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Preseason Thoughts on 08/12/2021 Thursday’s Games

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The first full week of preseason football has arrived! Here are my thoughts on both games from Thursday Night.


Last week’s preseason game was just an appetizer, for the next few months we will have football multiple times a week. A football fan’s dream.

In this article, I’m going to give my thoughts on players you should watch, based on their performance in the two preseason games. I will be breaking it down by position battle for each team, so let’s dive into it!

Washington Football Team

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Battle For QB1

According to head coach Ron Rivera, there will be two players battling for the starting job in Washington. Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke. Even though Fitzpatrick only played two series, he was more efficient and looked like the veteran this team needs under center.

Heinicke didn’t look all that great, and if he can’t improve his play he could be in danger of losing even the backup job. I believe starting is Fitz’s job to lose, but this will be a battle to keep an eye on as we move closer to opening week.

Battle For WR1 & WR2

We know that Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel will be starters, but what we don’t know is who will be the starting WR3? Will it be Adam Humphries or Dyami Brown? We also don’t know who will be their backups. Here’s who I believe will be battling for those jobs: Steven Sims Jr., Cam Sims, Isaiah Wright, Kelvin Harmon returning from injury, and Antonio Gandy-Golden.

If tonight’s game is any indication of who the WR3 could be, then Brown seems to be the answer. Besides Brown being younger than Humphries he also outperformed him. Brown was slightly more productive on two more targets. Next week’s dress rehearsal should provide more answers.

Even with Cam Sims not playing in this game, the other guys didn’t do much to provide any clarity. Steve Sims Jr. made the most of his one reception for whatever that’s worth.

Battle For TE2

Logan Thomas is the TE1, having signed a contract extension, this off-season. With Jeremy Sprinkle (Dallas) gone, it’s a wide-open competition for the backup job. Here’s who I believe it will be between –  Temarrick Hemingway, John Bates, Sammis Reyes, and Ricky Seals-Jones. Sammis Reyes was the most productive of this bunch, but this will take all of the preseason games to iron out.

New England Patriots

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Battle For QB1

Much like the Washington quarterback situation, the week 1 starter hasn’t been named yet. What’s different about this battle though is both Cam Newton and Mac Jones have had solid camps. The Patriots know what they have in Cam, so it made sense for them to give Mac the majority of the team’s snaps in their first preseason game.

While next week’s game could provide more insight into this battle, I believe that this will go down to the wire. While Mac is the future, Cam is the veteran. Considering the moves the Patriots made in the off-season, they should be viewing themselves as competitors in 2021. Also, head coach Bill Belichick likely won’t tell us any relevant information until the last possible minute.

Battle For RB2

It’s looking like Damien Harris will be the RB1 for the Patriots and their run-heavy offense. So that leaves three players to battle for the RB2 job in a backfield that has been hard to nail down in years past. Sony Michel, James White, and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.

What was clear is how effective the rookie Rhamondre Stevenson was, even if it came in the second half against backup defenders. As far as White and Michel, White played a role in the passing game and Michel played a role in the ground game. Not really much change to either of their roles.

Battle For WR3

I believe the week 1 starters will be newly signed Nelson Agholor and Patriots veteran Jakobi Meyers. Neither are overly exciting given the style of offense the Patriots run. So that leaves N’Keal Harry and Kendrick Bourne to battle for the WR3 role. Neither player did much of anything in this game against Washington. I think Harry has the inside track, but whoever wins this job will only be relevant in the event of an injury to either of the starters.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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If you missed the article I did last week on this team, be sure to check it out here. For the Steelers, I’m going to update what I saw today and if anything has changed from last week.

Battle for QB2

With this being the second preseason game for Pittsburgh we thought we had an idea of how this competition was going, but I guess not. For the second week in a row, Mason Rudolph started, but this was the first game in which Dwayne Haskins looked like the better option. Next week’s dress rehearsal should tell us more about who has the inside track to be Big Ben’s backup.

Battle for RB2

Of the names I mentioned last week, only two of them played in this game. Jaylen Samuels and Anthony McFarland Jr. both had a touchdown and saw pretty equal work, with Samuels having one more carry and more rushing yards. Neither running back separated themselves in this game.

Battle for WR2

Anthony Johnson once again made the most of his limited opportunities, hauling in the only receiving touchdown in this game. A couple of other wide receivers shined in this one, Rico Bussey Jr. and Cody White.

Philadelphia Eagles

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Battle For QB1

This is more of a reflection on how week 1 starter, Jalen Hurts did. What would make this sort of a battle, but not really, is if Deshaun Watson is traded to the Eagles. Jalen Hurts only played for two series and didn’t look all that great. You’d think the potential franchise quarterback would see more than just two series. What I did notice was how often he targeted his tight ends, four of his seven passes went to them.

Battle For WR1

There are four players battling for three starting wide receiver spots. Greg Ward Jr., Jalen Reagor, rookie DeVonta Smith (will miss 2-3 with an MCL injury), and Travis Fulgham. Once Smith gets healthy this will be a battle to watch, but if he can’t get healthy before the season starts, then I guess I would take Ward as the Eagles WR1 for fantasy.

Battle For TE1

As of right now Zach Ertz is still on the roster and is the TE1. However, if he gets traded before the start of the season, then Dallas Goedert would take over. It looks like quarterback Jalen Hurts has targeted both of them a lot during practices and in their first preseason game. Maybe there will be a role for both in 2021?


THANK YOU FOR READING! IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ANY OF MY TAKEAWAYS FROM THESE TWO PRESEASON GAMES, LET ME KNOW! FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER AT @MORGANMCLANE AND FOLLOW @IDPGUYS.  DON’T FORGET TO ORDER THE IDP GUYS ROOKIE DRAFT GUIDES.

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