We are halfway through the NFL preseason already and new developments continue to take shape! There have been some surprise performances, some of the expected, and some things that could cause concern for some teams. As we eagerly await the beginning of the regular season in just a few weeks time, here are 5 takeaways from Week 2 of the NFL preseason.
1. Tom Brady is in mid-season form
As per usual, the New England Patriots have nothing to be concerned about with Tom Brady. The future Hall of Famer already looks like he’s ready to play in a Super Bowl, showing no signs of off-season rust whatsoever.
After sitting out in the first week of preseason action against Washington, Brady got the start in Week 2 in a Super Bowl 52 rematch against the Eagles. Brady was his usual masterful self, and it looks like father time won’t be catching up with the 41-year-old quarterback in 2018.
TOM BRADY TO CHRIS HOGAN! Touchdownpic.twitter.com/QRoc3TwDgK
— PatriotsNation™️ (@PatsNationTM) August 16, 2020
Brady went 19/26 for 172 yards and 2 TD’s against the Eagles on Thursday night and was making throws and plays as if he were suiting up for a playoff game. It included his first touchdown pass where he had to scramble to avoid some pressure before hitting Chris Hogan in the end zone.
If anyone in the AFC East - or entire AFC for that matter - thought that perhaps this would be their year to take a run at the Patriots, they better think again. Brady looks like he isn’t going to have any part of that any time soon.
2. The Eagles may need another QB
Speaking of the Philadelphia Eagles, they may have an issue at quarterback heading into the regular season. Now, it’s nowhere near any time to start pressing the panic button, but Carson Wentz was just cleared not even a week ago to start taking part in team activities with the Eagles while still recovering from his torn ACL suffered last year.
If that wasn’t enough, Nick Foles injured his shoulder Thursday night against the Patriots. Before the injury, the reigning Super Bowl MVP completed just 3 of 9 passes for 44 yards.
Carson Wentz and Nick Foles getting some work in. #Eagles pic.twitter.com/WmbmdrZGWw
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) August 21, 2020
It was revealed that Foles suffered a shoulder strain, though both he and the team are saying it’s very minor and that he won’t miss any real time with the injury. However, for a team that is more than poised to return to the big game this winter having some insurance would be nice, as Thursday night showed things can get really scary, really fast.
The Eagles would have no real solid option if Foles were to have been seriously injured, and who knows where Wentz will be coming back from a significant knee injury. The only other QBs on the roster are newly signed Christian Hackenberg, Joe Callahan and Nate Sudfield who have played in a combined 2 career regular season games……ouch!
3. Jaguars Defence/Offence
The Jags defence will not be an issue this season whatsoever. However, the offence - and more specifically, the quarterback - will remain a question.
The dominating defence that ranked first in passing and second in total team defence last season seemingly will not have any troubles this season, as they only gave up 10 points in their Week 2 match-up with the Vikings. Now, it is preseason, and the starting defence was probably only on the field for the first half which shows better as the Vikings were only able to up a field goal in the first half.
The first-team defence held a Vikings offence led by Kirk Cousins to just 12 yards passing through 1.5 quarters of play. The Vikings offence looked like it was going to be explosive in Week 1 against Denver, so shutting them down is not something to laugh at.
.@YannGetSacks91 and @Campbell93 will just take that ball right back.#DUUUVAL#JAXvsMIN pic.twitter.com/m2j0IlR5aM
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 18, 2020
Now with as good as the defence was and will be, the offence was the complete opposite. Blake Bortles at QB has been questionable for some time, and I for one believe this team is in the Super Bowl if they’re given any better option.
Bortles didn’t do himself any favours in Week 2, looking shaky early and showing some of the old Bortles that we saw last year. He threw an interception on his second drive of the game and did not throw a touchdown.
What he couldn't do in practice, he takes care of in the game.@HarriSmith22 gets the INT! pic.twitter.com/88yAvJgQuY
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 18, 2020
He did get some things going towards the end of the half, finishing 12/20 for 159 yards. He was able to get the team in position to allow Leonard Fournette to run it in for a 1-yard TD, but the discrepancy between the offence and the defence of this team is troublesome and and it’s looking like it may be something to keep an eye on.
4. Teddy Bridgewater looks legit
Speaking of a better option at QB….
One of the feel-good stories of the preseason so far has been the return of Teddy Bridgewater. Returning only a week prior and looking great only missing on one pass against the Falcons, Bridgewater looked brand new after missing an entire season with a knee injury.
Bridgewater came into the game Thursday night against Washington looking to do much of the same as the week prior, and do it he did. He finished 10/15 for 127 yards 1TD and 1INT, but showed the same kind of ability as he did in Week 1. Bridgewater led the offence down the field before hitting Charone Peake at the cone for the touchdown with 11 minutes left in the game.
Teddy Bridgewater: dime
And that snag 🙌 (via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/Hid1WuJhtb
— ESPN (@espn) August 17, 2020
If his completion numbers weren’t already impressive, he had three passes go off receivers hands on what were flat-out drops. The talk now is that the Jets could shop their newly signed QB in hopes that he could bring back some solid pieces in return.
I, however, wonder if it’s not better to hold onto a player like Bridgewater and look at moving ageing quarterback Josh McCown. Bridgewater is much younger, can be a solid option to start should Sam Darnold not be ready, and plays a similar game to Darnold’s style.
Perhaps we see number 5 leading the J E T S JETS JETS JETS to start the season….
5. Is Dez Bryant done?
Finally, what is going on with Dez Bryant? Since being released by the Cowboys in April there have been a lot of rumours swirling about who may be interested in bringing the receiver in, but no real solid news on anyone being interested.
The latest and closest to getting a deal done has been the Cleveland Browns who have brought Bryant in for a meeting but have not agreed to a deal. It was reported that Dez dodged a few calls from the Browns early but eventually picked up and went in for a meeting with Hue Jackson which was all caught by HBO cameras for the show Hard Knocks.
Dez Bryant told the Browns he's "just looking for realness"
Watch #HardKnocks on Tuesdays at 10 PM on @HBO pic.twitter.com/V2FbJpw8Y4
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 20, 2020
On the show, Dez is captured telling Jackson that he wants “realness” and a coach who he is comfortable with. Again, the meeting ultimately ended without a contract and the Browns seem to be putting the Dez talk on hold with Josh Gordon coming back to the team recently.
The question continues to circulate of where will Dez end up? Better yet, will he end up anywhere? Is this it for the former star-receiver who put up 838 yards and 6TD’s last season?
Time will tell, but in my opinion, it would be worth throwing a minimal amount of cash towards a potential play-maker.
Those are 5 takeaways from Week 2 of the NFL preseason. Week 3 action is set to get underway Thursday night and continue on through the weekend. Are you ready for some football?