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Colts Anthony Richardson

NFL Preseason Week 1: 5 Important Takeaways

  • Justin Melo
  • August 14, 2023
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Week 1 of the NFL preseason is officially in the books. We witnessed several rookie playmakers and ascending talents make their 2023 debuts and plenty of information was gleaned. Here are five lessons we learned from Week 1 of the 2023 NFL preseason.


Three quarterbacks were taken within the first four selections of the 2023 NFL Draft and all of them played in their first games over the weekend. 

Carolina Panthers rookie signal caller Bryce Young completed four-of-six passing attempts for a measly 21 yards. Young also took several big hits as Carolina’s first-team offensive line struggled to cope with a talented New York Jets defensive line.

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud stared down a read and threw an ugly interception. Indianapolis’ Anthony Richardson threw an even worse interception on an ill-advised, off-balance throw. The preseason was a reminder that these rookie quarterbacks are attempting to acclimate to their new surroundings. The speed of the game will eventually slow down for these collective signal-callers, but that time hasn’t arrived yet.


Rookie quarterbacks need time… unless they’re Cleveland’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Browns’ fifth-round pick was arguably the best player during Week 1 of the preseason.

In the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, Thompson-Robinson completed 8-of-11 passing attempts for 82 yards and a touchdown. A dual-threat playmaker, Thompson-Robinson also added 36 rushing yards to his offensive totals. Thompson-Robinson carried that momentum over to Week 1. The former UCLA standout completed 9-of-10 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in Friday’s loss to the Washington Commanders. 

Thompson-Robinson has looked poised, accurate, decisive, and most importantly, confident. The Browns may have a steal on their hands.


That collective sigh you hear is the sound of all 32 NFL fan bases worrying about their offensive line depth heading into the 2023 regular season. Poor offensive line play was on display all throughout Week 1 of the preseason. The exhibition often serves as a merciless reminder that offensive line depth is a league-wide issue.

There simply aren’t enough good offensive linemen for each franchise to roster seven-plus of them. It’s a root problem that NFL general managers would love to solve. College football simply can’t produce enough pro-ready offensive linemen to combat the league’s talented pass rushers. Every team in the NFL is constantly searching for O-line help.


The salary cap forced the Philadelphia Eagles to experience some overturn on both sides of the ball. General manager Howie Roseman appropriately reloaded his conference-title-winning squad via the 2023 NFL draft, trades, and free agency. Many of those acquisitions were on display in Saturday’s 20-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

First-round selection Jalen Carter recorded an impressive quarterback pressure on his first snap. Carter was once in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick but slid to No. 9 due to off-field questions. Undrafted free-agent cornerback Eli Ricks out of Alabama recorded a pick-six. Ricks also had a pass breakup and allowed just one reception via 12 coverage snaps, per Pro Football Focus. 

Both rookies appear primed to contribute. Roseman knows how to find talent.


Following the conclusion of Week 1, the rushing yards leader is Green Bay Packers rookie undrafted free agent Emmanuel Wilson. Wilson, who rushed for 111 yards, played his college football at little-known Fort Valley State University. The second-place leading rusher? Los Angeles Chargers undrafted running back Elijah Dotson, out of Northern Colorado.

The preseason provides an opportunity to unknown talents a la Wilson and Dotson. Both UDFA rushers improved their chances to make a 53-man roster over the weekend thanks to eye-popping performances. That’s what NFL preseason football is all about.

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Justin Melo