starters play a series or two, there were some things that were worth mentioning. Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill both returned to the field after missing all last season. Luck finished 6/9 for 64 yards and Tannehill went 4/6 for 32 yards. Even though it didn’t count, Marshawn Lynch looked like he is ready for a big year when he went untouched on a 60-yard touchdown run that got called back on a holding call. In his first performance as the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins helped marched the team down the field as he went 4/4 for 42 yards and capped it off with a touchdown.