Preseason football came back in all its unspectacular glory this weekend.These games are a chore to follow, so here’s a rundown of what we learned while you weren’t watching.
The new kickoff rule is going to make football less fun: The NFL moved kickoffs up five yards to the 35-yard line this year. The result: 33% of kickoffs have been touchbacks so far this preseason, compared to 16% during the 2010 regular season. So expect a lot of anticlimactic kneeling this year.
Michael Vick played so well, Andy Reid benched him: The Eagles justified the hype with an eight play, 80-yard drive to start the preseason. Coach Andy Reid was originally going to play the first-team offence for the entire first quarter, but he saw enough on that one drive to pull Vick and Co. seven minutes into the game.
Tom Brady was “shocked”: The Golden Boy didn’t play in New England‘s mauling of Jacksonville. Afterward, Brady expressed his surprise: “We were ready to play. [Bill Belichick] told us the night before the game we weren’t playing, which I think shocked probably all of us, but it’s not like we can go put ourselves in the game.”
It’s not like New England needed him: They won 47-12.
Oh by the way, the Pats are looking to sign more old men: They’re working out veteran receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and veteran safety Darren Sharper today.
Cam Newton is a star: Call it premature, call it unjustified hype, but there was a definite buzz in the crowd when Cam Newton took the field for the Panthers on Friday night. He responded well, zipping a 30-yard pass up the seam to Greg Olsen en route to a 8-19, 134-yard performance.
Matt Stafford added fuel the Lions hype machine: The oft-injured QB was 6-7 for 71 yards and 2 TDs. It was against the Bengals, who are basically a glorified college team at this point. But still, this could be his breakout year.
San Francisco still doesn’t have a quarterback: The un-dynamic duo of Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick was sacked six times in the first half against New Orleans.
Ivy Leaguers are absolutely running rampant: Well, at least one is. Cornell alum Bryan Walters provided the best highlight of the preseason so far with this kickoff return TD for San Diego against Seattle.
Here’s the video:
The Jets and the Texans finish off Week 1 of the preseason tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
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