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Here it is, another week of NFL preseason games.  Hopefully your fantasy football players are more involved this week, so we might get a better idea about how each team will look like in the regular season.  It’s critical to keep up with the NFLvaccy changing landscape, because it gives you a jump on the waiver wire and possible trade scenarios.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new team additions.  Here are some quick observations based on around the first three-quarters of each game:

Titans/Saints

The young superstar receiver, Brandin Cooks, who was so active the week before had a quiet game.  He did get behind the defense a few times, but only connected once.  The rookie catches the ball in stride and has great sideline awareness.  Khiry Robinson, the second year back, showed some versatility lining up in the backfield and out wide.  He has quick feet, can get small in the hole, but did not stand out during the game.  Taking advantage of the preseason is exactly what Ryan Griffin is doing. The current third string quarterback is showing more touch and connected deep downfield.  Defensive end Cameron Jordan continues to dominate the line of scrimmage, throwing offensive linemen around, so he can get make the play.  The ball hawk award should go to safety Kenny Vaccaro.  He plays physical, forcing fumbles, and attacking on blitzes going untouched to sack the opposition.

The Titan that came out of his cocoon was second year receiver, Justin Hunter.  He caught passes at the highest point, shows amazing body control in the back of the end zone, or just runs past everyone on a rainbow bomb to pay dirt.  The receiver shields the ball away from the defender and demonstrates a huge catch radius.  Rookie quarterback, Zach Mettenberger, got forced into earlier action when Charlie Whitehurst left the game early.  Mettenberger focused most of his first few series in Hunter’s direction.  The signal caller has a rocket arm, but isn’t very mobile.  He also did not feel backside pressure which caused him to get strip sacked.  It will take time for him to develop into an NFL quarterback.

Lions vs Raiders

The Lions jumped to the early lead due to the athleticism and broken coverage caused by newly acquired receiver Golden Tate.  He set up the defender with a double move and attacked the ball in the air for an easy score.  Rookie tight end Eric Ebron showed more flair this week when he got behind his coverage to make a bucket catch for a long gain.  It will take some time for his role in the offense to sort itself out.

Unlike last week, Oakland second year tight end Mychal Rivera made quick cuts, wiggled his way around defenders, but still tends to catch the ball with his body.  Latavius Murray, who spent all of the last year on injured reserve returned kickoffs and saw some action in the third quarter.  He is a powerful back with quick feet, but is behind MJD and Darren McFadden as the depth chart sits right now.  Second year backer, Sio Moore, started the game playing aggressively, but got replaced earlier than the other linebackers by Miles Burris. IDP owners need to track this as the Oakland linebacker unit should see plenty of action.  The receiver battle is underway with James Jones playing exclusively with the starters in the first half and last week’s starter, Andre Holmes, got related to second half action.  Jones had a good game, making acrobatic catches, and showing solid veteran leadership.  Rookie quarterback Derek Carr seemed more relaxed out there, but has to develop before he will be a solid starter.  He just missed a wide open tight end down the seem, but at least Carr stepped up to avoid the pressure throwing the ball where only his receiver could make a play.  It got reported that Carr suffered a concussion during this game, so that will further hinder his chances for starting in 2014.

Packers vs Rams

For the Packers, it was good to see a little slimmer and a bit faster second year runner Eddie Lacy.  He was a bit more active in the passing game, looking great in space and delivered a few blows on anyone trying to tackle him.  Jarrett Boykin had much of Aaron Rodgers attention during the game.  The third year receiver looks ready to become the permanent third starting receiver.  He ran crisp routes, catches the ball away from his body, and uses the sidelines to create space.

In St. Louis, there is some work to do.  Second year back Zach Stacy could not find a crease most of his carries.  The Rams offensive line wasn’t helping him out either.  Stacy looked more at home on passing plays where he could use some quickness and power in space.  His current backup, Benny Cunningham, demonstrated great leg drive and got low in the hole for extra yardage.  Sam Bradford, who will always suffer when comparing him to fellow quarterback Rodgers, had good touch on short to middle passes.  The signal caller missed deep on a few passes, but did make a nice downfield throw to Brian Quick in the middle of the field.  Unless Bradford steps up his game, this might be his last season in St. Louis.

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