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Old 08.11.2018, 07:30   #1
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If anyone really looks forward to exhibition football games

White Peyton Barber Jersey , this is the week to pay attention. One good place to start is in Oakland.Not because Aaron Rodgers will see plenty of action for Green Bay; he won't, might not play at all. And the Raiders' best player, Khalil Mack, still is holding out. Such is the approach for players and coaches in the preseason.But Rodgers gets to hang out — if not warm up with — an old friend and his former favorite target.The departure of receiver Jordy Nelson has left Rodgers in need of a new partner to take part in one of his pregame routines. In the end zone before a game, there would be Rodgers and Nelson playing catch and spinning footballs on their fingertips. That won't happen Friday night now that Nelson is a Raider, though they remain good friends."He said he has his own pregame routine now so we can't play catch before the game, so I'm a little disappointed by that," Rodgers quipped. "He's changed. ... He's a new guy."The competition between Brett Hundley and offseason acquisition DeShone Kizer to back up Rodgers will be a focal point for the Packers. Plus, depth is starting to become an issue at running back because injuries have slowed Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays. Jones could play Friday as he comes back from a hamstring injury, though the Packers will be without him for the first two weeks of the season because of an NFL suspension. Ty Montgomery is the only healthy holdover from last year.On the other side, Raiders coach Jon Gruden calls his running backs the strength of his team even if the top guys haven't gotten to show much in the preseason. Marshawn Lynch had a 60-yard TD run called back by penalty on his only touch, and No. 2 back Doug Martin has one carry for 3 yards.Both could get a longer look when Gruden plans to play his starters into the second quarter."We're not going to play them a whole lot, but they will get some time," he said. "Hopefully they have some success."Undrafted rookie Chris Warren III has made the most of the time Lynch and Martin have spent on the sideline. Warren leads the NFL with 196 yards rushing this preseason.MVPS IN ACTIONThe third preseason game is usually when Bill Belichick uses his starters most. Last year, Tom Brady played about two quarters, then sat out the exhibition finale. Look for Brady, the 2017 league MVP, to be on the field at Carolina for perhaps the first half.Rob Gronkowski could see his first action of the year. The Patriots are also looking for help on the offensive line after losing tackle Isaiah Wynn, the No. 23 overall pick, in the last game. With Kenny Britt cut this week, the team will also be seeking depth at receiver, especially for the four weeks Julian Edelman serves his performance-enhancers suspension.2015 MVP Cam Newton and the Panthers' first-team offense will see their most extensive action of the preseason, playing into the third quarter. Newton has dramatically improved his accuracy this preseason under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, completing 71.4 percent as compared to a career completion percentage of 58.5 percent.Protecting Newton could be an issue as the Panthers will be without three starting offensive linemen due to injuries.O-LINE PROBLEMSMinnesota's task of improvement on offense begins with the line, where right tackle Rashod Hill and right guard Mike Remmers are expected to suit up against Seattle after sitting out the previous game with ankle injuries. Center Pat Elflein has been on the PUP list for the entire training camp Youth Chris Godwin Jersey , still rehabilitating from offseason ankle and shoulder surgeries. Left guard Nick Easton is out for the year with a neck injury."We're not the only ones in the league to be having these issues," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "We just have a few more than we should have at this point in time. It's life."Seattle's recommitment to being a run-first team will get a stiff test. The Seahawks believe they've strayed from their successful formula as NFC champions in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and re-establishing the run to control the game has been an offseason focus. While first-round pick Rashaad Penny won't play (finger), second-year running back Chris Carson is likely to see his most extensive playing time of the preseason.The Seahawks will also get long looks at second-year safeties Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson."ALL DAY" GETS A SHOTAdrian Peterson will make his preseason debut four days after signing with the Redskins.Coach Jay Gruden said Peterson's workload vs. the Broncos may depend on how much playing time the starting offensive line gets. Peterson will split carries with incumbent Rob Kelley, who emerged as the front-runner to start after rookie Derrius Guice tore the ACL in his left knee.Left tackle Trent Williams is still questionable as he comes off major knee surgery.Denver's defense played much better last week against Chicago than in the opener against the Vikings. Coach Vance Joseph said he wants his defensive identity to be "stopping the run" so the Broncos can turn loose the likes of Von Miller, rookie Bradley Chubb, Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray on the quarterback."Stopping the run and putting the offense in a one-dimensional phase, making them be a passing team so we can rush the passer. And, playing with a lead. That's important also for our defense. We do have great pass rushers, but if you don't have a lead, you won't ever see them come out," Joseph said.WHERE'S THE RUSHMatt Patricia was the defensive guru in New England, and now as head man in Detroit, his Lions have all of zero sacks this summer. He's not losing sleep over that as the Lions visit Tampa Bay."We're really not into stats here right now," Patricia said. "We're into evaluation. That's the biggest thing, and that's the most important process for us right now. Stats aren't going to get us anything as far as the regular season is concerned."Tampa Bay's top priority this offseason was improving a pass rush that ranked last in the NFL with 22 sacks. In addition to signing ex-Eagles linemen Beau Allen and Vinny Curry in free agency, the Buccaneers traded for Jason Pierre-Paul. Through two preseason games, the team has three sacks.MEADOWLANDS MATCHUPAs the Jets try to determine if first-rounder Sam Darnold is already their top quarterback, he might get to throw to two veterans for the first time. Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa (thumb) and Terrelle Pryor (ankle) could also see their first preseason action.Darnold, who started last week at Washington, took the bulk of snaps with the first-team offense during practice. He had a solid debut as the third-stringer in the preseason opener against Atlanta and was inconsistent against the Redskins. Bowles said he expects the starters to play a minimum of two quarters, so Darnold could be out there a while.Meanwhile, Giants running back Saquon Barkley, taken one spot ahead of Darnold, returned to practice on a limited basis. It seems unlikely that Barkley (hamstring) will play against the Jets.It also doesn't appear star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will make his preseason debut, despite being a full participant in practice. Beckham hasn't played since breaking his ankle last October White Chris Conte Jersey , and he might not see the field until the regular season begins."We try to be smart with it," coach Pat Shurmur said. "He's gotten so much work behind the scenes, we'll just have to see how it plays out."Buccaneers of the Week: at New Orleans After every game, we’ll break down the Buccaneers’ top five players of the week. Point values will be distributed to each, which will then be added up for our weekly Buccaneers of the Week Standings.The Buccaneers opened their 2018 season on Sunday with a 48-40 shootout win in New Orleans over the Saints. The victory improved Tampa Bay to 3-0 in season openers under head coach Dirk Koetter and set the team up well for its final two games without starting quarterback Jameis Winston. Let’s get right into our top five Bucs from week one.No. 5: Vernon Hargreaves III (One point)There wasn’t a lot to love about the Buccaneer defense on Sunday, but third-year cornerback Vernon Hargreaves had a pretty solid day. The pass defense as a whole was a problem, but Hargreaves was a consistent bright spot throughout the afternoon. He finished third on the team in tackles with seven (six solo), forced a fumble (that was returned for a touchdown by Justin Evans) and a pass breakup. None of the Saints’ explosive plays seemed to come at the expense of VH3, which can’t be said about too many other guys in the defensive backfield.Hargreaves’ versatility was a plus on Sunday, as he was able to rotate between the outside and slot positions as needed. His strong day was huge for Tampa Bay, especially considering the absence of veteran Brent Grimes. Hargreaves did leave with an injury after his pass breakup, so his status for next week is uncertain as of now. But as far as week one, he earned a spot in these initial standings.No. 4: Offensive Line (Two points)As a group, the offensive line was extremely effective on Sunday. The Bucs made some changes to the unit in the offseason, signing center Ryan Jensen, moving Ali Marpet from center back to guard and cutting J.R. Sweezy. It’s only been one game, but those moves look pretty good so far. The o-line was especially good in pass protection, allowing no sacks while holding up strong enough to allow Ryan Fitzpatrick to have a career day. Fitzpatrick doesn’t have as much success and the Bucs don’t put up 48 points without that quality play from the guys up front.Run-blocking was a little more hit-or-miss, but the group did what it had to do in that area. Peyton Barber found some holes in the first half to establish a run game that complemented the air attack. Per Greg Auman of The Athletic, the Bucs had 115 rushing yards on 30 carries, save for the kneel-downs in the final minutes: That was more than enough to get the job done in a game that included so much success through the air. With that effort and their excellent pass protection, the big men make an early debut in the Bucs of the Week standings.No. 3: DeSean Jackson (Three points)DeSean Jackson’s first season with the Bucs was a disappointing one. That, combined with the emergence of Chris Godwin, made the veteran somewhat of an afterthought heading into the 2018 season. Very early in Sunday’s game, he made a statement. After Tampa Bay fell behind 7-0, Jackson blew right past a defender to get open for a 58-yard game-tying touchdown. His day wasn’t over there. He ended up catching all five of his targets 146 yards and two touchdowns. D-Jax’s ability to be a deep threat was something that drew Tampa Bay’s interest before the 2017 season. He and Jameis Winston failed to get on the same page for much of last season Youth Mike Evans Jersey , which led to a dip in production. During training camp and the preseason, both Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick seemed to develop a better connection with Jackson. In Fitzpatrick’s case, it has clearly translated. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered a concussion late in the game. The Bucs are surely hoping his absence isn’t a long one, especially after Sunday.No. 2: Mike Evans (Four points)It was hard not to place DeSean Jackson at the No. 2 spot on this list, but Mike Evans’ one extra yard was the difference. Okay, no. But really, Evans claims this spot—even somewhat controversially— due to his competition. Going up against Marshon Lattimore and owning him the way he did was one of the more overlooked stories of Sunday’s game. Evans is one of the game’s top receivers, but had struggled against Lattimore last year and against the Saints as a whole throughout his career. He broke out of that on Sunday in a huge way. The Texas A&M product, fresh off signing a contract extension this offseason, caught all seven of his targets against New Orleans for 147 yards and a touchdown. A 50-yard touchdown catch in which he beat Lattimore was the highlight of his day, but the performance as a whole was a big reason for Tampa Bay’s win. The Bucs have a lot of talent at receiver, but if they’re going to live up to their full potential as an offense, they’re going to need Evans to be at his best. He was at his best on Sunday, that’s for sure. No. 1: Ryan Fitzpatrick (Five points)There was never a doubt as to who would claim the full five points in these standings this week, right? Ryan Fitzpatrick, at 35 years old, looked like the league’s best quarterback on Sunday. New Orleans’ defense didn’t look remotely ready for Fitzmagic to come out in full force. The veteran, playing in place of the suspended Jameis Winston, did much more than what was expected of him. He could’ve just come in, managed the game and dipped out after three games. That clearly isn’t his mindset.In the opening game of his 14th NFL season, Fitzpatrick set a new career-high for passing yards with 417. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for one, lowering his shoulder at the goal line to put the Bucs ahead in the first quarter. He was on fire all day, even picking up a clutch first down late in the fourth quarter by scrambling for 12 yards on 3rd & 11. Fitzpatrick was the man on Sunday, giving him the top spot on this week’s list.Updated Buccaneers of the Week Standings through week one:Ryan Fitzpatrick— 5 pointsMike Evans— 4 pointsDeSean Jackson— 3 pointsOffensive Line— 2 pointsVernon Hargreaves— 1 point
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