Pre-Season Week 2 Wrap: Part II

Pre-Season Week 2 Wrap: Part II

Continued…

Part one of the week 2 wrap featured Jay Cutler, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Marcus Mariota, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Sam Bradford, Jameis Winston, Russell Wilson, Brian Hoyer and Jared Goff.

Saturday was a packed slate, Sunday featured two games and the Giants and Browns dueled on Monday night. This, part two, is about the quarterbacks featured in those games.

Tom Brady and DeShaun Watson vs. Tom Savage –

 It’s nothing new, but the Patriots are going to be a problem for opposing defenses. I don’t need to get into telling you how great Tom Brady is, we know. The man is automatic on the short stuff and utterly precise on pre-snap reads. He gets the football out quickly to an open man, in space, better than any quarterback I’ve ever seen. The package variations and different ways the Patriots can beat a team is terrifying, especially with the best ever at the controls.

The story of this game was the battle between the two Texans quarterbacks. Tom Savage had a nice game. He played in rhythm with the offense, led a scoring drive and another into the red-zone before a turnover on downs. He was decisive, attacked down the field, and his one poor throw went for big yardage (too much air under it, Malcom Butler mis-judged his leap.)

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DeShaun Watson, on the other hand, played like a rookie. Mike Leach recently went on the Move the Stick podcast and stressed how important it is for a quarterback to have accuracy – you can’t teach that. Watson isn’t an accurate quarterback. He struggles with quick sets and sailing passes to the boundary and perimeter.

Sooner than later, the Texans need to throw the entire playbook at him. He looks good executing the play action and quick game, but that’s merely a fraction of what he needs to succeed on Sundays.

Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton is something of an enigma. He can excel when everything around him is going smoothly. Fortunately for the Bengals in 2017, that might be the case. If that offensive line holds up, he can distribute the ball to that talented group of skill players the way he did in Saturday’s game against the Chiefs. He was sharp delivering a pair of on target deep digs and dismissing the pass rush on his two series.

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I try not to show any bias, but I love seeing Alex Smith take his team up and down the field in two pre-season games. His first throw of the game was an absolute dime as he held the safety on the backside of the play before floating a perfect touch pass 30 yards to Travis Kelce, with pressure in his face, no less.

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The guy everyone wants to talk about had a good night as well. Andy Reid is too smart to succumb to fan pressure, but the worst thing that could happen to Patrick Mahomes would be for him to see any reps in 2017. His first play, he threw without a proper platform and floated a pass to the sideline that should’ve been picked off.

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When he cleans up those minute details, the upside is tremendous. His scramble reel is already something to behold.

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Matt Stafford and The Jets –

Matt Stafford absolutely falls into the category of guys that don’t need their pre-season put under the microscope. The Lions offensive line had a difficult time in Saturday’s scrimmage with the Jets. One pressure led to an errant throw that was nearly intercepted.

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Stafford bounced back completed six of seven passes on the next series including this touchdown dime.

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If you’ve noticed a lack of mention of certain quarterbacks (Ryan Mallet, Scott Tolzien, etc.) it’s because those lower level quarterbacks aren’t worth my time or yours. Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty fit into that category. Josh McCown is the only Jets QB worthy of an NFL roster spot.

Todd Bowles gave Hackenberg and Petty a half of football, and the team only scored six points. That’s 13 points in two games, and six points on non-Josh McCown led drives.

Dak Prescott

There isn’t much to write about Dak Prescott. He took his team down the field twice, scored one touchdown, and was on point all afternoon. He is always on time, he’s smooth in the pocket and the ball is always perfectly located. Just like the other elite quarterbacks, we’ll dive deeper into his performances in the regular season.

Matt Ryan

See Dak Prescott. Ryan, already with his PhD in running an NFL offense, is just showing off at this point of the season. Another pre-season game, another easy touchdown drive for the reigning league MVP.

Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins

Aaron Rodgers looked bored with this game. He’s just fine tuning his craft for when the games count. He threw with anticipation, accuracy and zip – just as he always does.

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Kirk Cousins played with a chaotic sense of urgency in his game. His protection didn’t hold up particularly well and his new receiving crew had difficulty creating separation. He badly under threw one ball after escaping pressure, and over threw Terrell Pryor – again, fleeing the pocket in the red-zone. It could take a while for the chemistry to sync up for the Redskins.

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Carson Palmer and Mitch Trubisky vs. Mike Glennon – 

Carson Palmer has had better nights. Four of his seven throws were off-target, and this was primarily caused by pressure in his face. Panicking over pre-season results is never wise, but this was the same issue that plagued the Cardinals offense through all of 2016.

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The word accuracy has shown up a lot in this piece, and that’s because we’re dealing with a lot of quarterbacks that struggle with it. Mike Glennon isn’t the only one that is wildly inconsistent with his accuracy, but he’s the only one that does so while making 15 million bucks. He was too far inside on a comeback route off the edge, and down and in for this slant route where Cameron Meredith bailed him out.

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Like DeShaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky is operating out of a fraction of the playbook. Everything is coming from the shotgun or on play pass – the stuff Trubisky excelled at in North Carolina’s spread scheme. Playing third-fiddle behind Glennon and Mark Sanchez leads me to believe the Bears won’t even give him an opportunity to win the starting job.

Against the Cardinals third and fourth stringers, Trubisky’s accuracy wasn’t on point either. He threw one go route that was too flat, and he was behind on a pair of slant routes on his first series.

Eli Manning and Cody Kessler vs. DeShone Kizer –

Eli is so incredibly advanced in the mental aspect of the game that it’s frustrating to watch him struggle. He was never nimble, but he has no ability to evade the rush, his arm can’t rip short throws the way he used to, and his ability to put the ball in front of receivers is dissipating more each year.

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Eli missed a number of throws tonight for a Giants offense that stalled out all night.

I refuse to cover Brock Osweiler. Either Hue Jackson is extremely dense, or he’s fighting a losing battle to showcase Osweiler for a trade. On top of that, the best quarterback on his roster is getting mop up duty action this pre-season (Kessler.)

DeShone Kizer is clearly the guy the Browns want to win the starting gig. Everything called for him is either, A.) As basic as a play call gets in the NFL or, B.) Something slow developing that results in a sack. Kizer doesn’t have the requisite clock in his head to play the position yet. For the second straight week, he has set up shop in the pocket with the rush bearing down.

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Kizer has made some nice splash play, but he has a long way to go until he’s ready to compete on Sundays. Cody Kessler is the only quarterback on the roster that should be considered for a starting job.

One more week of dissecting games, then it’s off for vacation during the fourth week, and then the season is here. You’ve almost made it, football fans. Football is just around the corner.

@WingfieldNFL

Go back to part I of the pre-season week 2 wrap.

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