Week 3 is obviously the most important of the preseaon. Also referred to as the “dress rehearsal,” the starters will all play at least the entire first half of this week’s games. In Week 4, teams will concentrate on making it to the regular season as healthy as possible, and filling out the last five or so roster spots.
Week 3 will be the only true preview of the regular season we will get. We’ve already seen several things this preseason, with some teams playing their starters quite a bit in the first two games. Other teams have barely played their more important players.
There are still many unknowns, and many unresolved positions battles. Injuries have already began to take a toll, especially at the running back position.
The vanilla play calling on both offense and defense should expand this week. We’ve seen the basic formations most teams are using, but they’ve yet to reveal their full hand on how they plan to do things when the regular season kicks off.
Here are some of the most important story lines for Week 3 of the preseason.
Preseason Watch: Week 3
The Broncos Quarterback Situation
Things don’t look good right now at QB in Denver. Trevor Siemian got the start last week. He played poorly, then Mark Sanchez came in and played worse. Their new look offensive line is also allowing a lot of pressure.
The Broncos still have Siemien and Sanchez listed as co-starters, with Siemien slated to start this week versus the Rams. The idea of Paxton Lynch becoming the starter is also brewing. While I don’t think Lynch will start Week 1, we may see him sooner than later.
I don’t think it really matters who wins this job. Neither Siemien or Sanchez should be starting NFL QBs. The issue is the ripple effect it will have on Broncos WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. They will be drafted as Fantasy starters, and I don’t know that you’ll be able to trust them given their QB situation.
Running Back Injuries Already
Surprise, surprise, there have already been serious injuries at the RB position. The Patriots Dion Lewis is the worst case. He might be back in a few months, but he’s likely to be out most of the season. James White will replace him, as he did last year. White doesn’t have nearly the talent Lewis does, but he still has value in PPR leagues based on volume.
The Redskins Matt Jones also sustained a shoulder injury. It doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, but he may miss the first couple of regular season games. Jones wasn’t exactly a great runner either.
This opens up the door for RBs Chris Thompson and Keith Marshall to get more touches. Thompson is already the primary third down back, and he could easily steal the starting job in a pass heavy Redskins offense.
Jeremy Langford of the Bears also suffered a minor foot injury. All indications are he’ll be ready for the regular season opener, but it’s still not for sure. Foot injuries are also very easy to aggravate.
Is Robert Griffin’s Preseason Success a Sign of Things to Come?
RG3 looks like a new man in Cleveland. I know it’s only two preseason games, but Griffin looks confident, healthy, and comfortable. Early in his career, Griffin was known for his great speed, and duel threat ability. It looks like he is attempting to become more of a pure pocket passer for the Browns.
One thing Griffin has always been good at is throwing a great deep ball. With the a flick of his wrist, Griffin can throw a beautiful 50 yard pass right on the money. We’ve seen him connect with Terrell Pryor on two 50 yard passes already.
Head Coach Hue Jackson is the ideal coach for Griffin. He has a history as a Quarterback and Wide Receiver coach. The Brown’s offense so far has involved a lot of screen passes and go routes. With many talented players at the skill positions, keeping things relatively simple is a good idea.
Wide Receiver Josh Gordon is expected to play in this weeks game. This will be our only chance to see Gordon and Griffin play together until Week 5. It would be nice to see Gordon make a few plays.
Have We All Been Sleeping on the Lion’s Passing Game?
With the retirement of Calvin Johnson, I think many of us may have underestimated the potential of the Lion’s passing game. The new receiving trio of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Anquan Boldin, along with TE Eric Ebron, and a great receiving back Theo Riddick, appear to be a nice collection of weapons for Matthew Stafford.
This team isn’t going to run the ball much, and those guys are all capable of putting up big numbers through the air. The price tags on all of these players are very low as well. Their current ADPs are Matthew Stafford (133), Theo Riddick (134), Golden Tate (54), Marvin Jones (92), Anquan Boldin (198), and Eric Ebron (179).
Tony Romo/Ezekiel Elliott vs Dak Prescott/Alfred Morris
Will the Tony Romo/Ezekiel Elliott led Cowboys be as Good as the Dak Prescott/Alfred Morris led Cowboys?
Dak Prescott has been the star of the preseason thus far. For whatever it’s worth, he’s having the best preseason I’ve ever seen. How many QBs have had two passing TDs and two rushing TDs in a single preseason game? My guess is none. Alfred Morris has also looked great running the ball in the absence of Ezekiel Elliott.
This week, Tony Romo and Ezekiel Elliott will both start. Romo should play the entire first half and I’m not sure how much Elliott will play. They face a difficult challenge against the first team defense of Seattle. Dez Bryant will also be out for this game after sustaining a concussion during practice.
Where are All the Rookie Wide Receivers?
Rookie WRs Will Fuller (Texans), Tyler Boyd (Bengals), and Michael Thomas (Saints) have made a significant impact thus far, and all three look to have pretty much locked up starting spots on their respective teams.
The rest of the rookie receiver class has been relatively silent. Sterling Shepard (Giants), Laquon Treadwell (Vikings), Corey Coleman (Browns), Josh Doctson (Redskins), and Leonte Carroo (Dolphins) have yet to show us much of anything. Doctson and Coleman have been dealing with injuries, and have not played.
Tajae Sharpe, a fifth round pick of the Titans has played well. He’s expected to assume a starting role with the release of Dorial Green-Beckham.
Those are some of the major story lines for the Week 3 Preseason Watch. Many of this week’s games will be on CBS, FOX, and NBC. All other games can be seen on the NFL network.
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