Week 1 is in the books for the NFL preseason. Who came out winners and losers?
Winner: Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome
One thing proven for over a decade is that the Baltimore Ravens never stay down for long. That is because they have one of the best general managers in the business in Ozzie Newsome. His magic touch (or just plain hard work) were felt yet again in the preseason opener against San Francisco. A few of his draft picks made early impressions including C.J. Mosley (five tackles and a sack) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (13 rushes for 71 yards). The machine may feature new parts, but it just keeps running.
Loser: Andrew Luck
The worst thing for quarterback in the NFL is knowing when the fate of the game can be out of your control. Andrew Luck is as deadly as they get when he has bare necessities, especially pass protection. It was spotty last year and threatens to be a problem against this year. Already two of his starting offensive lineman are down, one for the season. In a year charged with Super Bowl expectations, everything hinges on Luck. Given the outlook of his protection, that is not good.
Winner: Carson Palmer
Few veteran quarterbacks strike it rich late in their careers but it seems Carson Palmer is experiencing that good fortune with the Arizona Cardinals. He has an offense building around him that is richer in talent than it was in 2013 from the offensive line out to the wide receivers. Best of all he has an experienced head coach in Bruce Arians with a flair for offense. Palmer showed his potential for year two by dissecting what should be a pretty good Texans defense on 5-of-5 passing for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Loser: Rod Marinelli
Even the most master craftsmen can’t mold proper pieces with crummy tools. The Dallas Cowboys basically did that when they handed their defense to veteran coach Rod Marinelli. Already a unit coming off its worst year in franchise history, injuries have begun to strike before the season has arrived. Sean Lee is out. Henry Melton has yet to return and 1st round pick Demarcus Lawrence didn’t even suit up for the preseason opener against San Diego. The result? A pitiful 27-7 drubbing. Marinelli really does have the worst luck when it comes to front office help.
Winner: Marc Trestman
Nothing keeps a team relevant more than having depth at the quarterback position. Chicago proved that last year with Josh McCown, and it seems head coach Marc Trestman is continuing to show his magic touch at the position. Against Philadelphia, all four Bears quarterbacks combined for 407 passing yards and four touchdowns. That signals good things could be in the short and long-term for a city once bereft of modern offense.
Loser: The Seattle Seahawks mystique
On the tail end of their Super Bowl thrashing of the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks players and coaches were already thinking ahead to a possible dynasty. After all winning the biggest game 43-8 warrants it, right? What they forgot is that no league bursts bubbles faster than the NFL. Barely a few months after their coronation, Seattle was reminded it was a totally new year when those same Denver Broncos beat them in the preseason opener, including an opening drive touchdown by Peyton Manning and the starters. The mystique of the 2013 ‘Hawks is over. Welcome to 2014.