In the opening week of the preseason, both rookies and veterans played well and should leave fans encouraged. On the rookie side, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns led the way with 212 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. He also added 13 yard rushing on 3 attempts. In New York, 3rd overall pick Sam Darnold performed well in his preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Darnold threw for 96 yards and a touchdown. While Josh Rosen, the first round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, didn’t have the same success as the other two, he didn’t seem like the game was too big for him. He completed 6 of his 13 passes for 41 yards, although most of the time was spent with the second string players. All three will likely not start the season as their team’s number one, but it would not be surprising to see any of them finish the season in that role.
On the veteran side, you have to start with a successful first game by Andrew Luck. Luck finished the brief appearance going 6 for 9 with 64 yards. The most important thing for Luck, though, was the fact that he was on the field and feeling healthy. After close to two years out with an injury, Luck looked surprisingly comfortable on the field. Another veteran that eyes will be on all year is Kirk Cousins. After the Vikings lost in the NFC championship, they went out and acquired Cousins this offseason (despite a phenomenal season by Case Keenum). Signed to a three-year, $84 million deal, Cousins showed promise in his first start as he went 4 for 4 for 42 yards and a touchdown to Stefon Diggs, who he hooked up with a couple times in the game. Lastly, Teddy Bridgewater made his first appearance since the 2016 preseason, where he suffered a knee injury that has knocked him out for the last two seasons. Bridgewater went 7 for 8 with 85 yards passing and a touchdown. Like Andrew Luck, part of the news is his success on the field but the larger story is the fact that they were able to play again.
Aaron Donald and Rams May Be Nearing Deal
Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year is still not in camp for the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams’ front office believe that they are in the neighborhood of getting a deal done. While they are not overly worried about him missing the first part of training camp, they would obviously love to get a deal done sooner than later. It will be interesting to see what number is settled on, though, as Donald may be looking to surpass the deal that Von Miller signed a couple years ago (6 year, $114.6 million deal with $70 million guaranteed). Having recently signed Todd Gurley to a massive extension, it will be interesting to see how much money the Rams want to commit to just two players.
Tom Brady Gets Incentives Added To Contract
The New England Patriots did right by their star quarterback, Tom Brady, by adding a performance-based incentive that could be worth an extra $5 million on his current contract. He is currently making $15 million and is signed through the 2019 season. At $15 million, Tom Brady is an absolute steal. Even at age 40 last season, he threw a league-leading 4,577 yards and had 32 touchdowns. The Patriots hope that he can continue to defy father time and finish his last two season of his current contract strong.
Redskins’ Wide Receiver Out For Season With Broken Leg
Robert Davis will miss the 2018 season for the Redskins. According to Ian Rapoport, Davis broke his leg and tore his LCL during the preseason opener. Davis was a 2017 sixth-round pick that was competing for a spot on the 53-man roster. While it will hurt the depth of the Redskins, they will likely go with Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson as their top trio of receivers. This is the second of season-ending injuries for the Redskins from the preseason opener as Derrius Guice, the team’s second-round pick this year, tore his ACL and will also be out for the season.
Bears Sign Knile Davis
The Chicago Bears have signed running back Knile Davis. The former Kansas City Chief, who played under Bears’ coach matt Nagy, was a 2013 third-round pick. While he likely wouldn’t get much playing as running back, with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen in the mix, he could be a valuable depth piece as well as a possible return man on special teams.
One thing that the first week of the preseason has shown us is that the controversy over players protesting the national anthem is not going anywhere. After the Miami Dolphins game on Thursday, where Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during the anthem, a couple of the police unions urged its members to boycott the team. During the Oakland Raiders’ preseason game, running back Marshawn Lynch also sat for the national anthem. Sadly, this is a story that will likely continue throughout the season, particularly as the NFL and players union discuss possible consequences and also as President Trump continues to make the NFL and protestors targets in his Twitter posts.