Preseason NFL football is a lot like the three courses that come before the main course and dessert. Everyone likes the first three courses but no one is truly excited about them. We’re all busy dreaming of the juicy sirloin (regular season football) the server is about to put in front of us.
“Ummm … Perry, there are four weeks to the preseason, not three.”
Right you are, loyal reader. I don’t count the first week of preseason as the soup, though. With starters playing such limited snaps (many not playing at all), and the majority of the game being played by second and third-team players with little experience in their system, it can be difficult to enjoy for the average fan. And like I said, we all enjoy soup.
But as we await our soup (Week 2), why not make some observations about the decor of the restaurant? Here are the five things that stood out the most to me.
5 Biggest Takeaways from Week 1
1. Kenny Golladay making plays
Of course, this would be even sweeter had the third-round pick caught his two TDs from Matthew Stafford, but the dude still made two spectacular plays to haul in two TDs for the second-team. Standing at 6’4″, Golladay is the Lions’ biggest receiver, and clearly caught the attention of his coaching staff. The rookie has been working with the first-team in practice all week, after his impressive Week 1 performance.
Don’t treat this like most other early preseason stories. Golladay is going to have a big role in Detroit’s offense this year, specifically in the red zone.
Over/under receiving yards for Golladay in 2017: 850.5
Over/under receiving TDs for Golladay in 2017: 6.5
2. Deshaun Watson may not need polish to be the Texans’ best option
In his preseason debut, Watson completed 15/25 passes for 179 yards, and added 24 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Basically, the rookie displayed the athleticism we knew he had, along with the finer details he needs to be a successful qb in the league — even if some of it needs polishing.
Like his release. It’s a little slow and inaccurate at times. He also doesn’t have a firm grasp on every read in Bill O’Brien’s offense. But even so, he may still be the Texans’ best chance at winning games in 2017. Watson’s athleticism will help Houston’s offense to a greater extent than Tom Savage can from the pocket.
It may not be the best thing for the Clemson product’s development, but having Watson under center is best for Houston’s 2017.
Odds Watson starts Week 1: 4/3
Over/under total starts for Watson in 2017: 9.5
3. TJ looks like a Watt
No rookie defender had a more impressive debut than the youngest of the Watt brothers. Though he still has a ways to go before living up to his oldest brother’s standards, two sacks in his first game is a pretty good start.
The speed and motor Watt displayed coming off the edge is exactly what Pittsburgh was lacking last season. The coaching staff took notice and have named the rookie a starter already, pushing everyone’s favorite linebacker, James Harrison, into a relief role.
Odds TJ records more sacks than JJ in 2017: 5/2
Over/under total sacks for TJ Watt in 2017: 7.5
4. The Ravens aren’t the only team who need a backup QB
Outside of Mitchell Trubisky, Colin Kaepernick is far better than any third-string QB who played last week. Here’s a list of the teams who are employing first or second-team QBs who definitely proved inferior to the former NFC-champion-QB last week: Buffalo, Baltimore, Washington, Denver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, New York (Jets), Tennessee, Dallas, Indianapolis, and San Diego.
As I previously mentioned, it’s only the first week and a handful were forced into action with such limited knowledge of their offense. But if these inadequacies continue into Week 2, the “Kaepernick being blackballed” story is going to continue gaining traction.
Odds Kaepernick signs before Week 1: 7/3
Odds Kaepernick signs with a team in 2017: 1/1
5. Jared Goff looked serviceable
Look, completing 3/4 passes for 34 yards certainly isn’t enough to make us completely forget Jared Goff’s rookie season. The first-overall pick’s horrendous 63.6 passer rating from 2016 may not do justice to how bad he actually looked. But the Week 1 performance is definitely a step in the right direction.
Under new head coach Sean McVay, Goff looked much more poised under pressure and more decisive with his throws. There’s a reason Goff was the first-overall pick a year ago: he has a ton of arm talent and enough mobility. If McVay can get the second-year pro’s head straight, the Rams could finally cut the 7-9 bullsh!t.
Odds Goff throws more INTs than TDs again in 2017: 2/1
Over/under Goff’s 2017 passer rating: 85.5