Saturday Night NFL Preseason Preview: 5 Things to Watch For
Finally, we get to see some Johnny Football on the NFL stage. Johnny Manziel has stated that he plays better in games than he does in practice, so all eyes will be on him tonight when he hits the field in an effort to close the gap between him and Browns starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer.
That’s easily the top storyline and thing to watch for when the four NFL games get going on Saturday night, but there’s a lot more to tune in for that that. Here are five more things other than just Johnny Football that you’ll want to check out in tonight’s NFL preseason contests:
Jake Locker’s Development
Locker has been slow to develop over the past several years, as injuries and inconsistency now leave him in a contract year fighting for his NFL life. He still has the size, arm and athleticism to get the job done, but proving that’s the case will need to come in the preseason. Saturday night gives him a chance to do just that.
Steelers Rookies Dri Archer and Ryan Shazier
Archer doesn’t even have a defined position or role just yet. All we know is that he’s explosive as heck and the Steelers love him. Pittsburgh beat writers have pointed out that he’s just “too fast” and it’s going to be awfully hard for the Steelers to keep such a dynamic offensive piece off the field. How he does in preseason will shine the light more on just how he might be used.
Shazier is the same deal, as he’s a sideline to sideline defender who will slide into a linebacker spot in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme. He can play inside or out, so it will be interesting to see how the Steelers use him and in what capacity. He has the speed and hitting to be an absolute terror in this defense.
Arizona Rookie WR John Brown
Compared to Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton by some, Brown is a tiny, shifty and explosive rookie receiver who carries a considerable amount of upside into his first season. No one has really gotten to see him in serious action yet, however, so how he’s used and how he fares tonight should be watched closely.
How the Packers Use Julius Peppers
Green Bay has confirmed that the 34-year old Peppers will play “at a number of different spots”, but we really don’t know what that means yet. He’ll likely be used as an outside linebacker to rush the quarterback, but it will be interesting to see if he ever lines up as a 3-4 defensive end or how much Green Bay allows him to drop into coverage. If the Peppers signing works, it could play a huge hand in shifting the Pack’s defense from bad to decent.
Packers WR Jeff Janis
Janis is a diamond in the rough potentially, as he’s a very skilled and well built receiver out of Saginaw Valley State. No one really knows anything about him, other than that he’s tall and fast. That could be a perfect fit in Green Bay’s offense, but Janis badly needs to shine in the preseason to secure a spot on the active roster. Showing up big against the Titans would be a good idea.
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