Monday, August 22, 2016

NFL 2016 Preseason Thoughts

Jimmy Garoppolo of the Patriots has shown credible moxie in the 2016 preseason, notably on AJ Derby's touchdown, while the Patriots defense has made scoring plays as well

The NFL preseason has now gone two weeks and some thoughts have developed so far -

The New England Patriots remain the machine of the NFL -  Concern Garoppolo might be in over his head in the NFL for the first four weeks is fading as his poise has steadily improved after a raw start against the Saints.   Several young players for the Patriots have shown promising form, perhaps none more than AJ Derby, a tight end and converted quarterback who looks to make New England's two-TE set a three-TE set.   It has gotten to where rampant media speculation about Tom Brady and whether absences from camp are something other than personal has replaced concern about whether the Patriots are still up to winning.

New England's win over the Saints also indicated the Saints have improved on defense a year after being abysmal there.

The Bills may be better than advertised - Not that the Bills have been expected to be any kind of playoff team, but Tyrod Taylor has shown better-than expected fight and the Bills' shutout of the NY Giants may not be a true "quality" win but it looks more like such than the other way around.

The game also illustrated a less-than-inspiring performance from the Giants' starters with a new head coach, and it is starting to look like the common first-year-coaching blues for Big Blue.

Dak Prescott looks like a Cowboys starter sooner rather than later - while the Dolphins look like a last-place team - Dallas' 41-14 slaughter of the Dolphins showcased striking acumen by Dak Prescott, to where suddenly it's no longer implausible to think the ever-overrated Tony Romo may wind up finally getting benched. The Miami Dolphins meanwhile have been mediocre under Ryan Tannehill and looked a lot worse in this game, with no sign of improvement anywhere.

The Panthers are still kings of the NFC South; the Titans aren't a playoff team - yet - Cam Newton looked like Cam Newton again, while Marcus Mariota continues to look like the real deal but nonetheless not ready for a big playoff run. The Titans nonetheless are building something that can become really good much as the Panthers were heading in that direction five years ago. Tajae Sharpe already looks like he'll become the real deal and Tennessee's run game has overall shown genuine promise.

The Bucs have had some struggles in preseason but as seen here also some muscle. The Jaguars likewise began trending upward in 2015 and look to continue trending upward in 2016

The AFC South looks to be stronger top to bottom than last year; the Ravens should not be as weak as in 2015 - Andrew Luck has been the real deal from Jump Street but has feasted on a weak AFC South; that may not be quite the case in 2016.

The Rams the sleeper of 2016? - A dismal performance in Week One by Jared Goff was followed by clear improvement in Week Two against a competitive Chiefs team. While the Rams have to face the Cardinals and Seahawks they look like more than a 7-9 team in their first year back in LA.

Mark Sanchez plays his way out of Denver - His underhand throw of a fumble may have ended the quarterback controversy in Denver, this atop his second fumble with 22 seconds to go in the half against a Niners team with little expectation.   Trevor Siemen may have played his way to start at least the first half of 2016 for the defending Superbowl champs.

So it goes with preseason continuing.

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