Week 2 begins imminently for the NFL preseason. Aside from Johnny Manziel, what are some other top storylines to watch for?
The raging battles on the Cleveland Browns offense
Of course the ongoing battle between Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer for the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback job is priority one, but the team also has heated battles elsewhere on the offense. A good example is at running back, where veteran Ben Tate and rookie Terrance West are vying for the starting job. With no clear winners at any position, it makes the visit to Washington on Monday Night must-see.
Aaron Rodgers protection under microscope in St. Louis
Don Barclay is out for the season, dealing the latest blow to the Green Bay Packers offensive line. Protecting Aaron Rodgers has become an annual problem for the team. NFL preseason or not, the Packers should expect little sympathy from the St. Louis Rams, who hope to unveil their dynamic pass rush featuring Robert Quinn, Chris Long and newest member Aaron Donald. Short as his night may be, Rodgers could get a taste of how his season will go in 2014 if his line struggles.
Bill O’Brien scrapes barrel for quarterback answers in Houston
Ryan Fitzpatrick was awful in his debut for the Houston Texans last week, leaving head coach Bill O’Brien with the same problem he started with when he took over the team. Where can he find an answer at quarterback? Apparently he’s willing to try every avenue, including giving Case Keenum first-team reps during practice. One way or another, it’s clear O’Brien is scraping the bottom of the barrel for help.
Darrelle Revis gets another crack at Eagles
News outlets were only too eager to report from New England Patriots training camp that cornerback Darrelle Revis was struggling mightily against Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin in inter-squad practice. Revis drew three holding penalties and was beaten for a touchdown in a two-day span by Maclin. Some wonder if Revis is taking it seriously. They should get an answer in short order when the two teams meet for real game action in Foxborough. Maclin likely won’t play due to a sore hamstring, but if the Eagles get the better of him again, then concern will definitely be raised.
Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings hope to test Indy run defense
There probably hasn’t been a more productive tandem of running backs in the preseason than Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams of the New York Giants. Their next test on the tour will be the Indianapolis Colts, a team that ended last season with all sorts of problems on defense stopping the run. Head coach Chuck Pagano has worked hard with his front office to fix the problems but if Williams and Jennings get going, the Colts won’t be able to hide from the questions or the doubts.