Friday Night NFL Preseason Recap: What We Learned
The first week of the 2014 NFL preseason carried Friday night, as six more games hit the television sets and brought us all one step closer to the first week of the regular season. A lot went down that was worth noting in last night’s games, but we’re here to recap just the good stuff.
Here are a few notes from Friday’s preseason matchups that you may want to put in your back pocket for when the real games kickoff in September:
Nick Foles Was Off His Game
Nick Foles wasn’t completely terrible last night, but he also wasn’t amazing. After throwing just two interceptions all last year, he tossed two against the Bears on just nine passing attempts. While that doesn’t mean Foles is going to have a bad year, it could mean he’ll see a natural uptick in picks.
Rookie Quarterbacks Were Unveiled
Three highly touted rookie quarterbacks made their debuts on Friday night, but only one was really impressive. Blake Bortles, the guy the Jaguars say they refuse to start in his first season, looked quite impressive, completing 7 of 11 passes for 117 yards. He moved the ball, looked comfortable and was efficient.
Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr, of the Vikings and Raiders, respectively, couldn’t really say the same. Neither came off as atrocious, but both made their fair share of mistakes. Carr completed over 60% of his passes on the night, but also threw a pick and took a sack. Bridgewater didn’t turn the ball over, but completed just 46% of his passes and took two sacks. It looks like both have a ways to go before they solidify themselves as starters.
Michael Sam Showed Some Promise
The league’s first openly gay player didn’t register a sack, but did get a tackle and a quarterback hit. He showed a little potential while on the field, finally realizing he “can play” in the league. He’ll need to make a bigger impact going forward, but it wasn’t a bad start.
Mark Ingram Lives!
The would-be draft bust is entering a contract year in which he needs to show he can stay healthy and carry an offense in order to pick up a deal elsewhere. So far, so good. Ingram ran with the second team, but accumulated over 80 rushing yards on just eight carries. He also added a touchdown to give himself a boost. If he can play this well throughout the rest of the preseason, he might nail down a role in the offense for the regular season.
Devonta Freeman and Other Rookies
Freeman impressed in the backfield for the Falcons, as he put up 107 all purpose yards on just 11 touches. Freeman ran the ball for 50 yards on 10 totes, and took his lone reception for an impressive 57-yard gain. With Steven Jackson banged up, Freeman proved he could be a force as a rookie if called upon.
Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin were two other impressive rookies, as the first year Saint and Panther both scored a touchdown in their pro debuts. Cooks and Benjamin both made immediate impacts and could wiggle their way into starting roles before the month is up.
On the down side, Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews was pegged for a potential key role and failed to come up big in his pro debut. Matthews was targeted a whopping seven times, but caught just four passes for 14 yards. His three drops were a bit troubling, too, but he has too much upside to get too discouraged this early in the process.
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