5 Things We Learned – Week 3 of Pre-Season
1. Sam Bradford Can Lead the Eagles Deep into the Playoffs
On Saturday evening we saw the brilliance of a healthy Sam Bradford surrounded by a group of offensive weapons in a high octane system. Bradford in his days with Oklahoma was a beast to say the least and with his counterpart DeMarco Murray alongside him they wreaked havoc, on Saturday night it was a blast from the past for at least a quarter.
Sam Bradford finished with statistics of 10/10 passing 121 yards and 3 touchdowns, Bradford threw some fantastic passes, none better than the ball he glided over the shoulder of a Green Bay defensive back to Running Back Darren Sproles in the left hand corner of the endzone.
A healthy Sam Bradford could make this Eagles team potent, Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez both lead the Eagles to a 30 point per game average, Sam Bradford is a far more accurate and talented Quarterback than both Foles and Sanchez. Health being the Achilles heel, if Bradford manages 16 games expect the Eagles to feature at the top of the NFC and average more points than ever before.
2. E.J.Manuel Impressive, but Tyrod Taylor is Rex’s Man
The Bills quarterback competition seems like it’s coming to an end, Rex Ryan has his eyes set on one man and Tyrod Taylor will finally get his shot as an NFL starting Quarterback. This is how we think everything will play out but then again does anyone know what Rex is thinking at any point in time?
E.J.Manuel has been extremely impressive this pre-season, Manuel has thrown 4 touchdowns and had QB rating’s of 123.4, 112.5 and 158.3 in his 3 stints as the QB. Tyrod Taylor has yet to register a passing touchdown which some may say gives Manuel the edge but when you look at consistency and accuracy throughout the 3 pre-season games Taylor wins by the skin of his teeth.
One element to Taylors game that certainly helps is his dual threat ability, with a stacked backfield and a run heavy offence, having Taylor be able to scramble up the field for yards and keep broken plays alive with his legs does him wonders when decision time comes for the Bills QB’s.
3. Darren McFadden may have put Himself Ahead of Randle in Cowboys Running Back Battle
The Cowboys running back battle was always going to be an interesting one, Joseph Randle is an explosive playmaker out of the backfield, small in size but not in heart nor speed the question lingers can he be an effective 3 down back for the Cowboys. Darren McFadden has the size and talent to give the Cowboys what they are looking for at running back but the question with Run DMC is his health.
Both backs have been average so far, in week 2 Randle seemed to put himself in front after McFadden’s 4 attempts for 3 rushing yards, but week 3 saw McFadden rush for 37 yards off 4 attempts averaging over 9 yards per carry. It’s a very small sample size and the competition is still tight but with the two likely to sit out Week 4 McFadden did himself no harm by pulling off his best performance in his final pre-season game.
4. Atlanta need to protect Quarterback Matt Ryan
The Falcons are a team many predict to make the leap this year from mediocre to potential division champions. Although the Panthers and Saints are potentially deeper teams they don’t possess a QB/WR duo of which the Falcons do in Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
Having two players like that in your team always gives you a chance in a poor division but the big concern for us with the Falcons is the protection of their Quarterback when faced with a solid pass rush. On Saturday night the Falcons faced their toughest test yet in the Miami Dolphins, Matt Ryan had barely been touched all pre-season but that dramatically changed this week.
Let’s face it Matt Ryan has never had exceptional protection and still managed to stand as one of the better Quarterbacks in the league but to be sacked 3 times in the pre-season is just too much. Not only is it worrying for Ryan but Tevin Coleman the Falcons rookie running back was stuffed for losses in the backfield more than a handful of times. If the Falcons are to be a serious playoff contender this season they need to work out how they get their front 7 to function at a higher level.
5. We May Have Seen the Last of RG3 as the Redskins’ Quarterback
After last season you would have thought we were done with the Robert Griffin, Jay Gruden saga but after this week apparently not. After being concussed in Week 2, Griffin was at first cleared to play in Week 3 only to be held back by a neurologist later that week gifting Kirk Cousins the start.
Cousins was solid in his first start in the pre-season, completing 20/27 and although he did throw an interception Cousins then threw a touchdown and led the Redskins down the field again for another score. Week 3 is often looked at as the curtain raiser to the season, Cousins started the game and played well and has definitely put himself in a position to take that starting role from RG3.
Head coach Jay Gruden said that no decision will be made until after the medical team has cleared Griffin to practice, with limited snaps in the pre-season Griffin certainly hasn’t helped his cause to be the Redskins week 1 starter.