Tom Brady and the Patriots Headlined Friday’s NFL Preseason Games
It’s only preseason, but it’s always fun to see NFL stars grace the field. Four more NFL games hit our television screens on Friday night, as the second week of NFL preseason action bleeds into the weekend.
There are some big names to track in these four contests, while Tom Brady probably takes the cake as the biggest name to watch. He makes his preseason debut against the Philadelphia Eagles, while we get another look at some heated position battles and how certain players will unravel in their schemes.
For the best stuff to look forward to for Friday night’s football action, let’s break down the top 5 things to watch for:
1. Tom Brady’s Debut vs. Ryan Mallett’s Showcasing
On one hand you have Tom Terrific making his 2014 debut. On the other, there is Ryan Mallett being showcased for a potential trade out of New England. Brady should play probably the first quarter, if not longer, and it will be nice to see where he and the offense is at. Considering the matchup and this is Tom Brady we’re talking about, nothing short of mid-season form should be expected.
Mallett is another story. He has been repeatedly vouched for as a legit starting NFL quarterback talent, yet last week he fell markedly short from such praise. He needs to be more poised in the pocket and deliver clean throws. It won’t be easy, but it also would be pretty hard to be worse than he was in the first week of preseason play. If he shows well, he could get traded for a mid-round pick. If he stinks it up again, the Pats might just cut him.
2. Jordan Matthews and the Drops
Matthews was less than impressive in week one and struggled with three drops. He can’t possibly be that ineffective for a second week in a row. Thanks to a terrific blend of size and speed, Matthews figures to be a really versatile weapon for Philly. But he needs to show he can consistently win against the opposition. Keep a close eye on how the Eagles use him tonight, and if he can actually bring his hands to the game this time around.
3. Derek Carr’s Development
Carr wasn’t all that bad in the first week of preseason, while starter Matt Schaub was borderline dreadful. Oakland contends that Schaub is their guy for 2014, but if Carr can show better awareness and pocket presence, he could still push Schaub to start early on. He’ll need a heck of a preseason, though, and it could start tonight against the Lions.
4. Can Eric Ebron Impress?
Speaking of Detroit, rookie stud tight end Eric Ebron didn’t get many chances to go off last week, so expect the team to try to get him a little more involved this time around. Ebron has rare physical ability for a tight end, and while he needs to work on blocking and route-running, the Lions could work to get him in space and target him in the red-zone. Look for him to have a better showing in his second pro game.
5. Jake Locker’s Progress
Last, but not least, the Titans will need to play quarterback Jake Locker a good amount tonight to see how far he’s really come in head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s offense. Locker played in the rain and didn’t play long last week, so we can’t rush to judgment just yet. A strong game tonight could bode well for his progress and instill some confidence that Tennessee could push for second place in the AFC South. A poor performance would be heavily disappointing, especially given that it’s against the Raiders.
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