Week 3 of preseason is the probably the only week you get to see a lot of starters participate. So rookies who started this week got a reality check of what the NFL is like. Some felt the pain and others managed to leave the game with a smile.
5. Josh Rosen
Rosen did not play week 3 after suffering a thumb injury. A minor injury, nothing major. Overall, he has one touchdown and no turnovers this preseason with 148 yards. Not the best numbers but the Cardinals offensive line made it hard for Rosen to show out in week 1.
4. Josh Allen
Bills offensive line let the Bengals run all over them and Allen paid for it. First half, Allen was pressured every snap causing him to miss his receivers down field ending up with only 34 passing yards. After the fifth sack, Allen took a hit and banged his head hard on the turf right before half time. He was brought into the locker room but later cleared to play. However, Nathan Peterman took over in the second half and ended up with 200 yards and touchdown. Peterman lucked out and was only sacked once (second or third string defense must have been playing).
Allen told ESPN that he “didn’t do a good job getting ball out on time.” This is his first game not scoring a touchdown.
Not all the missed catches were on Allen and Bills offensive line continues to struggle. He still drops down two spots on my list for this week. It’s still uncertain on who the starting quarterback will be according to Buffalo News.
3. Lamar Jackson.
Even though he’s not considered to start, Jackson is playing like he is. As the dual threat, he managed to get a touchdown using both his speed and arm. Previous games it was one or the other. In this game you saw how dangerous he can be when he’s forced out of the pocket. Ravens offensive coordinator said, “Lamar is dangerous anywhere on the field. He’s a unique and uncommon athlete.” Like with his rushing touchdown drive, he juked Dolphins defense and sped for 19 yards. Similar to what Robert Griffin III did earlier in the game with his 21-yard rushing touchdown.
Jackson closed the game with 98 passing yards and 39 rushing yards.
His rating went from 42 week one to 134.6 quarterback rating this week. He has improved every game since the first preseason game and gets a boost on my list.
2. Baker Mayfield
His first encounter with a first team defense and it showed in his numbers. His footwork was still good but Eagles defense sacked him twice plus an interception. Nonetheless, it was his first interception, he played it safe never forcing a pass to a receiver that wasn’t open, threw it out of bounds instead of taking a loss and ran it himself when he could. This time around, the Browns balanced it out between Mayfield and Nick Chubb. Mayfield threw 8 for 12 for 76 yards and Chubb had 14 carries for 46 yards.
More of a defensive game with a final score of 0 – 5, Browns winning their second preseason game.
For the first time, Mayfield drops a spot since I wasn’t that impressed and he was playing with Browns first team offense. When it comes to starting, Mayfield knew it was a big possibility he wouldn’t get the spot. “They’ve been very honest. I knew that from the get-go. I’m a team guy, always. I knew that my role once I got here was to help change this thing around and help us win. Right now, that’s getting my reps and getting better,” said Mayfield per Cleveland Browns. He will get his first NFL start in the preseason finale against the Detroit Lions this Thursday.
1. Sam Darnold
Darnold is comfortable with the Jets offensive line and for a pocket quarterback, that’s a blessing. His first drive against the first-team Giants defense was a 75-yard scoring drive. When third down conversions come, he feels no pressure as he ran for 15 yards on a 3rd and 13 in this game.
His numbers weren’t eye-catching (8/16b for 86 yards, 1 touchdown and 13 rushing yards), but missed catches by receivers and offensive penalties were a factor.
Like I’ve said, he reminds me a lot of an old Jets quarterback, Chad Pennington, and can turn the Jets around. They need it.
Today, it was announced Darnold will be the starting quarterback. Cris Carter said on First Things First that Darnold has what New York needs. “He’s got a good support system around him as far as his family. His feet are on the ground… Sam Darnold, I believe, has the right stuff.”
He’s the youngest quarterback to start since 1970.