|The NFL is Unlocked. The Preseason Still Stinks|
Ten Observations from the First Five Games
1. The folks over at the NFL Network are always on their game. I had a blast watching the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last weekend, and it was an awesome treat to have the NFL Network jump from game to game tonight on a preseason version of the RedZone Channel. The NFL Network will show six live preseason games and the other 58 on tape delay. If you are really into preseason games then keep your television tuned to the NFL Network. It would really suck to be a Time-Warner subscriber.
2. Twitter is good for a lot of things. One of the things that makes twitter great is when you can enjoy sporting events with the people on your timeline. Tonight, former head of NFL Officials, Mike Pereria (who just joined twitter yesterday) spent the whole first half of the Seahawks vs. Chargers game answering questions posed by his followers. It really felt like we all had the chance to watch the game with Mike. Even though he is new to twitter, he did a great job picking out questions to answer and offering knowledge. I am already working on getting Mike on the podcast and he was kind enough to return my initial message to try and work something out.
3. I had fooled myself into thinking that one positive to come out of the lockout would be that the preseason would be more interesting. It isn't. The preseason games tonight felt, smelled, and looked a lot like the preseason games of years past. Tom Brady took the night off in New England. The Chargers were very carful with Philip Rivers and a second round QB from Northwestern named Mike Kafka was the leader of the Dream Team for most of the night in Philadelphia. Mike Vick didn't need much work. He played one drive and was 4-6 for 74-yards and a touchdown pass.
4. Ryan Mallet might be the talk of the weekend after putting together an impressive professional debut as the Patriots drilled the Jaguars. Mallet was 12-19 with 164-yards and 1 touchdown. I can't wait for a few weeks when his TQB rating from tonights action is released.
5. Offenses around the league might not be very crisp just yet. There were a ton of field goals kicked tonight. In the 2006 preseason, Drew Brees struggled during the preseason and failed to lead the Saints offense to a single touchdown. Finally, in the first game of the regular season Drew Brees hooked up with then rookie Marques Colston to get the monkey off of the offense's back. I guess my point is that it might not be unusual at all to see offenses settling for field goals this early in the preseason. The announcers of the Eagles and Ravens game did a good job pointing out that the offenses have yet to do much work in goal line situations.
6. It should't mean much, but I can already hear Tim Tebow honks huffing and puffing about his 6/7 91 yards passing and 2 rushes for 15-yards. I am sure Tebow supporters will also mention that Kyle Orton was only 2/6 for 37-yards. All of this obviously means very little, but I am sure Tebow supporters will jump on the opportunity to mention his almost perfect 6/7 performance. The Broncos fans should be most excited that Matt Prater went 3/3 with a long 42-yard field goal.
7. The Eagles are 1-0 and are one step closer to a 4-0 pre-season, a 16-0 regular season, and a 3-0 march through the playoffs to a Super Bowl victory. The Dream Team can not be stopped. Next week they will face an overmatched Lithuania squad.
8. 47-12 can only be described one way...ass kicking. The Patriots pounded the Jaguars without Tom Brady. In fairness, the Jags were resting Maurice Jones-Drew. Regardless of who is playing, it's never a good thing to lose a game by 35-points, but I wouldn't go run and hide my head if I was one of the 18 Jaguars fans across the world. Stevan Ridley a rookie RB from LSU had 16 carries for 64-yards and 2 touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Ryan Medlin a rookie from Fayetteville State, and a player without a profile on the NFL's website, rushed for 54-yards and 2 touchdowns. Who is bagging all of the groceries in Jacksonville this week? It seems like the team brought them all to New England for the first preseason game of the season.
9. Is Tarvaris Jackson really going to be the starting quarterback in Seattle? Is he really one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the world? Is he really better than Charlie Whitehurst? Why did the Seahawks give up a second and a third round pick for Whitehurst only to burry him behind Hasselbeck and then put him behind Tarvaris Jackson on the depth chart? What did they see in him then that they didn't see in him when they brought Tarvaris Jackson in and immediately named him the starter. The Seahawks treated Jackson like the starter today limiting his action to a drive or two and only letting him drop back for five passes. On the other hand, Whitehurst got a lot more work and went 14-20 for 120-yards leading the Seahawks to a 24-17 victory over the Chargers.
10. To summarize the first night of football after a five month lockout that resulted in the cancelation of one game, I would say these things:
- New England destroyed Jacksonville and could be getting ready to having a huge season.
- The field goal kickers were very busy tonight.
- Despite the lockout, pre-season football is still pretty boring.
- We are 27 days away from the real thing.
- The tuck rule made an appearance tonight.
Don't forget to give a listen to Episode 35 of The Sports-Casters featuring interviews with DJ Gallo from ESPN Page 2, and Jay Clemons and Matt Bowen from the National Football Post. I am already working on Episode 36 witch should include interviews with Dave Dameshek, Todd Fritz, and Don Banks.