When the hype becomes reality

Week 1 of the preseason is done and once again it was all over the spectrum. From injuries to the hype candidates, from quarterback questions to the problem candidates: SPOX editor Adrian Franke will bring you up to date after the start of the preseason.

Chicago’s offensive line is a problem

We all knew it wasn’t going to be an easy season in Chicago.

The new regime had inherited a cadre in need of radical change, which probably no outsider would criticize if it weren’t for Justin Fields. To have a young, potential franchise quarterback on the cheap rookie contract is a strong argument against at least one radical reboot of the squad. Primarily to ensure the quarterback’s development and meaningful evaluation, but also ultimately to take advantage of the window while he’s cheap.

Getting that balance right will define the Bears season and the first year of the new regime, and I can already imagine that the majority of discussions during the season will revolve around the offensive line.

Chicago’s preseason opener against the Chiefs was a clear point in that direction. With most of the starting lineup on the field, Fields regularly had no time in the pocket at all, the Chiefs attacked him heavily on play-action rollouts, and the running game saw no land.

Fields seemed even quicker to make decisions at times than last season, but with the line shaky, Chicago will also have massive problems building their new offense. The problems in the line continued even after several D-Line starters had gone home for the Chiefs. Here, Chiefs rookie George Karlaftis continued to shine with a strong debut – little consolation for the Bears.

Fields still had some very positive moments in his first game under the new regime given the circumstances. But this offensive line will be in focus right at the start of the regular season against a very dangerous 49ers front.

Quarterback duel in Seattle remains open

Mitch Trubisky in Pittsburgh and Baker Mayfield in Carolina both appear to be the frontrunners, Marcus Mariota has already been declared the starter for the Falcons – the real open quarterback duel this preseason is in Seattle, and after the preseason opener, Keep should swing the pendulum roughly in the middle.

Geno Smith, probably a little ahead, started against the Steelers and had an up-and-down game. His best drive was the 2-minute drive before halftime, while Drew Lock, who played the entire second half, made a few better impressions against multiple backups, but also fumbled Seattle’s game-winning drive.

We all knew it wasn’t going to be a high level duel. So far, I don’t really understand why the Seahawks would want a lock as part of the Wilson trade; if they wanted more of the reliable, consistent game manager and ball distributor of the post-Wilson era, Lock would have been one of the last young quarterbacks in the league I would have bet on. Now it remains to be seen whether his upside or Smith’s comparatively higher consistency will prevail. That will remain an issue for the rest of the preseason.

It’s worth noting that while Seattle played most of the starting offensive line, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Freddie Swain, Dee Eskridge and Marquise Goodwin all had wide receivers who weren’t expected to play a role in the regular season, at least originally. was of the party.

Asleep or overreacting?

Week 1 of the preseason is also the perfect opportunity to get an idea of ​​some of the young players who may have gotten a lot of hype in camp – and consider whether to continue the praise. Hype is always at your own risk, but here are a few candidates I had in mind before the preseason started that, at least for once, did nothing to curb my hype:

Romeo Doubs, WR, Packers: Has any player received more camp media attention than Romeo Doubs? I really doubt that, and to some extent it’s also a perfect situation for the Packers’ rookie receiver: Green Bay is a title contender, but after the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the wide receiver corps, it has Totally reordering. it is that formative history around the team, and when a young player not only plays himself in the foreground, but stands out almost every day in camp, it naturally comes into focus all the more. In the preseason opener against San Francisco, he continued that with a 33-yard touchdown catch that showcased his downfield playmaker qualities. Doubs was already a staple of my camp recaps, and the days when you could get him as a late flyer in fantasy drafts may soon be over.

Greg Dortch, WR, Cardinals: There was no more training camp hype for a Cardinals player. It felt like every day Dortch was there with a spectacular catch, the former undrafted free agent spent last season on the Cardinals’ practice squad and now appears to have a real chance to not just make the ’53 roster, but a part in finding the offense. He also had against the Bengals again a catch worth watching, like a 55-yard punt return. That role could further cement a roster spot for him if Arizona moves Rondale Moore away from return duties in pursuit of a bigger offensive role.

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