Not every player can afford to not take the preseason seriously. Aside from Johnny Manziel, who are some other notable names who need to play well?
Jonathan Cooper – G – Arizona Cardinals
The 2014 season might as well be a rookie campaign for guard Jonathan Cooper since last year was cut tragically short for him with a broken leg. Though his rehab went well, his standing with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians could be better. Unless he flashes that ability that made him the 7th overall pick in the preseason, he could continue watching from the sidelines.
Hakeem Nicks – WR – Indianapolis Colts
It’s never a good sign when a coach questions your conditioning, especially if you’re a veteran. That happened for Hakeem Nicks who was called out by Indianapolis Colts offensive cooridinator Pep Hamilton. He fully expects Nicks to join forces with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton to give Andrew Luck a formidable trio of targets. However like any good coach he won’t play a player who isn’t committed to the work.
Johnny Manziel – QB – Cleveland Browns
Thus far teammates believe Johnny Manziel has been anything but a distraction to the Cleveland Browns. He has acted professional and put in the work, which may explain why he has earned more reps in practice of late. Still, he sits behind Brian Hoyer on the depth chart heading in the preseason opener. Unless he starts making plays soon, it’s doubtful he will change the status quo in Cleveland by the end of August.
Jadeveon Clowney – DE – Houston Texans
Being the first overall pick in a draft comes with a lot of leeway in terms of patience from coaches, but also higher expectations from the fans. Jadeveon Clowney has picked up where he left off in college. At times he looks unblockable on the field, then suffers another nagging injury. The Houston Texans need him to make a statement in order to justify their faith in him. A few flashes in the preseason would suffice.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – FS – Green Bay Packers
Being a first round pick never guarantees a starting job in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers have made that quite clear to safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Since the beginning of training camp the Alabama product has gotten all the competition he can handle from second-year man Micah Hyde, a converted corner. Clinton-Dix can’t afford a letdown in preseason action or he risks falling too far behind.