Mike Tanier's Monday Morning Digest, Week 1

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Each week during the preseason, Digest will dig deeper than the highlights and lowlights to catch you up on the progress of this year's first-round rookie quarterbacks as well as their teams' mentors/competitors.


Josh Allen

How he looked: Allen's deep throws look like Dragon Ball Z attacks, but his bloopers are extra bloopy. He displayed just enough mobility and awareness to ease concerns that he's little more than a Medieval catapult with a face. It's easy to imagine Allen having early NFL success launching rockets for a team with a great offensive line and the league's most dynamic receivers. Unfortunately, he plays for the Bills.

How the mentors/competitors looked: Ordinary Twin Powers: Activate! Nathan Peterman took the shape of a second-year quarterback seizing a starting opportunity until he killed a drive with a sloppy interception on what should have been an easy throw. AJ McCarron took the form of a quarterback who will collect paychecks for a decade by floating passes to wide-open receivers against second-string preseason defenses.


Sam Darnold

How he looked: Darnold delivered some promising throws. He was also careless with the ball a few times and appeared to regress as the game went on. His 13-of-18 stat line is padded with lots of dump-offs in the flat. It was a strong rookie debut but not the best of the weekend. Jets fans are used to rookie quarterbacks so bad that they cannot be trusted to mop fourth quarters, so they are allowed to get a little carried away.

How the mentors/competitors looked: Teddy Bridgewater looked like your basic mid-tier NFL starter, which is what he is. The Jets are showcasing him as trade bait for a team in need of a potential Plan B starter or elite backup. Nobody tell them that they are a team in need of a potential Plan B starter or elite backup.


Lamar Jackson

How he looked: His touchdown scramble was tasty. The ball placement on downfield throws was random, though the 7-of-18 completion rate was marred by some bad drops by receivers. Mechanically, Jackson looked more like an NFL quarterback than he did in early training camp or in the Hall of Fame Game, which is encouraging but not even close to opening day starter-level encouraging.

How the mentors/competitors looked: In camp and in his brief Thursday cameo, Joe Flacco looked more like 2010-12 Flacco than 2016-17 Flacco (though you need a precision-calibrated Flaccometer to tell the difference). Robert Griffin III was effective in late-game work and could stick on the Ravens roster as more than just a citronella candle for warding off Colin Kaepernick questions.


Baker Mayfield

How he looked: It may have been the most impressive Browns rookie debut since Bernie Kosar. Don't get hung up on the low 11-of-20 completion rate; Mayfield slid around the pocket and delivered passes down the field. Not every pass was pretty or advisable, but in early August you should judge a rookie quarterback by his poise, confidence, decisiveness and (oh yeah) his talent.

How the competitors/mentors looked: Tyrod Taylor breezed down the field on a lightning-quick no-huddle touchdown drive during which the whole Browns offense looked like it was wearing rocket skates. Maybe there's something to this wacky strategy of letting the capable, dynamic veteran start while the rookie adjusts.


Josh Rosen

How he looked: Rosen made two highlight-reel plays: a 21-yard strike to Gabe Holmes after side-stepping two Chargers pass-rushers and a back-shoulder sideline throw to Greg Little (who could not get both feet down to make the catch count). He also coped with several terrible shotgun snaps. But a defender also dropped a likely pick-six, and Rosen sprayed a few off-target passes into dangerous locations. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't Mayfield/Darnold-level encouraging.

How the competitors/mentors looked: Sam Bradford threw just one pass (triple-checks to make sure both of Bradford's knees didn't burst into flames or something) before leaving the game so Rosen could get his work. Digest refuses to acknowledge the continued employment of Mike Glennon. Someone named Chad Kanoff finished the game, but that may have just been Glennon switching jerseys to collect two paychecks.

Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2790230-monday-morning-digest-overreacting-to-preseason-week-1

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