After a long off-season, a full slate of preseason games were finally on tap for us this week. While it’s new film to check out, its important to keep proper perspective on the significance of each game.
There has never been a Super Bowl won in the preseason, and plenty of lessons over the years have suggested that these games aren’t the best indicator of future success. So while there is finally film on players against that particular season’s competition, it’s important to take a step back and realize it’s just one exhibition game.
With that said, new film and is new film and this league is in a constant state of turnover. Positional and roster battles can be decided based on preseason performances, so there is value in seeing who played well and who played poorly.
Here are the preseason week 1 winners and losers:
Fighting for a roster spot on the Patriots is a tough enough task, but doing so at a deep position as an undrafted rookie makes it even harder. However, all reports indicated that Meyers, who should have never fell to undrafted to begin with, has had a strong training camp. His hard work was rewarded with a massive NFL debut, scoring two touchdowns on 6 receptions.
It’s going to be hard to keep Meyers off of the roster if he continues to play at this level, especially because he offers more versatility as an inside-outside threat than a lot of their other personnel.
Speaking of undrafted rookie wide receivers, Preston Williams put together a highlight reel of receptions in one game. Williams made a bunch of plays on the football, showing proper body control to finish in traffic or along the boundary.
Williams fell to undrafted because of character concerns, but teams liked his natural ability. With a weaker wide receiver group in Miami, Williams has an inside track to a roster spot after his debut game.
Mack Wilson inexplicably fell to the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and quickly showed why that fall was a curious one to begin with.
Wilson plays linebacker with a particular violence, but showed impressive ball skills throughout his time at Alabama. Both of those traits came out during his preseason debut, intercepting two passes and pitching in 3 solo tackles. He’ll fit in nicely with the athletic front-7 of the Browns, and should be in line for starter reps as a rookie.
Honorable Mentions: Devin Bush, Logan Woodside, Daniel Jones, Buccaneers Offense
Marcus Mariota entered the game as the Titans starting quarterback, and took limited reps as a result. In those reps, his performance was mostly mediocre. Then, veteran backup Ryan Tannehill came in and played at a higher level.
Tannehill has 88 career starts, and has had a better passer rating than Mariota for three of the past four seasons. While that’s not to say he has the potential that is still within Mariota, it’s possible that the starter’s leash isn’t going to be as long as initially thought. Tannehill is capable, and if Mariota’s struggles bleed into the first month of the season, don’t be surprised if a switch is made.
Reports from Dolphins training camp have been that veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing well, but second-year Josh Rosen has been steadily improving. That seemed to play out during Miami’s first preseason game, as Fitzpatrick was mostly average but Rosen eventually got into a groove.
It was pretty obvious that Rosen’s potential is far higher than Fitzpatrick’s, even if there are growing pains here or there. Rosen’s performance was encouraging to the point where if it continues, he should be in line to be the week 1 starter.
New York Defenses
Watching both the Giants and Jets play defense against each other was, in a word, painful. If it wasn’t for two Davis Webb interceptions, both offenses would have completely and totally dominated the game.
The Jets top three quarterbacks of Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk went a combined 26 for 32 with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Giants quarterbacks combined for 29-37 for 374 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Both passing defenses will need to improve moving forward if either team is going to make noise this season.