NFL preseason Week 1 takeaways


Last week’s Hall of Fame game was a taste, but this week marks the full return of football, albeit of the preseason variety. Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns started hot, as did both young quarterbacks playing for the New York Giants and New York Jets.

All that and more in the biggest takeaways and fantasy football nuggets of the preseason’s opening week from NFL Nation:

The Colts don’t have a timetable on when Andrew Luck (calf) will return to practice, but they’re working under the impression that the quarterback will be ready for the start of the regular season. Until that happens, though, Jacoby Brissett will remain the starting QB. The offense had no success with Brissett on the field for the first three series on Thursday. The Colts totaled just 22 yards with just one first down while Brissett was in the game. He continues to have his passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage and finished 2-of-5 for 21 yards. The Colts are expected to give their next update on Luck’s health once the team returns to practice Saturday. — Mike Wells

The Bills’ top-two picks in this past draft acquitted themselves well. Ed Oliver held his own against All-Pro guard the Colts’ Quenton Nelson, while Cody Ford was used at both right guard and right tackle throughout Buffalo’s first few series. Josh Allen (6-for-11, 66 yards) showed the restraint the Bills need him to develop, but still took four shots downfield — completing one. Buffalo’s defensive depth looked strong, albeit against a heavily-depleted Colts offense, and Devin Singletary (27 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards) may be a PPR star in the making. The Bills’ offensive line, while improved on paper, still needs to gel as it battles through injuries. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

It was only one series, but QB Sam Darnold displayed the traits that make you believe he can be a franchise quarterback. He moved well in the pocket, buying time and finding his second and third reads — which he did so well at the end of his rookie season. Darnold (4-for-5, 68 yards, one TD) almost threw an interception on his first pass, but he rebounded nicely. This was an encouraging start for Adam Gase’s offense, which didn’t have its two most accomplished players — running back Le’Veon Bell and center Ryan Kalil. — Rich Cimini

Daniel Jones looks like the real deal. OK, it was only the first preseason game. It was only one drive that he was on the field. It doesn’t matter. What he did — 5-for-5 passing for 67 yards and a touchdown — in his only drive was impressive. Jones made some throws into tight windows and didn’t flinch under the spotlight in his first foray into a live NFL game environment. — Jordan Raanan

The Redskins’ quarterback competition remained in neutral. Colt McCoy didn’t play, but he also didn’t lose any ground. Dwayne Haskins showed what he has in camp, that he’s not ready to be a Week 1 starter — which the team already knew. Case Keenum, playing with mostly backups — three-fifths of the starting line sat — did not distinguish himself. He completed 4 of 9 passes, with 46 of his 60 yards on one touchdown completion. Keenum didn’t always have much time because of the offensive line, so it’s hard to accurately judge but he also didn’t separate himself from the pack. Keenum still is learning the offense; he’ll need a stronger showing in subsequent weeks to earn the job. — John Keim

Baker Mayfield played only one series, but what a series it was for the second-year quarterback. Utilizing a hurry-up, no-huddle tempo, Mayfield took the Browns 89 yards down the field in in only 2 minutes, 13 seconds, completing 5 of 6 passes and capping the breakneck drive with a 21-yard touchdown strike to Rashard Higgins. Mayfield did it without Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, too, as both star receivers sat out. Mayfield looked rather comfortable operating out of tempo, which he played in almost exclusively at Oklahoma. In Beckham, Landry and Higgins, Mayfield has the weapons. A consistently aggressive, hurry-up component could make he and the Cleveland attack all the more, well, dangerous. — Jake Trotter

First-round pick N’Keal Harry, who surprisingly played after appearing to tweak something in his right leg on Tuesday, made two excellent catches before limping off and getting looked at by the athletic training and medical staff. Harry didn’t return. Both catches reflected how his size (6-3, 225) and physicality could help the Patriots this season, as fellow wide receiver Maurice Harris has compared Harry’s body type to former NFL great Anquan Boldin. But Harry’s injury status bears watching. It is commendable that he wanted to play through injury in the preseason opener, although now the decision could sideline him if the injury lingers. — Mike Reiss

The good news for the Lions is it can’t get much worse. It’s preseason. Most starters didn’t play. But make no mistake about it, the Patriots’ 31-3 annihilation of the Lions raised serious concerns about the depth of the roster and might be rough enough that general manager Bob Quinn should at least look at the waiver wire. Backup tackles Tyrell Crosby and Andrew Donnal struggled all night long against whoever the Patriots lined up against them. Combined the offensive line allowed nine sacks — a number higher than the seven passes Detroit quarterbacks completed. The secondary was routinely beaten on routes by New England’s receivers. And the backup quarterback situation could be worrisome. — Michael Rothstein

Wide receiver Russell Gage continues to show up. He’s making tough catches down the field and running sharp routes, as he showed in Miami. He’s displayed great hands, even making grabs out of bounds. Why is this important? Well, Gage is playing the same role star Julio Jones would be playing, but Jones is rehabbing a foot injury and awaiting a new contract. Jones won’t play in the preseason. And if the contract doesn’t get resolved by Sept. 8, there’s a chance Jones won’t be on the field against the Minnesota Vikings in the opener. Gage has to be ready to contribute. Even if Jones is back on the field for the regular season, as the Falcons expect, having another capable target such as Gage would be a nice asset. — Vaughn McClure

Josh Rosen is showing continued progress in his bid to hunt down Ryan Fitzpatrick and win the Dolphins starting quarterback job. We saw (mostly) good Rosen on Thursday as he overcame poor protection to lead a few strong drives down the field. He finished 13-of-20 for 191 yards and a bad interception. But he gets a thumbs up for making enough flashes out of his six drives in the second and third quarter. Fitzpatrick got the start and looked OK in limited action (two drives, 2-of-5, 20 yards). Rosen’s day adds even more intrigue to a tightening Dolphins QB battle. — Cameron Wolfe

Source : ESPN