- Despite some big-name additions, the Eagles run game really struggled last week.
- Aaron Rodgers will play his first action under rookie head coach Matt Lafleur.
- “Generational Talent” Kyler Murray is expected to play quite a bit against the Oakland Raiders.
Week 2 of the NFL Preseason kicks off tonight with 10 teams in action.
Despite some teams, such as the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars, still holding some key veterans out of the game, there is still a whole lot to look for in this evening’s contests.
Eagles Running Game
The Eagles struggled with their run game for much of last season, ranked 19th in the NFL in successful rushes. In the offseason, Howie Roseman traded for Jordan Howard and drafted Miles Sanders in the second round to bolster the Eagles backfield.
The early returns haven’t been great, Howard and Sanders combined for just six yards on six carries last week. However, with Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson splitting the reps at quarterback, Howard, Sanders, and the rest of the Eagles running backs should get plenty of touches in Jacksonville.
First Look at Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers sat out last week’s preseason opener but is expected to play a quarter of tonight’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The two-time MVP played all 16 games in 2018 but threw for just 25 touchdowns. That’s the lowest single-season total of his career. The Packers have posted a record of just 10-12-1 in Rodgers last 23 starts.
Tonight will be our first look at Rodgers under new head coach Matt Lafleur and despite the early optimism, the pair butted heads earlier this summer over Rodgers’ use of audibles at the line of scrimmage.
Rodgers has gone on to say the spat has been overblown and everything is fine, however, it will be interesting to see just how much freedom the rookie head coach gives his franchise quarterback this week in Baltimore.
Redskins Offensive Line
While the Trent Williams saga continues to drag on in Washington, the Redskins still have to find a way to keep their quarterbacks upright.
Wow! This Redskins o-line
Watch every Keenum attempt
✅ Four offensive holding penalties on the first drive
✅ Keenum under frequent pressure
✅ 3/8 for 14 yds on non-blown coverages
Are they missing Trent Williams??? pic.twitter.com/ltAvWEvvST
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 9, 2019
Washington’s offensive line struggled mightily in their first preseason game last week. Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins combined to complete 12 of their 23 pass attempts for 177 yards a touchdown and two interceptions.
With Colt McCoy still recovering from a broken leg that ended his season a year ago, it is imperative the Redskins keep their two remaining quarterbacks upright and healthy.
Fourth-year tight end Austin Hooper has been impressing on-lookers during the Atlanta Falcons training camp and could be due for a breakout season. Despite starting only seven games in 2018, Hooper collected 71 catches, 660 yards and 4 touchdowns on his way to his first Pro Bowl nod.
Hooper has spent time in the offseason talking with Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez and could capitalize on a bigger role in the red zone. In 2018, Hooper received just 13 red zone targets, but caught nine of those passes, converting four of them into touchdowns.
More Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray didn’t get much playing time in the Arizona Cardinals game last week, but he completed six of his seven pass attempts for 44 yards. Rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury has promised more playing time for Murray tonight against the Oakland Raiders.
The Cardinals have anointed Murray the franchise QB and GM Steve Kein has gone as far as to call the top overall pick “a generational talent.”
Don’t expect Kingsbury to hand Murray the whole playbook in Week 2 of the preseason, but hopefully, with more playing time, the rookie can show off some of his play-making ability.