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At dynasty blitz, I am watching each preseason game and let my readers known what I’m seeing.  The NFL landscape is very fluid, so please consider that this is only the first week.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or newclowney team additions.  Here are some quick observations after watching the first half of each game:

Texans/Cards

There wasn’t much to write about the Texans as their dismal efforts stunk up the joint in their first preseason action.  It wasn’t all their fault with Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Andre Johnson  not playing.  Houston’s number one draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney, did put on quite a show though.  The converted outside linebacker looked lost in pass coverage and got beat for a touchdown in the first quarter (penalty nullified the play).  Clowney raced off the line of scrimmage to get immediate pressure on the signal caller and blew up a gut shot run play with a five yard loss. 

On the other hand, Arizona was ready for anything.  Rookie receiver John Brown exploded off the line getting good separation, ran precise routes, and caught the ball between defenders.  A few passes did not connect between the rookie wide out and Drew Stanton.  It seemed to be timing issues along with ball placement on the second string quarterback than Brown.  Every Cardinal tight end got a chance to play with Rob Housler making the most out of his one target for a big gain.  John Carlson had the touchdown called back after schooling Clowney, while rookie Troy Niklas’ biggest play was a holding penalty.  Look out honey badger, rookie safety Deone Bucannon is here.  The defensive playmaker flows well to the ball in a hurry and is always ready to deliver a big hit!

Packers/Titans

Let’s just call this the downpour game.  James Starks was a mudder out there, making cuts with his quick feet and running hard looking for people to hit. It takes time for some rookies to adjust to the NFL game.  Davante Adams had one of those nights when he muffed a punt that led to a Titan’s touchdown.  The rookie came back with a few decent catches, but also seemed to run the wrong route a time or two.  None of the Packers tight ends made an impression, which makes their situation even cloudier than the skies they faced.

Tennessee’s passing game with Jake Locker and Justin Hunter seemed to be in a better place than it was last season.  Free agent addition Dexter McCluster showed off his quick feet, squirted past a few defenders in tight quarters, while looking like a good change of pace back.  As far as rookie Bishop Sankey played, he is great in space catching the ball.  Unlike the other runners in the game, Sankey got hindered by the field conditions.

Browns/Lions

In Northeast Ohio, where I spent most of my formative years, the quarterback play underwhelmed for both the vet and the rookie.  Brian Hoyer threw high, had issues adjusting to the blitz, and/or dealt with receiver drops.  Future Hall of Famer (extremely tongue in cheek) Johnny Manziel spent most of his time in the pistol and soon learned the speed of the NFL is faster than the college game. It looks like he has a first read to target and when that isn’t available he runs.  The battle between Ben Tate and Terrance West looks interesting too.  Tate ran hard, used the running lanes lane, but put the ball on the carpet.  West has a wiggle to his game, has quick feet, and was explosive in space.  It looks like Tate will hold on to his starting spot about the same time that Hoyer will.  From the limited snaps I saw wide out Charles Johnson take; he impressed with quickness/explosion and had some chemistry with Manziel.

The Lions side of the ball was less media excitable. Second year runner Theo Riddick saw time with the ones and twos. He catches the ball well and looked smooth with the rock.  After a hard shot, Riddick left the game and it was all Mikel LeShoure, who is trying to find a new landing spot.  First round rookie tight end Eric Ebron lined up in the backfield, in the slot, split out wide, and as an inline tight end.  He had a huge two yard reception near the end of the first half.  Something tells me that anyone who has Ebron shares will need to be very patient with him this season.

Giants/Steelers

The Giants exploited the Steelers decision to leave only one inside linebacker in a defensive formation.  That play call made Rashad Jennings look like a superstar with his 73 yard touchdown scamper.  Too bad, the former Raider/Jag looked rather average for the rest of his carriers. Not to be outdone, rookie back, Andre Williams, continued his hard-nosed inside running and showed off his quick feet too.  Jean Pierre-Paul appears to be rounding back into form with his speed/burst off the line, and applied constant pressure.

Offensive line woes early last season doomed the Steelers running game.  This season the line looks better and Le’Veon Bell ran smooth, gliding between defenders.  The diminutive offensive weapon Dri Archer got shot out of a cannon on a bubble screen that led to Pittsburgh’s only first half points.  The explosive athlete looked good on a few draw plays, but keep in mind he needs space created/schemed for him to be effective.  Second year receiver Markus Wheaton got behind his coverage for a nice bucket catch near the sideline.  Don’t worry about him playing more than other starters, because he needs all the reps he can get with his limited playing time last season.

 

 

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