Written by Cody Manning, @Blitzalytics
Week 3 of the NFL Preseason is typically the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. We got a chance to get a good idea of how most of the teams will somewhat look for the 2018 season. But, this year was a tad bit different because some teams held players out just because coaches are comfortable where they're at with their team or they have been dealt with some injuries, so they didn't want to risk any more damage prior to the season opener. This will be my last recap of the preseason since we won't see any starters in Thursday's games. This was also probably the last chance for any highly drafted rookies to make one last impression. If you missed any of the action, don't worry I got you covered yet again!
As I have gone through the preseason I have followed the progress of the five 1st round quarterbacks and how they have done thus far. For Baker Mayfield fans, they thought the door was opened for him when Tyrod Taylor went down with what looked like a horrible injury. But, Taylor not only was cleared, he also surprisingly put back into the game. Between his small time with the starters and when he took over in the 2nd half, Mayfield went 8/12 for 76 yards and threw his first interception. This is Taylor’s job to lose, but with so many people behind Mayfield, one small opening could let him explode onto the scene during his rookie year.
The New York Jets have all but announced that Sam Darnold will be their opening day starter. The rookie has started the past two games and he looks like he is comfortable in their system. Darnold went for 8/16 for 86 yards and a touchdown. The team appears to be willing to get him out there right away, even with two quality veterans that could start as well. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with Teddy Bridgewater as he has also been impressive, and they could try to get some value out of him if he won’t be on the field Week 1. This will be a situation to monitor as we get closer to roster cuts. I thought they would put the veteran out there all summer, but it appears this rookie is set to start opening week.
Josh Allen was taking all the right steps in the direction to be the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback, but, not to his own fault, the team may not be ready for him to be. The current state of the Bills offensive line is very concerning. Allen kept getting instant pressure, which lead to sacks and him leaving the game with a concussion (He was cleared). Allen went 6/12 for 36 yards. Buffalo faces the Ravens, Chargers, and Vikings in their first three games, they may want to throw either AJ McCarron or Nathan Peterman out there if they aren’t comfortable putting their future franchise quarterback out there behind that line. Because of this, I am now leaning towards seeing McCarron or Peterman over Allen as their opening day starter. BUT, I wouldn’t be surprised if Allen gets the start, so they could use his mobility to make up for their deficiencies on the line.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Josh Rosen this week due to a thumb injury he suffered in practice. He wanted to play, but coach Steve Wilks wouldn’t let him enter the game. The Arizona Cardinals are set to enter the season with Sam Bradford as their starter. We will see if he can stay healthy, if he can’t, then that will more then likely be the next time we see Rosen on the field.
After having an up and down preseason, Lamar Jackson put together his best NFL performance. He got a chance to show off his arm and his legs as he had the best outing between the five 1st round quarterbacks. Jackson went 7/10 for 98 yards and a touchdown. He also picked up 39 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Joe Flacco is the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback and had a good preseason to help solidify that. We may only see Jackson again in certain packages, barring an injury or big drop in play by Flacco, Jackson will be their backup for the time being.
Royce Freeman scored for his third straight game in a row. The rookie back had 5 carries for 26 yards to go with his touchdown. He keeps on looking like the lead guy in the Denver Broncos backfield.
J’Mon Moore was able to put together a good performance after a shaky start to his preseason. The Green Bay Packers receiver had 4 catches for 62 yards.
Oakland Raiders UDFA Chris Warren III continued his case for the 53-man roster with his 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Chicago Bears 7th round pick, Javon Wims, did some great things on tape to try to push his way onto the 53-man roster. The rookie receiver had 4 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams may have found a suitable backup running back for Todd Gurley. John Kelly had 15 carries for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The New Orleans Saints are looking for someone outside Michael Thomas to be a threat in their passing attack. The third-round pick, Tre’Quan Smith could potentially be that guy. The receiver had 4 catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Chargers first-round pick, Derwin James, picked off Drew Brees in his first NFL action.
Notable Veteran Performances
Adrian Peterson made his debut with the Washington Redskins. He had 11 carries for 56 yards while flashing some of the old AP we use to see.
Patrick Mahomes put together another nice performance as he went 18/24 for 196 yards and a touchdown. He and Tyreek Hill have chemistry, the Chiefs duo connected 8 times for 88 yards.
Andrew Luck looked like he shook off the rust from last week's performance. The Colts quarterback went 8/10 for 90 yards and a touchdown. He even picked up 27 yards on the ground scrambling. He did connect with Eric Ebron 5 times for 54 yards which resulted in his touchdown.
The Dolphins had to like what they saw from Ryan Tannehill since his return. In his latest game, he went 11/16 for 115 yards and a touchdown.
The Jaguars will be leaning on their stud back, Leonard Fournette. He showed that he will be up for the task again as he had 10 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Andy Dalton gave Bengals fans hope as he looked good in his outing. He went 11/16 for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. He connected with A.J. Green 4 times for 50 yards and a touchdown. 2017 first-round pick, John Ross, finally showed his potential on a 57-yard bomb touchdown. He finished with 2 catches for 66 yards and that score.