Training camps have all broken and everyone has returned home for the second full week of preseason action. And new stories are breaking that have the NFL world up and paying close attention.
Say it Ain’t Joe
The Jets dodged a major bullet on the injury to Zach Wilson’s knee. The injury was relatively minor, and the surgery that he had didn’t reveal any further damage. He will be back in the lineup early in the season.
But until he does return the Jets are going with Joe Flacco at quarterback. New York won’t confirm it, but most medical experts agree that a Week 1 return for Wilson is unlikely, and that a Flacco start in Week 1 against the Ravens is a strong possibility. In today’s fast NFL, where mobility is the key to being a successful quarterback in this league, Jets head coach Robert Saleh is going to run out old and slow Joe Flacco.
Overall the Jets ranked 28th in Real Quarterback Rating, as tabulated by Cold, Hard Football Facts. But it was Mike White’s game in Week 7 against the Bengals that gave the Jets their biggest jump in the rankings. Wilson and Flacco had no such performance.
Just how long Saleh sticks with Flacco is worth watching.
Cleveland’s Center of Attention
The Browns like to run the football anyway, but now with Deshaun Watson out for at least the first 11 games of the season, they will lean on their running game more than ever.
They are powered by two great running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and they are a big reason the team finished 2021 ranked seventh by Cold, Hard Football Facts in Offensive Rusher Rating. But the offensive line is also a big part of why this team is so good on the ground, which is highlighted by a seventh ranking in Offensive Hog Index.
But the Browns have placed not one, but two centers on the injured reserve, and they are now down to Ethan Pocic as their number one center. He did start 10 games last year in Seattle, and he committed just one penalty. But as a second round pick in 2017, he has never quite lived up to expectations.
We shall see how the Browns offense moves the ball inside now that Pocic is at center. But if there are any missteps, don’t be surprised if they go looking for someone else.
Starless in Seattle
Thursday night’s preseason game for the Seahawks was the perfect opportunity for Geno Smith to prove once and for all that he is ready to be QB1 in Seattle. Drew Lock was out with COVID, and Smith was starting for a second straight week.
He was, however, not good at all. Last season he helped contribute to the Seahawks overall Real Quarterback Rating of ninth in the NFL. On Thursday he couldn’t lead the team on a single scoring drive. Seattle didn’t get a first down until their third possession, and they ended the first half – Smith’s half – with five total first downs and zero points.
Lock comes back next week, and he still has a chance to win the job.