The first weekend of the NFL preseason was greeted with great passion, energy and trepidation. It didn’t matter that the top stars would play a series or two before stepping to the sidelines for the night. No, fans lined up in droves to cheer the return of football and to evaluate young talent. Rookie quarterbacks Paxton Lynch of the Broncos, Carson Wentz of the Eagles and No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff garnered the most attention. All were left in the dust by another rookie signal caller.
There was much to like about Lynch’s outing against the Bears. He was efficient and displayed good pocket presence. But, since he was the third quarterback for Denver, there’s an asterisk over the optics.
Wentz was battered by the Buccaneers and left with a rib injury that may end his preseason. The Eagles are heavily invested in their veteran quarterbacks, so Wentz wasn’t anticipated to see action this season. However, he absorbed punishment and will now miss significant time. The game also exposed some of the fears about the Philadelphia offensive line (remember, Lane Johnson is facing a 10-game ban).
The spotlight game occurred in Los Angeles, as the Rams made the Coliseum home before a crowd of nearly 90,000 spectators. We can quibble about the number of Dallas Cowboys fans in attendance (the Cowboys summer in Oxnard, CA). That takes nothing away from the enthusiasm of Los Angeles football fans eager to see some summer hitting.
Goff was expected to see ample action against the Cowboys. He completed 4-of-9 pass attempts for 38 yards with an interception before leaving with a shoulder injury. Don’t worry. He’s still set to be available (as of now) for Week 2 of the preseason.
Goff’s debut, and even the performance of Sean Mannion, who guided the Rams to a dramatic comeback victory (with three touchdowns), couldn’t compare to that of the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. Prescott completed 10-of-12 pass attempts for 139 yards with two touchdowns. He demonstrated an immediate rapport with top wide receiver Dez Bryant. Just go back and watch the touchdown toss.
If only for a moment, the Cowboys have seemingly put aside concerns about their backup quarterback position. Jerry Jones told TMZ that he had no interest in former golden boy Johnny Manziel. His reason was simple – “Dak Prescott.” The Cowboys had inquired about Cleveland backup Josh McCown, but the asking price was reportedly too high.
I suspect that the Cowboys still look to add a veteran arm once things shake out and players are released during the preseason. As impressive as Prescott was in Week 1, the Cowboys have bitter memories of a 2015 season gone wrong following Tony Romo’s injury.
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