Trying to get heads or tails in the NFL preseason is still tricky, even if two of the three weeks in 2022 are done. The league’s teams continue to approach it in a variety of ways, with some opting to use starters, while others rely on training camp practices and increasingly common joint meetings with other clubs as proving grounds for August.
So it’s easy to get inspired when you see New York Giants fourth-year quarterback Daniel Jones complete 14 of 16 passes…until you remember him playing against Cincinnati Excellent performance when the Bengals reserve team. Or, good to know about the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, a team likely to rely on backup passers — Joe Flacco and Jacoby Brissett, respectively — to start the season, But neither veteran has played a game month this season.
Still, before Tuesday’s all-league lineup was cut to 80 players per team, the weekend saw a lot of good performances — and some worrying ones :
Cowboys WR KaVontae Turpin kicks off Saturday night’s TD against the Chargers.
KaVontae Turpin : The NFL’s 2022 MVP, who nearly locked the Dallas Cowboys roster thanks to Saturday’s performance. The 5-foot-9, 153-pounder is listed as a catcher, but his bones are a hit-back ace. Against Bolt, he had 12 points on a 98-yard drive return and an 86-yard drop return in the first half.
Rookie quarterback: The top three passers selected in the April draft all shine. Expected to eventually be the Pittsburgh Steelers successor to retiring Ben Roethlisberger, Kenny Pickett — the only QB in the first round of the year — plays The second impressive preseason performance came Saturday when Pitt’s product played against the starters and Jacksonville’s defense. His August stats: 19 on 22 attempts for 171 yards and three touchdowns — and zero turnovers. It seems unlikely Pickett will pass free-agent signing Mitchell Trubisky on Opening Day…but it’s equally unlikely that the rookie won’t be able to finish the season in the saddle.
Tennessee Titans’ Malik Willis starts the lineup for the second straight game and throws his first career TD pass a week later. He still needs a lot of polish, but has flashed enough passing threats to suggest he could have a job in QB2 before Week 1 and maybe even drive starter Ryan Tannehill out of the gate before next season begins.
Finally, Atlanta Falcons’ Desmond Reed wasn’t perfect on Monday night, but his 10 of 13 throws against the Jets for 143 yards higher efficiency. It may be a while before he replaces Marcus Mariota, but if the Falcons’ season goes as expected, Reed has a good chance of getting some starts in 2022.
‘Hard Knocks’ spectator: Detroit Lions and head coach Dan Campbell should be on HBO this Tuesday night Plenty of good material, after a couple of combined workouts in Indianapolis before a dramatic 27-26 win — a big thank you to the parts supporting QB David Blough and the defense — against the Colts on Saturday.
Kayvon Thibodeaux: No. 5 pick in the 2022 draft, this New York Giants pass “Only” escaped with a sprained MCL after the hand was borne the brunt of the pick-and-roll by Bengals TE Thaddeus Moss’ right knee on Sunday night. Coach Brian Dabore couldn’t guarantee his talented rookie would be ready for Week 1, but the results were still a relative relief given the nature of the game when Thibodeau was injured.
Romeo Doubs: Green Bay Packers rookie fourth-round receiver picks him up in weeks ‘s second TD pass and appeared to be back in QB Aaron Rodgers’ favor. “He’s expected to play based on how he’s been in training camp so far,” Rodgers said Monday, adding that the Dubs set himself a higher standard than the team’s most recent rookie pass receiver.
Matt Araiza: Famous “Punt God” from San Diego State, rookie replaces Buffalo veteran Matt Huck, who was released on Monday, didn’t even try to play on Saturday. Perhaps unsurprising considering that Araiza was drafted in the sixth round and launched for 82 yards the week before, while Haack produced a pair of 38 yards this month. It’s also probably not a big deal considering the Bills offense, which played four times in two playoff games last season, also looked good and didn’t allow for proper play. Araiza will likely spend most of the year at the K Tyler Bass spot.
Ravens rookie TE Isaiah Likely (80) had eight passes at Arizona State on Sunday.
Isaiah Apocalypse: The Ravens’ fourth-rounder grabbed all eight of his targets for 100 yards and a TD on Sunday. Given Jackson’s tendency to lean on his straitjacket, it could be a sizable contributor in 2022…even if Mark Andrews’ fantasy owners prefer him not.
Matt Patricia: It seems that long-time Patriots defensive assistant and former Lions boss The coach, who has “won” New England’s offensive command job after taking a role in Friday’s game, also made QB Mike Jones’ 2022 preseason debut. “He’s really starting to feel it,” Jones said of Patricia. “He’s easy to talk to on the sidelines. Very relaxed, laid-back coach, but he’s demanding a lot and I respect him. Hopefully we’ll be there for a long time. Hopefully Jones knows he will also talk a lot with Bill Belichick and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge, who shared game duties with Patricia in the preseason opener.
Jody Fortson: The Kansas City Chiefs’ backup tight end received QB Patrick Ma on Saturday Two TD passes for Holmes, who appear to be making a comeback after his 2021 season was cut short by an Achilles injury. Given KC’s reputation for using a triple tight, the prospects for this converted Wideout look promising.
Buccaneers: Tom Brady of Tompa Bay is back in the building after his halftime episode… …and shortly after the Buccaneers’ brutal offensive performance (174 yards, 3 points) in Nashville over the weekend.
Drew Lock: After a Jayno Smith-led offense looked completely uninspired and was shut out, He’s still alive to work for the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback Chica home to the Bears in the first half. Smith also hit his right knee. Losers
Drew Locke: Due to COVID-19 , he missed the loss that should have started on Thursday and missed the chance to distance himself from Smith. This is not the first time a virus has chosen Lock.
Buccaneers: TB12 loses another offensive interior offensive lineman after G Aaron Stinnie, who is retired A hybrid of Ali Marpet’s post, tearing multiple knee ligaments.
Tony Gonzalez: No respect for Fortson, but why is he — or anyone — allowed Wearing Kansas City’s popular Hall of Fame tight end No. 88 jersey?
Sam Darnold: Panthers quarterback missed Friday, preseason All threes were thrown (one TD) but still lost the starting job to Baker Mayfield.
Matt Corral: The Panthers quarterback did play on Friday… And suffered a Lisfranc injury that could cost the former Miss Ole star his rookie season. Coral is unlikely to see the field — if any — in 2022, but the prospect of surgery and rehabilitation will only hinder a career transition for the third-rounder.
Cowboys penalty: On the plus side, Dallas flags its game against Chargers The number was reduced from 17 in the preseason opener to eight. That number should have been lower, however, with McCarthy’s one offside, another call for an illegal formation, and two false starts the wrong measure.
Bryce Hall: Not to be confused with Jets rookie RB Breece Hall, a third-year New York team ‘s corner kicker – who started all 17 games last season – explains why he appears to be moving into the bench. Hall burned a 52-yard catch by Falcons TE Kyle Pitts on Atlanta’s first drive — not a lot of shame — but then surrendered a 13-yard TD to WR Olamide Zaccheaus on the next drive. Given that the selection is against rookie CB Sauce Gardner or Hall, a pretty good bet is who the opposing QB will choose.
Vikings backup QB: Reserves Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion are impressive enough that Minnesota State Traded journeyman Nick Mullens on Monday. Mond, a 2021 third-rounder starting Saturday, had two interceptions and — after former coach Mike Zimmer expressed disappointment with him in his rookie season — seems increasingly unlikely to replace Ke in the future G. Cousins.
CHARLES CROSS: Seattle’s first-round left tackle made four free throws before halftime , three of which were errors. A long-standing problem area, the Seahawks O-line, which will rely on Kroos and rookie tackle Abraham Lucas, is still a work in progress.
Cardinals alternate uniform: Sorry, the black helmet you’re planning to mix this season is useless. Still the owner of the league’s ugliest thread, this organization should take QB Kyler Murray’s advice…and throw it back or start all over again. FWIW, great advice from the Arizona social media team too…
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
This article originally Appearing on USA TODAY: NFL preseason winners, losers: Isaiah likely among standouts