Posted on August 09, 2019, by Travis Pulver

The long wait is over now. The Hall of Fame Game gave us a taste of some football; it wasn’t very good, but it was still football. Any football is better than no football—right? Now, it is only Week One of the NFL preseason, but with Thursday night’s slate of games, we can now say that football is back!

While we didn’t see a lot of stars, we did get a chance to catch a glimpse of some players fans have been dying to see.

Via @NFLsportyst

Of course, anything that goes on during the NFL preseason has to be taken with a grain of salt. But if the guys that played well Thursday night can replicate that success when the regular season starts, they could be in for a good year.

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The Observations

1.      Sam Darnold looks ready to take a big step forward this year. He was playing an unimpressive Giants team, but he also didn’t have the services of his new star running back, Le’Veon Bell, either. But Darnold (4-5 for 68 yards and a touchdown) and his offensive line looked good in Darnold’s only drive—which ended with a touchdown.  

2.      Eli Manning could be in trouble. He didn’t look good, but he also didn’t play much. However, Daniel Jones looked more than capable when he was in the game (5-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown). If he can continue to progress and Eli falters during the regular season, the hook could come out for Manning.

3.      The Patriots may have found the successor to Tom Brady in former Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham. But Detroit is not exactly tough competition, but to go 14-24 for 179 yards and a touchdown the first time you play in an NFL game is impressive (Brian Hoyer looked great too, but at his age, he is not the future).

4.      LeSean McCoy could soon become the expendable crew member in Buffalo’s backfield. Rookie Devin Singletary looked as good as expected in his NFL debut against the Colts (nine carries for 27 yards; three receptions for 21 yards). McCoy, at his age (31), if Singletary continues to impress and he doesn’t, could be gone.

5.      It looks like we may have another rugby star-turned football player in the making. He only got one carry, but former English rugby star-turned running back made the most of his one carry against the Colts—a 65-yard touchdown run. So, it may be safe to say that he’ll get at least two carries next week.

6.      The Bears may have something in rookie running back David Montgomery. While he didn’t get a lot of touches (three carries for 16 yards and a touchdown; three receptions for 30 yards). But his seven-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty.

7.      Marcus Mariota may need to get it figured out sooner rather than later if he wants to keep his job. He did not look good (4-8 for 24 yards) against the Eagles Thursday night. Ryan Tannehill, on the other hand, looked great (12-16 for 130 yards and two touchdowns). Should both continue to play the way they did Thursday night, it wouldn’t be shocking if head coach Mike Vrabel had a tough decision to make before the start of the season.

8.      It is not looking good for Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. None of his quarterbacks looked impressive against the Browns Thursday night. Case Keenum wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t good either. While Haskins did okay on his first drive but then threw two interceptions.

9.      How about that Kyler Murray kid? We didn’t get to see him take off and run, but he looked very good throwing the ball (6-7 for 44 yards).

However, the story of the night and the reason the NFL preseason is worth watching is Cleveland Browns receiver/returner Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi. He essentially had to talk his way into a tryout, and late in the game, he showed why he is worth a look with an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown.

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