NFL Preseason Week Two: What to Watch For

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Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen looks to his team during a break in the game with the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Vikings win 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Week Two Redemptions (Oakland, Tampa Bay, Houston)

When I look at the Raiders offense, I realize that they are actually pretty loaded. With WRs Rod Streater (888 yards), Denarius Moore (695 yards, 5 touchdowns), Andre Holmes (431 yards), and TE Mychal Rivera (407 yards and 4 touchdowns), and new additions in former Packers’ WR James Jones (817 yards in 2013, 14 touchdowns in 2012) and Browns’ WR Greg Little (1,821 career yards and 8 touchdowns in 3 seasons as a Cleveland Brown), I believe that the combination of Streater, Denarius Moore and Jones could be potentially one of the most dangerous in the NFL. Schaub and Carr should have plenty of receiving options to throw to.

During the Raiders’ week one loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the supposed “reinvented” Oakland Raiders passing game was mediocre at best. In total, the Raiders went 24 for 41 (58% completion) with 182 yards and one interception. The Raiders best QB was probably rookie Matt McGloin who went for 11-18 (61 completion percentage) with 90 yards. This upcoming week they will head off to Detroit to face the Lions who held the Cleveland Browns to just 43% completion. I think that this week against the Lions will be yet another proving ground for Matt Schaub and Derek Carr. In an Oakland passing game in which nobody has truly taken charge, perhaps a good passing defense is exactly what these QBs need to improve. I believe that week two sees at least one QB step up and make some plays. Out of the starting WRs, only Denarius Moore actually made plays last week. I think that preseason week two watches the starters get more involved in the passing game, helping Schaub and the passing game to improve.

If there is one team that’s due for a comeback it’s the Tampa Bay Bucs. I’ll admit they do have some concerns on their offensive line that they need to fix (they allowed 47 sacks this past season, 6th most in the NFL). In my estimation I don’t think Glennon is the future of the franchise. This past season he averaged only 176.5 yards per game (among lowest in the league), threw nine interceptions and fumbled the ball seven times. He wasn’t necessarily terrible, but at the same time he wasn’t even average either. With Doug Martin most likely coming back healthy next season and assuredly every other part of this Tampa Bay offense being back, the Bucs (and their new Head Coach) can now get down to business on the passing game. This off-season the Bucs went out and got Bear’s back-up Josh McCown. McCown in six games with the Bears played amazing football, throwing for 291.2 passing yards per game started along with 12 touchdowns and only one interception. After a brilliant three-week stretch where McCown went for 351.6 yards, 2.6 touchdowns and a 71.8 completion percentage, the Bucs took a chance on McCown, signing him for two-year, $10 million contract.

Unfortunately though, McCown didn’t play like a five million dollar man last week. In his first drive McCown went 2-4 for 20 yards and an interception. McCown was also sacked two times for -5 yards. As for Mike Glennon, he went 11-19 for 140 yards and a touchdown to Tommy Streater. The running game rushed 25 times for 82 yards (3.3 yards per carry average). In other news, rookie WR Mike Evans was held without a catch. I think that week two definitely sees some improvement. This week they’ll be taking on the Miami Dolphins who allowed Matt Ryan to complete all seven of his passes for 53 yards. I think that McCown most certainly steps up his game in week two against the fins. I think that Doug Martin re-establishes his dominance in Tampa. Last week was in all aspects a fluke, this week should be a true testament to the talent on this Tampa offense. If not, then the Bucs are going to have to work extremely hard to develop this offense. McCown has the talent, it is all about putting that talent into the game. Watch specifically for rookies TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and WR Mike Evans, if they get involved early, the Bucs could win this next game.

For the Houston Texans, Ryan Fitzpatrick is and probably will be the starter. The only problem is that Fitzpatrick has not been playing well at all. This past week Fitzpatrick went 6-14 with 55 yards and two interceptions. Surprisingly, Tom Savage went 2 for 3 with 14 yards  and Case Keenum went 3 for 5 with 29 yards. This upcoming week watch out for the way Fitz plays especially with pressure on him. Last game Fitzpatrick threw an interception due to pressure from the Cardinals. This week the Texans go into Atlanta to play a Falcons defense that allowed Ryan Tannehill to march down the field, complete 6 of 6 passes for 62 yards with a 6-yard TD pass to Brandon Gibson. The pressure is on Fitzpatrick to perform at a high level. If not, we could be seeing more of Savage and Keenum. If Fitzpatrick plays poorly, this game against the Falcons could be a potential test to see who could challenge Fitzpatrick’s starting spot.

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