What We Learned from an entire pre season.

Hey there, you look groggy. Did you take a nap? Through the entire preseason?! You need to get more sleep man. Well I took some notes about it. Watched every game, it was fun. Well not really it slowly made me want to gouge my eyes out. It was worth it though because next Thursday well get to go see the Chiefs get blown out in Foxboro! Hoorah! Well because you asked so nicely. Here are my notes on the preseason. Enjoy.

With a week of the preseason in the books we look back to major plotlines and what we learned.
Let’s start by remembering that the Preseason is utterly pointless.
The Pre-season night one finishes. Your team just lost to the worst team in the league. Oh god no! You scream in your own head forcing you to a sleepless night. You woke up this morning read the tabloids, Team x doomed for failure. That’s the headline everywhere. You start to break down at your desk crying in despair. How can this team that is obviously connected to me be such a terrible embarrassment? You then start doubting your life decisions crying out for help you call your father. He tells you you’re a pathetic loser and hangs up on you. You begin to frenzy and everything falls into a blur.
STOP! Breathe it is only the preseason. It may feel like the end of the world but when real football gets here in September you will immediately lose all doubt and become hopeful again. If your team goes 0-4 in the pre-season it is not the end of the world. Don’t cry don’t panic and remember that this time of year is worthless. It is just basically Scrimmage after Scrimmage after Scrimmage. Your team is not terrible, you are not terrible, so live your life. Go for a jog, smell the roses, dream your most unreal dreams, and use every day to its fullest potential. Because guess what? If your team wins one game in the regular season in the first two weeks you will feel good about yourself. Save the crying yourself to sleep for when your team starts 0-4.
QBS we learned a lot about
The Preseason is good for one thing. Getting tape on second and third string Quarterbacks. We learned a lot about current passers in the game that we do not get to see on a game to game basis. One of those guys is Chiefs first rounder Patrick Mahomes. Though Mahomes is slated to redshirt his first year in the NFL his preseason performance was more than third string. He threw 7 of 9 passes complete for 49 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes has a big arm and fantastic athleticism he has a promising future in the league. A future that is not so far in the future of this league is that of Desean Watson. Watson played extremely well in his first ever appearance. Watson showed the ability to move in the pocket and make good decisions with the ball. Watson went 15-25 and had 179 yards through the air. Watson did struggle keeping the deep ball on target but that comes with time and practice. Another shining star was Mitch Trubisky. While the many Bears fans who write for this site think Trubisky will be redshirted his first year I firmly believe he will start at least 6 games this year. Trubisky played like a spread option QB but Jon Fox and company made him look like an NFL starter. This offense is going to feature a lot of shotgun and boot legs.
And those who remain mystery’s
In his first game under new NFL coach Sean Mcvay Jared Goff looked, well he didn’t really look like anything. We didn’t see enough of Goff to make an accurate assessment. Blake Bortles threw too little to see any fix in botch mechanics in New England and speaking of throwing motions Carson Wentz still looks like a mess.
Young talent and lots of it
Where to begin? I guess the backfields, the NFL has found its next star backs. Christian McCaffery, Joe Mixon and Leonard Fournette dominated in there NFL preseason debuts. We could have the next gen of, all-star fantasy backs developing right before our eyes. The other spot of young talent on the defense. Taco Charlton and TJ Watt dominated. Charlton is something to build the defense in Chicago around and Watt adds a nice piece in Pittsburgh.

Jerick Mckinnon
That’s all for musings this week stay tuned until week 2.
Your football friends
Eric Jensen
Week 2
1. Derrick Henry can be the monster the Titans need in the backfield. If Demarco Murray does fall off a little bit it won’t matter. Derrick Henry Ran 16 times for 36 yards and two touchdowns. While his yards per carry may not look great on paper, Henry dominated in this game and looks like hell be a force to reckon with this season.
2. In other running back news, Christian McCaffery looked like a total boss. McCaffery only got the ball three times, but for good reason. Every time he touched the pigskin he grabbed an 11-yard gain. Through the air he looked just as dominant earning 39 yards on two catches. McCaffery also had a touchdown on the ground.
3. Depth for the Titans. Behind Henry and Murray sits David Fluellin who had a monster game for the Titans. Fluellin carried the rock nine times for 73 yards. In the receiving core, nonstarter Tre McBride had 4 receptions for 73 yards. McBride’s separation is something to be admired. He looks like he can be the slot guy in an already loaded receiving core.
4. Alex Smith looks very good. Smith went 8 of 9 for 83 yards. That’s 9.2 yards a pass for Smith which is very good for him. The connection between he and tight end Travis Kelce looked very good. Kelce is a great fantasy pick up and if he’s available after Gronk is taken you must snatch him up right away.

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5. Patrick Mahomes continues to impress. While Mahomes only threw for 8.8 yards a catch he still looked deadly in this game. Throwing for two touchdowns also helps Mahomes case there is no competition in KC right now but there will be soon. Mahomes shows great potential if the Chiefs are out of playoff contention in December it would not shock me at all if we saw some Mahomes then.
6. In just one series AJ Green looked like the best WR in football. People leave Green out of this discussion but he is just as good as Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown. The difference is Andy Dalton is a mid-tier QB and Matt Ryan and Big Ben are. Eli is meh but much better than Dalton. Don’t underrate Green he is a great late first round fantasy pick.
7. Dear Scott Tolzien, dear god please stop. This team cannot roll out the abysmal Tolzien to start week one. It just can’t happen. A., it will ruin football for as long as Luck is out because let’s face it the Colts are nothing without him. B. Scott Tolzien might just die seriously I have never seen a flimsier QB. Every time he gets hit it looks like a car accident.
8. Dak Prescott still dominates the preseason. The guy got 8 passes and put up 108 yards through the air and a touchdown. Christian Chastain may hate Dak Prescott (See the Endzone podcast @endzonepod on twitter) but I love him. Cowboys fans should still stay excited for this season. Even without Zeke this team is playoff material.
9. Darren McFadden is the god send the Cowboys needed. Forget Zeke, behind this offensive line any RB can tear it up. McFadden ran for 59 yards on just 9 carries. The O line not the running back is this teams weapon.

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10. Don’t let the numbers skier your thoughts, Kirk Cousins was a question mark. Cousins had some headscratchers. Cousins got comfortable later in the game though and made Terelle Pryor look good. This Washington offense is something to watch though.
11. Bryce Petty has a chance to be the Jets season starter. Going 11 for 17 and throwing for 110 yards will do that for you. The fact he only got Sacked once also made him a more compelling pick over Christian Hackenberg.
12. Christian Hackenberg may be just about the worst QB in the league. Throwing 2 of 6 for 14 yards is never a good thing being hit 17 times is a sure-fire way to play yourself out of the league. The Jets need to cut their losses and cut ties with Hackenberg. Or put him out for an entire year and guarantee they get the number one pick in the draft next year.
13. Desean Watson struggled in his second pre-season game. Watson was flustered by New England’s defense. That doesn’t mean you should discount him though. With only three completions Watson put up 103 yards. Tom Savage looked good as well though going 8 of 9 and throwing a touchdown. Week three is the game. I don’t think you can make a call on the starter before week three after the last two games from the Texans QB position have been so equal. Credit to Houston both guys look like they won’t be liabilities to the team. That is all you really need with the best defense in the NFL behind you.
14. Paxton Lynch is a bust. Lynch looked sloppy at best vs the niners. I would be shocked if he ended up winning the starting job. His delivery was late, he looked sluggish in the pocket, his footwork was a mess and he had no touch on the ball. Lynch is holding the team back at this point it’s time to give up on him maybe you can trade him away for a 4th to 7th round pick.
15. Trevor Siemian won this job. He tore apart a second string niners defense as he was expected to. The highlight of night was his touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor.
16. Jared Goff looks so good in Sean Mcvay’s offense. Throwing 14 of 17 for 145 yards and a touchdown. Goff looked like a number one overall pick. I was so happy to see Mcvay open the offense after keeping Goff under wraps in week one. Todd Gurley however continues to struggle. Gurley ran for 38 yards on 8 carries but at times failed to find the holes.
17. Mike Glennon continues to look average.
18. There is no clear winner in this Browns QB battle. Both Oswieler and Kizer looked subpar Monday night. Though according to Hue Jackson, we should know who the week one starter is within the next few days.
19. Odell will not play again until the regular season. The hit on Beckham at best was questionable. Legality aside, early reports indicate Beckham only has a sprained ankle. So, don’t expect to see Beckham in the third pre-season game. If Beckham were to be lost an already slightly frail receiving core would become one that revolved around Brandon Marshall. That wouldn’t be the worst situation in the world but Beckham is the difference between the Giants winning the Division and scraping into the playoffs as a Wildcard.
20. Jabrill Peppers is a beast. Returning punts making big hits this guy really does do it all. Personally I would put Peppers at Safety, play him in a Tyran Matheiu kind of role. A guy who can cover the back field but can lay the lumber at the line when need be. Also, it opens up all kinds of safety blitz plays for Gregg Williams.
21. James Connor is a sufficient backup for Leveon Bell. Connor looked good against the falcons. You can see how he and bell are similar when you watch him play. They both use similar cutting motions and Connor does have a slight semblance of Bells stutter step at the line.
22. The Falcons offense will be fine. After a second week of first team dominance I’m convinced the fall off for the Falcons will not be as great as we previously thought it would be. They should still be considered heavy favorites to win the Division.
Week 3
1. Chad Henne is not a better nor worse option than Blake Bortles. Henne won’t score the Jags points this year but he won’t turn the ball over either. Fantasy tip stay away from the Jags passing game Allen Robinson is a tempting name but he isn’t worth it until the late, late rounds. Henne threw for ten yards in the first half that’s disgusting for an NFL QB.
2. Cam Newton looked…. Well he didn’t look like anything. We really didn’t see anything from Cam who threw two completions for 21 yards and a Touchdown. Not a lot to learn from that performance.

Cam
3. Jay Cutler looks in command of the Dolphins offense. He threw five of eight passes complete for 105 yards. A touchdown to add to that stat line as well. Cutler looks like he has this QB thing handled pretty well again. Bold Prediction: Cutler will have his best career year in this system and throw 30 touchdowns, 24 at least.
4. Jay Ajayi is the most underrated back in the league. He ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns. I am sneaky way high on this offense. If Cutler can be as good as I think he will be and the running game can work just as well, I don’t want to say it because it would shove the Titans out of a playoff spot but I think the Dolphins could make it back to the playoffs.
5. Carson Wentz looks like a new QB with fixed mechanics. They still look weird but not bad. It’s hard to explain on paper. He doesn’t throw all the through. He stops at the highest realease point like a follow through in basketball. He still has a slightly longer wind up but nothing as criminal as last year though. However, Wentz and his pocket presence has improved noticeably.

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6. Julian Edelman is out for the season. Is it a crushing blow for the Patriots offense? No. But it provides a chink, not a large one, but a chink in the Patriots armor. Will it make them miss the playoffs? No. Take them out of the number one seed? No. Will it give them a hurdle to cross in the post season? Most definitely Edelman shines in the playoffs and is the difference between an unstoppable and beatable Patriots team in January.
7. The Patriots already have Edelman’s replacement. Chris Hogan dominated in this game and was by far Tom Brady’s favorite target. Two touchdowns and 70 yards on four receptions make Hogan a must get in your fantasy league.
8. The Lions starting offense is depressing. It took Stafford three preseason quarters to throw 2 touchdowns. Starting offenses are supposed to have more than seven points in the first half of a preseason game, unless you’re the Jacksonville Jaguars. Steer clear of all Lions players even Stafford in your fantasy drafts.
9. Russell Wilson looked Russell Wilson like. Wilson threw the ball well and his mobility looks to be back. He had 3 or 4 throws that missed the target by a long shot and one bad floater towards Jimmy Graham that should have been picked. All in all Wilson looked good and the Seahawks offense has got me excited this year. As for all the talk about leaning less heavily on the run. I think that’s false combined the Seahawks ran the ball 16 times in the first half. Don’t go to early on any one of these backs in your fantasy draft but Seahawks backs will be prime waiver wire bait when your starter has a bye.
10. Patrick Mahomes outplayed Alex Smith. Smith looked like himself, short pass, after short pass to wide open receivers. Mahomes just looks like a better QB. Honestly, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more competition. With Smith, the Chiefs are low risk low reward. It completely flips with Mahomes. I think either guy would give the Chiefs a shot at the playoffs. If Smith struggles it would not surprise me if we saw Mahomes start this year. That’s my hot take.
11. The Chargers offense is one to watch this year. While the offensive line has struggled at point Philip Rivers continues to look like a top ten QB. Keenan Allen looks fully recovered from the knee injury. Travis Benjamin looked great as well. Though his career started rocky in Cleveland he has found his niche in the NFL as one of the leagues best slot receivers. I would be shocked if he wasn’t featured heavily in this offense.
12. 2. Jared Goff, started strong, then collapsed. Goff started the game with a nice drive and several great throws. Then he got to the red zone, fumbled the ball and on the very next drive threw a head scratcher into a group of three Chargers that resulted in an interception. Goff has moments, has promise, has potential to be a Russell Wilson like QB. He also has moments where you wonder how he went first overall. He’s an intriguing guy to watch, make sure you tune into the Rams this year.
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14. 3. Jon Brown looks back in form, so does Carson Palmer, that spells success for the Cards. Brown dominated in 2015 when the Cards were at the height of their power. This offense looks like it’s ticking again, and that’s good, not only for the Cardinals but for football. The NFL is a better place when the NFC West is competitive and it’s shaping up to be an intriguing division.
15. 4. As my good friend, @Chicubscoverage on Twitter told me, we can learn very little from the preseason, stay away from sweeping predictions. I will. This Falcons offense looked lackluster in the first half. Nothing to worry about with the Falcons though this offense has looked good in the past two preseason games. The Super Bowl hangover will be brief for Atlanta, if there is one at all.
16. 5. The Tampa Bay offense struggled once again though. It’s something to watch going into the season. Perhaps this offense will need some time to warm up.
17. 6. Brock Osweiler is not going to be on the Cleveland Browns come week one. He was not the first or second QB to start. Cody Kessler is the backup for this team but the Browns need to keep Brock for a little while longer because……
18. 7. If Kizer starts it is not going to end well. The Browns first four games are insanely hard. Kizer struggled mightily.
19. 8. Jordan Taylor is quickly becoming Trevor Siemian’s favorite target. Siemian needs to find a third guy to look too and Taylor provides that.
20. 9. CJ Anderson looks good. Anderson found the holes and punished this Packers defense. I said it about a month ago and I will say it again. Anderson could have a big year if he stays healthy. Jamal Charles showed one or two flashes of what he used to be. He may not make this team but if he does, expect him to be a third down burst back.
21. 10. The Boys will be fine without Zeke. Dak Prescott has once again dominated the pre-season. The kid is an undeniable talent. Also, that offensive line is so dominant. Alfred Morris and Darren Mcfadden put up combined Zeke like numbers. Speaking of Zeke he got a drive in, 6 runs for 18 yards.
22. 11. Amari Cooper torched the Cowboys defense. Four receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown. Cooper struggled near the end of last year. It is clear those struggles are no more.
23. 12. Tom Savage has the Texans job, for now. It would not shock me if we saw Watson come in and steal the starting job before week 3. Yes, he is a raw, young, QB who likes to throw into coverage. He is also a young QB who loves to take shots and open up this offense. Bill Obrien usually will choose the latter over the former.
24. 13. The Saints defense is sneaky good. They have been all pre-season. Will they change games? Probably not but don’t be shocked if they move from worst in the league to lower mid tier.
25. 14. The Giants defense is dominant. It’s time to start putting them in the same group as the Texans and Broncos. This D score three times Saturday night. Yes, it’s the pre-season but they are primed to make the jump from the top tier of defense, to game changing. That’s scary considering who that team has on offense.
Week 4
26. Nathan Peterman may start week one. If Tyrod Taylor mysteriously isn’t ready to go week one. It’s the perfect chance for the Bills to shove Taylor into the corner before ultimately getting rid of him.
27. Patrick Mahomes is a special QB. Yes he makes some bad decisions. So does every rookie, not every rookie makes Aaron Rodgers type throws. That’s who Mahomes reminds me of, Rodgers. The future under center is bright in KC.

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