NFL Preseason Week 2: Five winners and losers
Week 2 of the 2013 NFL preseason has now concluded, and the starters generally played a few more series, giving us a snapshot of the season to come. How did everyone perform? Keep reading to find out who won and lost in week 2 of the preseason.
Quarterback Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns) – the second year quarterback showed well against the Detroit Lions, finishing 8-of-12 for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Coupled with a strong showing last week (113 yards, one touchdown), Weeden looks ready for the season and is the obvious starter in Cleveland.
Runningback LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles) – After a no show in week 1, ‘Shady’ McCoy put his talent on display in week two, picking up 47 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries for the Eagles against Carolina. McCoy also added three catches for 16 yards. After a disappointing season last year, McCoy could rebound with a top-five performance this season.
Runningback Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) – For the last few years, the 49ers have been searching for Gore’s replacement in the draft. To date, he hasn’t needed replacement. On his first carry against the Chiefs, Gore took it for 52 yards leaving defenders in his wake. He only needed the two carries in the game to show he was ready for the season.
Pass Defense (New Orleans Saints)– After a 2012 season in which New Orleans had (statistically) the worst defense ever seen in the NFL, big improvement is required. They seemed to show such improvement against Oakland’s first team offense, getting five sacks in the first half (rookie Glenn Foster with two) and holding the Raiders scoreless for the first 27 minutes.
Runningback Giovani Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals) – The short, fast Bernard performed well this week against the Titans defense, rushing for 37 yards off seven attempts, with a touchdown. That’s back to back weeks with a touchdown for Bernard, who looks likely to split regular season carries with Benjarvus Green-Ellis.
Rushing Offense (Baltimore Ravens) – Baltimore’s stable of backs was held to 13 yards off 10 carries against Atlanta’s first team defense, and only then 67 yards in the entire game. Ray Rice was especially held in check, with 8 carries for 10 yards. This is a stark contrast to last week, when the Ravens rushing game was solid with 128 yards and a 3.7 yard-per-carry average.
Passing Offense (Chicago Bears) – Starting quarterback Jay Cutler played for a quarter, and completed 4 of 5 with a touchdown, but only targeted Brandon Marshall (yes, all five times). Backups Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard combined for a total of 26 yards in the next three quarters as Chicago was shut down by San Diego through the air.
Quarterback Tim Tebow (New England Patriots) – There was talk in the offseason of Tebow having a chance to win the backup spot in New England. After this weekend’s performance, it doesn’t look likely, passing 1-of-7 for -1 yards and an interception against the Buccaneers. On the ground, he added 30 yards off six carries, but overall it was a dropoff from his performance last week (55 yards passing).
Tight End Dustin Keller (Miami Dolphins) – It’s commonly known that tight ends are the favourite target of a young quarterback, and Ryan Tannehill is no exception. This year his primary target may have been ex-Jet Dustin Keller, save for a season-ending knee injury that the tight end sustained against the Texans, when he was hit low from the side during a catch and his knee buckled awkwardly. Keller had had a touchdown reception in the opening preseason game.
Rushing Offense (Denver Broncos) – The Broncos were very average on the ground against the Seahawks, gaining only 76 yards on 28 carries, and losing the ball three times off four fumbles. This included a fumble on the Seattle goal line that Brandon Browner returned for a 106-yard score.
Preseason week three will start with two games on Thursday night, and continue over the weekend. Typically, NFL starters will play into the second half of this game in their final action before Week 1.