The first round of preseason NFL games is upon us! Here’s a list of meaningful story lines to watch as week one of the preseason gets under way later tonight.
Much has been made of the Patriots’ no-name crew of receivers. Sure, they won’t be catching balls from Tom Brady, but that’s no reason to look past the Patriots’ matchup against the Eagles Friday evening. If nothing else, we’ll at least be able to see if the Patriots’ receivers can catch and run routes.
Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith
In a week we normally wouldn’t see much from starting quarterbacks, there are a couple of guys on the bubble we expect to see a little more out of. Mark Sanchez will be the Jets’ starter for their preseason opener, but his play in exhibition action will go a long way towards determining his fate, and is more than enough reason to tune in. The game is in Detroit, so don’t expect too much Sanchez booing from the fans.
Blaine Gabbert vs. Chad Henne
The other quarterback struggle we want to keep an eye on in week one of the preseason is between Jaguars quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. There’s no doubt that the Jaguars would love to see Gabbert flash some talent, but if he continues to shy from pressure and throw off his back foot, Chad Henne may win the starting job by the first week of the regular season.
Dolphins’ offensive line
In the Hall of Fame game, the Dolphins’ offensive line struggled to keep pass rushers off their quarterback, and as long as that’s an issue, Jake Long’s name will continue to come up. If the Dolphins let a weak Jaguars pass rush in on their quarterbacks on a consistent basis, there may be cause for concern in Miami.
The “other” reason you should be watching the Patriots, Eagles preseason matchup is to catch a glimpse of Chip Kelly’s offense. We’ve heard a lot about his up-tempo style, but don’t expect to see it in full swing. We’re more likely going to see a glimpse of it here and there, but Kelly’s too smart to start giving opponents too much game film on his brain child.