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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 NFL dunbarchanging 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:

Cowboys vs Ravens

The battle for Jason Witten’s backup job seems to be over.  James Hanna dropped his first target (a wide-open screen pass) that was on the other side of the field for the action , where the tight end had 40 yards of cushion.  After that play, Hanna saw the gridiron sporadically.   Gavin Escobar, however, showed good sideline awareness, and caught contested passes with a defender draped over him.  We finally got to see a glimpse of Lance Dunbar.  The third year former North Texas back demonstrated suddenness with good vision.  He catches the ball well in stride, but didn’t have enough space to maneuver around to be very effective.  His supposed competition, Joseph Randle, also looked good in space; but unlike Dunbar, Randle made too many errors.  The second year Oklahoma State runner bobbled a kickoff and looked like a kindergartener in pass protection.  Romo gets hit enough, he doesn’t need someone falling down to give the defense a better shot at smashing the signal caller.

Third year pro Bernard Pierce started the game and did a great job running the rock.  He has quick feet, good power, falls forward, and uses the stiff-arm/spin move combination well.  Rice played mostly in a third down role, but left with a shoulder injury.  Torrey Smith saw limited action and made the most of it when the receiver got behind his corner at the edge of the end zone.  He set his feet, used got concentration coming down with a beautiful bucket catch.

Giants vs Colts

Despite their win against Pittsburgh last week, the Giants offense is a mess.  The New York offensive line is not creating holes on the line of scrimmage and it’s getting worse not better.  Rookie sensation, Andre Williams, shows explosion and power up the middle.  The problem is that he whiffs in pass protection and when he runs a route, no one pays attention to him; because he has stone hands.  This tips off defenses and Coughlin can’t have that happen.

Some of the Colts look ready to smash the rest of the AFC South, but Trent Richardson isn’t one of them.  The back has happy feet, gets washed out when running east and west, but is decent running straight ahead.  I doubt the Colts plan on calling every running play in the zero or either two gaps.  Free agent acquisition Hakeem Nicks had a good game, until he waved his hand towards the cornerback chasing him down.  The receiver appears to have gotten some of his burst back, when he caught the ball in stride, and made the first guy miss.  Don’t get too excited about Nicks considering neither Wayne nor Hilton played.  D’Qwell Jackson looked spry for an older guy at linebacker.  He crashed in for a sack and moved quickly up and around the field causing havoc.  Third year tight end Dwayne Allen should have been on the stats sheet as he and Luck barely missed on two connections just out of reach.  Get excited about having him on your team.

Cardinals vs Vikings

The story of this game was the way Kyle Rudolph is acclimatizing to this Norv Turner offense.  He looks quicker and leaner.  The tight end is quick in and out of his breaks while stretching the field.  Rudolph just missed on scoring a short yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.  Thankfully later in the half, he  made it up with a 51 yard catch and run for a score.  Second year receiver Cordarrelle Patterson beat all pro Patrick Peterson deep, but the ball was just out of his reach on what would have been an amazing catch.  It took a little more time for Teddy Bridgewater to get into the  game (saw action in the second half only), but he continued with quick decisions and release with his feet set.  This makes him a scary and accurate quarterback.  Rookie runner Jerick McKinnon spent his time returning kickoffs, blocking downfield to spring Rudolph’s touchdown, and being flexed outside.  If anything happens to Peterson, look for McKinnon to replace 80% of his production.

The Cardinals moved the ball well in the passing game.  Rookie receiver John Brown spent most of his time with the ones, who is not to be confused with the efforts of fellow wide out  Jaron Brown.  Jaron B.  had two great long catch and runs that were originally reported as John Brown’s on Twitterverse.  Hopefully, everyone learns the difference quickly.   Second year runner, Andre Ellington, looks great in space, catching the pigskin in the flat and running outside.  He got the first goal line carry, but couldn’t cross the stripe so former Steeler Jonathan Dwyer did it for him.  Whomever gets the goal line job, might have some fantasy relevance.

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