SportsPulse: Trysta Krick overreacted to the top stories from this week's 2 NFL pre-season action. The high-profile rookie QB class looks good.
With Monday night is 20 -19 Ravens victory over the Colts, the second week of the preseason is through. This means that the most important game for each team is yet to come. The third week of the preseason is commonly known as the dress rehearsal game, where the starters get a good part of the season and much that the fans will see is the result of what happened on the weekend.
Here's a look at the winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.
Josh Allen: Though many considered him the least prepared for the elite quarterbacks in the draft, Allen could be the strongest event to start. On Friday's 19-17 win against the Browns, Allen led the Bills on scoring drives on each of the three series he played, going nine out of 13 for 60 yards and one result. Most impressively, Allen was attentive to his attentiveness and his posture, and his eyes wandered through his progressions when defensemen attacked him.
The latest sign of momentum? On Monday, the Bills Allen worked on the first string. In the afternoon, the team announced that it would start against the Bengals on Sunday.
The Jets: An organization that has spent years looking for a franchise quarterback in New York could suddenly have several options. Rookie Sam Darnold has impressed so far in his first training camp. Teddy Bridgewater made his comeback two years ago in a serious knee injury – he completed 10 of 15 passes for 127 yards with a touchdown and an interception – and might be the best option to play right now. And veteran Josh McCown is stable and an excellent leader in the locker room, although he is not a long-term option. The jets can go both ways, but an appealing route could be to appoint McCown or Darnold as QB1 and deliver Bridgewater in a deal to regain more assets.
James Conner: With the continued absence of Le'veon Bell from the Steelers, the stripped-down Conner takes advantage. Although he has played the ball only nine times this season – including five for 57 and a touchdown on Thursday's loss to the Packers – Conner has proved he can defend against defenders and contribute in the regular season. Take a look at this 26-yard scamper to see how.
Joe Flacco: He had some problems in the last few years because his supporting cast had no star talent, but Flacco looked calm and comfortable against the Colts. He completed seven of nine passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. But more importantly, he tried with Michael Crabtree (nice, zone strike, 29-yard deficit on the left sideline), John Brown (7-yard touchdown grab in traffic) and the close-ended Hayden Hurst (rapport) build up new rapports. 15 yard reception between defenders.
Tyreek Hill: The Chiefs receiver broke out last season and caught 75 passes for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns. All this, despite a passer-by in Alex Smith who was measured and avoided mistakes, sometimes sacrificing deep throws. With heavily-armed Pat Mahomes, who took on the starting quarterback job, Kansas City's 28-14 win saw what Mahomes did with Hill, one of the fastest players in the NFL, on that 69-yard touchdown can
Dez Bryant: In the long run, he claimed that he had to correct his mind before returning to football. The unsigned Bryant would have missed his best chance of focusing on an ascending list. Bryant tweeted the Premason Opening Match for the Browns live on August 9, announcing that he would visit the franchise. He did so on Thursday, but it was in the wake of star receiver Josh Gordon, who announced his return to the team after a long break while working on his mental health. Well, Cleveland obviously does not need Bryant, which means he probably has to wait to find a suitor.
Kirk Cousins: Granted, it's just a preseason game, so no need to overreact, and so last year proved that Jaguar's first-string defense is real. But cousins had a rocky night in a 14-10 loss, three out of eight for 12 yards. Cousins played four attacks, the offensive came in at three of them. Cousins is clearly the franchise quarterback in Minnesota, but Saturday's game could be an indication that there will be some growing pain against first-class defense.
AJ McCarron: It's bad enough that McCarron was the weakest of the three Bills quarterbacks on Friday's game, completing only three of six passes for 12 yards, but he suffered a shoulder injury that almost missed his shot at Buffalo Week 1 starter finished. The calculations said that McCarron is going through more tests to determine the severity. But with the regular season opener in less than three weeks, and Allen is making progress, and Nathan Peterman is keeping up with the competition, it's almost certain that McCarron will be relegated – again – to the bench.
Dolphins rush defense: They were in the middle of last season, allowed 110.5 yards a game (14th), and after losing 27-20 against the Panthers on Friday, Miami could have even more work to stop the floor game. On 31 transfers, the Panthers earned 226 yards (7.3 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns. Seventy-one came at once.
It even challenged Rams defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the Miami released in March to answer "Right up the Good lol" on the above video on Instagram.
The Patriots: Yes, it looked like Trent Brown would take on the left attack area, but every time a team loses the first round of a cunning Achilles, it's never good. Tackle Isaiah Wynn, who was ranked 23rd overall, should at least turn in the line-up scene and possibly be ready to take the right attack from Marcus Cannon. New England should recover from the loss, but it is a blow to a team that has already dealt with the departure of left-winger Nate Solder in free agency.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes USA TODAY Sports on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes
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