NFL Preseason Week One Preview — Thursday Night

Here’s an attempt at week one of the preseason. Because it’s the preseason and chances are you don’t know who is on the field in the 3rd quarter for each team, I’ll try and compile as many OFFICIAL depth charts as I can, and make at least one of these mini-headlines from each game as tacky and cliche as possible because… well… it’s a preseason preview and some it’s an inherently boring subject.

The game: Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets 7:00 pm ET



Good Grief, Moncrief!: If the season started today, third round pick Donte Moncrief from Ole Miss would be the back-up to TY Hilton, and logical 4th WR when the Colts go 4 wide, as well as the starting kick returner. One of the biggest concerns of Moncrief’s game when he declared was how raw he was, but it looks like he’s spent no time finding his footing in Indy, and could potential impact the pass heavy Colts sooner rather than later.

Mewhort-a-Mania?: The Ohio State tackle-turned-guard Jack Mewhort has already found his way to the starting lineup on the left side, and I’m pretty sure that he was another #TeamSully guy (at this point, I really just assume anyone good is #TeamSully and I don’t apologize for it one bit) who can hopefully make an impact when the games actually matter. The thing about being named an early starter is the expectation is that you’re ready and the pressure transfers over to keeping your job, not just getting better every day. He has a better haircut than Andrew Luck, though.

Can Trent Richardson Return To Form?: Trent Richardson was once considered the next great running back prospect, but something happened between then and now. Was that something Cleveland, or did the issues stem much deeper than that? I know there is still quite a bit of time between now and the actual regular season, but if he can’t have one good carry in the preseason, it’s tough to believe he can tote the rock 20 times a game when everyone on the field is trying really hard. Indy is such a boring team that this has to be one of the 3 storylines to watch, but I really don’t think they mind that out there in Indy.


Link to Depth Chart

Rex is Gonna Rex: There are three guys listed the starting running back on the initial depth chart, and either Rex is trying to prove it’s a competition (probably) or he’s switching the offense over to the flexbone (my hope, since they have the perfect quarterback Michael Vick waiting to be great on their sidelines) but either way, it’s kind of what we expect at this point. In his defense, choosing between Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson (I still believe), and Bilal Powell is made even more difficult when your backup quarterback is a better ball carrier than all of them. I wonder how often the idea of Vick playing running back pops up in coaches’ meetings. Has to be a pretty regular occurrence, right?

What Receivers and Tight Ends Crack the Rotation?: It’s going to be tough for any WR to see the field with three starting running backs, but the Jets’ strength might be in the depth of their wide receivers and tight ends, and the versatility of those tight ends. Jace Amaro can line up inline, in the slot, or split out wide, and is good from any of those locations, and the same might be able to be said about Zach Sudfield (won’t fall into this trap again) and David Nelson. More importantly, the Jets loaded up on as many small, quick receivers as they could, and guys like Jeremy Kerley, Jacoby Ford (Starting KR), and rookie Jalen Saunders (Starting PR) are going to be guys that can get separation and do things after the catch, matching up perfectly with what made Geno so successful at West Virginia.

Dee Milliner is Gonna Rex: I’m not entirely sure, but I’m pretty sure Dee Milliner made the claim he is the best corner in the NFL(?) and I don’t want to have to look this up. I just checked, and he did. Welp.


The Game: New England Patriots vs Washington Redskins 7:30 pm ET


Link to Depth Chart

Cool Depth Chart Bro: All of the rookies are listed behind veterans. Either their draft class was horrendous (they’ve never once had a bad draft according to experts) or they don’t care about your little depth charts.

The Patriot Way-Pump and Dump: Prepare yourself now for the impending “Ryan Mallett looks impressive” tweets, statements, and all of that. New England drafted Jimmy G to take over as Brady’s back-up (you think he’s been on any blind dates with Gisele’s friends?) and this preseason is probably the last ditch effort to try and build up Mallett’s value enough to trade him to whoever’s quarterback gets hurt first.

Easley Does It? (Three-for-three on bad puns): Is Dominique Easley listed as both a DT and DE because he’s going to play DE on rushing downs (if those even exist in the NFL anymore) and 3-or-5-Tech DT on passing downs (a la Michael Bennett in Seattle) to try and get interior pressure? If he can do this, the Patriots just got infinitely more scary on passing downs, because a quartet of Jones, Wilfork, Easley, and Ninkovich is going to be a handful for any team to try and block. Thoroughbreds like Easley can always find a way to make an impact.


Link to Depth Chart

Will the ‘Unofficial NFL Off-Season Champions’ win the preseason title?: Nobody has more off-season titles than the Redskins (meaning their moves are always the best and questioning them makes you a hater) and the best spin-artists in the world (I mean, they’ve had a blatantly racist team name for many years, but these guys somehow kept it this long without much opposition) are looking to spin whatever happens in these next four weeks into a preseason championship. Do your thing, Washington. We’re all just mad we can’t spin as good as you.

New Offense, Less Offensive?: Last season, the nickname wasn’t the only offensive thing on the field (Hey, come back! I promise this gets better.) as their offense and defense were both pretty bad, (facts only, you can’t be mad Redskins fans, I gave you the off-season title) but it looks like their offense might be better this year, because hiring a Gruden does those things (I almost called this Spider-2-Y-Banana, but I don’t want people to hate this) and they brought in DeSean Jackson, who is still really good at football.

Can’t Stop The Run: It sucks the Patriots are so against running the football, because Washington’s run defense last year was so bad, people expect a punchline to follow anytime it’s brought up. If they can do that, teams will be forced to pass on them, and at least Orakpo and Kerrigan are going to be running them down. If we see an added emphasis on that this weekend, that could be a very good sign going forward.


The Game: San Francisco 49ers vs.Baltimore Ravens 7:30 pm ET


Link to Depth Chart

The Redshirt Rookies: Although Marcus Lattimore isn’t ready to play yet, Tank Carradine is, and chances are he’ll be up against a 2nd string tackle who isn’t ready for that raw power. It’ll be interesting to see how he does, because it has serious implications for the future of injured draft prospects, who at times would free fall on draft weekend until a team decided to take a shot on them. Much bigger than just Tank.

Blaine Gabbert: He’s going to get snaps and if he looks anything better than horrendous, I don’t know if the sun will rise on Friday. Earth shattering implications are where I didn’t even make a funny headline.

(Carlos) Hyde Yo Kids, Hyde Yo Wife?: I’m not even going to write anything past this headline.


Link to Depth Chart

Inside-Out: Linebacker CJ Mosley and Defensive Tackle Timmy Jernigan, out of Alabama and Florida State respectively, were both top 50 selections for Baltimore in this past draft, and it’s been said that if you want to improve your defense, you start in the middle and work your way out. Baltimore seems to have followed this philosophy to a T, and their last 3 top 50 picks in the past two drafts have been the aforementioned Mosley and Jernigan, as well as Matt Elam, a FS out of Florida they selected 32nd in 2013. With other players like Arthur Brown, a second year player out of Kansas State, and Courtney Upshaw, a third year player out of Alabama who looks to play more on the edge than off the ball, the emphasis has been on one side of the ball for a reason, and the Ravens are stocked with defensive talent because of that.

Tyrod Tha God?: Tyrod Taylor is an early favorite for back-up QB of the preseason. QB Controversy brewing in Baltimore.

It Starts Upfront: Last year’s offensive line was an abomination, but on paper, it appears better. That’s what to watch on offense, as that Right Tackle spot is up for grabs, but the other spots are expected to be very decent this year, which would be a huge upgrade over last year’s efforts. Since we’re being real and a lot of people aren’t reading anything Ravens offensive line related, (don’t blame you, people not reading) if they’re anything less than atrocious, that’s a massive upgrade.

The Game: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs 8:00 pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals

Link to Depth Chart

Will AJ McCarron See Jet Skis Everywhere?:


Let’s Get Dennarded Up In Here: Their 1st round selection is their 3rd string corner at the moment, but he’s an absolute gamer and every snap in the crowded Bengals defensive backfield he gets he’ll have to earn. 2012 first round selection Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t cracked the starting lineup yet. That entire backfield will be hungry, each looking to fight their way into whatever role possible, and potentially a starting spot moving forward.

The Great Dalton Debate: Visor or Hat?

(I’m only sandbagging on this so the BrehCast can cover the match-up much more in-depth. I really hope they go into the predicted cranium accessory Andy Dalton wears on Thursday.)

Kansas City Chiefs:

Link to Depth Chart

Front Seven Heaven?: A position group of strength for the Chiefs last season added Dee Ford, and along with second year player Mike Catapano, some fresh faces look to add depth to a great, but starter dependent, defensive front. Any time to watch Dontari Poe is a great thing as well, even if it’s only for a few drives before he puts on a visor (hopefully he chooses a visor. Headwear selection is going to be huge to gather insight into the minds of these players) and watches from the sidelines. We’re probably not going to see a ton of the exotic Houston-Poe-Hali-Ford fronts because these games don’t matter, but there’s always hope we see it on one early 3rd and long situation.


Get it Right, Get it Tight: Even though Travis Kelce is going into his second NFL season, due to injuries that plagued his initial rookie season, it’s almost like he’s still a rookie. We don’t know much about how he fits into the Chiefs schematically, nor do we know how he fits playing time wise, but some of those questions will soon be answered as he looks to earn playing time this preseason. Coming out of Cincinnati, Kelce’s fantastic catching ability was enough to be selected 63rd overall in the 2013 draft, and hopefully he can return to form and be a viable option early and often in a scheme that relies heavily on the pass catching of their tight ends and running backs. Another name to watch is former basketball standout Demetrius Harris, who possesses the kind of raw ability it takes to get stashed on a practice squad for a year with limited football experience.


The Game: Seahawks vs. Broncos 9:00 pm ET

Seattle Seahawks:

Link to Depth Chart

Life After Lynch?: People can’t play forever, and at some point, Marshawn Lynch will be done in Seattle. If that were to happen sooner rather than later, who is the next man up? Is going to be Christine Michael or Robert Turbin? Right now, Turbin is listed ahead of Michael, but these depth charts don’t really mean all that much and I’m sure if one is far and away better than the other, they’ll be the head back-up and earn some meaningful carries this season.

Legion of Boom’s Baby Boomer?: Tharold Simon, a second year corner out of LSU, essentially redshirted last season, and this season is looking to become a major player in the Legion of Boom short term and long term plans. Schematically, he could not have found a more perfect fit than being a starting outside corner back for the Seattle Seahawks, but he may be a year away from what I’ve gathered from camp reports. I wouldn’t be shocked if he sheds that tag and shows he’s ready for major playing time by playing well in these four weeks.

Something’s Not Right on the Offensive Line: The wide open right tackle position is either a major concern or major opportunity, depending on how blindly optimistic you are on the Justin Britt/Eric Winston competition going on to fill the role vacated by recently released Michael Bowie. If you think this staff can’t possibly do any wrong, you’re probably really excited for a true competition for the spot, and if you’re someone who likes to call themselves a realist, you probably are nervous and/or hate the movie “Dead Poets Society” because you can’t relate to any sort of blind romanticism that comes from being a fan of the reigning, defending Super Bowl champions.

Denver Broncos:

Link to Depth Chart

Ammo ‘N Stuff: Rookie Cody Latimer and free agent Emmanuel Sanders are expected to at least replace the departed Eric Decker’s production, if not add more, as crazy and illogical as that sounds seeing as the Broncos were one of the most prolific offenses ever last year. Reports from camp is Sanders looks refreshed and Latimer looks like the real deal, and how both fit is something to watch for these four weeks.

“Practice last year was really unfair, so we brought in some more DB’s”: I totally made up this fake quote by John Elway, but hypothetically, if I were to ask him if he agrees with it, he’d probably say yes. Denver’s first round pick Bradley Roby is the early favorite to be the nickel guy, (which teams are running a whole lot now, making the draft choice one that makes sense) free agent addition Aqib Talib comes in to probably be the starting corner on the outside, and fellow free agent signee TJ Ward looks to bolster up the safety position. During the game, let’s see if they have any depth behind these stars, as that looks like that could be something that comes back to haunt them.

Sifting Through the Crowd: Which running back will emerge as the starter?: The Broncos are carrying seven running backs on their roster this weekend, and it’s almost a probability guarantee that one of the guys at the bottom of the depth chart does enough to make  the roster and get a few of the overall limited carries to be had. An early favorite would be Kapri Bibbs, a product of nearby Colorado State, and Juwan Thompson, strictly because he has the best sounding name out of all the running backs in Denver.


The Game: Dallas Cowboys vs. San Diego Chargers 10:00 pm ET

Dallas Cowboys:

Link to Depth Chart

This Too Shall Pass: The Cowboys offensive line made major steps in becoming an upper echelon unit for years and years to come, which they hope will give whoever is back there playing quarterback Thursday (and Tony Romo when it matters, he has been ruled out this week) enough time to contemplate the mysteries of life, waiting for Dez Bryant to get so wide open that the margin of error becomes astronomical.

They Too Shall Pass: The Cowboys defense might as well play their starters when San Diego has their 2nd string offense in. It would probably be a fair fight.

Pro-Tip: If you’re a Cowboys fan, you might want to watch as much preseason football as possible, as your team is going to be on that waiver wire relentlessly, trying to find starters from guys not making rosters around the league. Alright, maybe it won’t be that bad, but maybe it might. Stay tuned.

San Diego Chargers

Link to Depth Chart

Time Keeps on Whizzing by: Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has left San Diego for greener pastures better weather a head coaching job in Tennessee, and with that, we see even more changing around Philip Rivers, man who has seen some stuff, like three different head coaches and five different offensive coordinators. Hopefully they found the Reich guy for the job now. (please don’t close this in disgust, you’re almost there)

Green is the New Black (and New Gates?): Ladarius Green, a fourth round selection in 2012, is on nearly every fantasy football sleeper list, and in real football, he could become a huge part of the Chargers offense this season. We’ll see how much progress he has made this off-season and through training camp, and he’s a very likely candidate to have everything (good and bad) blown out of proportion by the same people that are relying on him having a breakout season and, spoiler alert, that might not consist of very few people in the San Diego area.

Quarterback Attack!: Last year, teams could do whatever they wanted to the Chargers defense, but with the addition of Jason VerrettJeremiah AttaochuBrandon Flowers (or the corpse of Brandon Flowers, we’ll soon see) and Ryan Carrethers, the Chargers hope to get to the quarterback faster and cover receivers better, hoping that will lead to a defensive performance that is closer to the middle of the league than the bottom.

Stay tuned for our preview of Friday’s games, as well as Saturday’s and anything else that comes up on the site. There might even be a BrehCast on the way.

Disclaimer: If I have anything factually wrong, let me know and we can fix that. Opinions are not facts.


Jake writes his biographical information in the third person to further confuse the reader. Yes, it is him writing his own biography, but he is writing it about himself, to get himself over as a serious football journalist. He is also a connoisseur of using the word connoisseur.


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