Views: 168, Date:13/Aug/2016


NFL Preseason Week 1: Takeaways from Friday's Action


Football is finally here.

Well, sort of.

It's the first week of the preseason, which means a few things. The starters who do play will be on the field for a brief time. Many of the men who play significant snaps are rookies donning an NFL uniform for the first time, so jitters and mistakes are common.

It might not be good football, but it's football nonetheless.

And most importantly, fans across America will pack stadiums and gather around the TV anyway.

Preseason football might not be the truest barometer of regular-season success. But whether it's injured stars making their return, big-name rookies making their NFL debut or a former No. 2 overall pick trying to start over, there's plenty going on—even in games that don't count.

And here are the biggest happenings from Friday night.

Friday's first game featured the Detroit Lions against what's left of the Pittsburgh Steelers—if none of their offensive stars bother to take the field. But just because the Steelers chose to hold back doesn't mean the Lions didn't want to prove a few things.

Offensively, the first performance by the team's passing game sans Calvin Johnson was a mixed bag. They had some success moving the ball, only to turn it over when quarterback Matthew Stafford was strip-sacked by the ageless James Harrison.

Defensively, however, it was a young pass-rusher for Detroit who stood out in the early going.

After posting seven sacks in part-time duty last year, third-year defensive end Devin Taylor will start opposite Ezekiel Ansah in 2016. Taylor recently told Tim Twentyman of the team's website that he had a goal in mind when he took the field for the first time this season.

“For me, just to really perfect when I get into game scenario situations to be successful,” Taylor said.

Well, he didn't waste any time. Taylor had two tackles in the first quarter, including a sack of Landry Jones on the first play of Pittsburgh's second series.

If the Pittsburgh Steelers had a glaring weakness last year, it was a pass defense that ranked 30th in the NFL.

The Steelers spent two of their first three picks in the 2016 draft on the secondary. One of the team's biggest priorities in camp and the preseason is sorting out both who will start at cornerback opposite veteran William Gay and who will be the team's nickelback.

Earlier this week, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote the Steelers were looking at ways to get second-year pro Doran Grant on the field:

You have heard me say a number of times that I liked Doran Grant as a boundary corner who is more fitted to zone coverage. I have been told the Steelers will take a look at him at safety very soon here in camp. Either way, I'm not saying he will be a starter but I think he has a chance to be a solid backup.

Grant made the most of his playing time Friday against the Lions. In addition to the seven tackles he tallied (which led the team), he also snagged a Dan Orlovsky duck from the air and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown in a 30-17 loss.

Friday's matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals featured two playoff teams from last year and two of the NFL's better defenses.

The Bengals looked to be in midseason form, at least up front.

On the Vikings' first offensive series, Teddy Bridgewater took a pair of shots. First he was sacked by defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who reached the quarterback 11 times last year. Then as he released the ball, Bridgewater was whacked by Carlos Dunlap (13.5 sacks in 2015).

It was also no doubt a welcome sign for the Bengals that Atkins split his sack with veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who will be counted on to anchor the LB corps while Vontaze Burfict serves a three-game suspension to start the year.

One of the biggest questions facing the Vikings in 2016 is an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked 29th in the NFL in pass protection last year.

Bridgewater pulling dirt out of his earhole isn't the answer the Vikings were looking for.

Friday's matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals featured two playoff teams from last year and two of the NFL's better defenses.

The Bengals looked to be in midseason form, at least up front.

On the Vikings' first offensive series, Teddy Bridgewater took a pair of shots. First he was sacked by defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who reached the quarterback 11 times last year. Then as he released the ball, Bridgewater was whacked by Carlos Dunlap (13.5 sacks in 2015).

It was also no doubt a welcome sign for the Bengals that Atkins split his sack with veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who will be counted on to anchor the LB corps while Vontaze Burfict serves a three-game suspension to start the year.

One of the biggest questions facing the Vikings in 2016 is an offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked 29th in the NFL in pass protection last year.

Bridgewater pulling dirt out of his earhole isn't the answer the Vikings were looking for.

Source:CNN.com






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