Key Takeaways from the 2023 NFL Preseason
As the NFL preseason concludes and the regular season approaches, football fans have had the opportunity to witness a glimpse of what's to come. From quarterback competitions to contract dramas and the evolving strategies of coaches, this preseason has given us valuable insights into the state of the league. Let's dive into some of the lessons we've learned from the NFL preseason.
Clarity in Quarterback Competitions
The preseason has shed light on some intriguing quarterback battles across the league. Notable among these was the San Francisco 49ers' decision to name Brock Purdy as the starting quarterback, while sixth-year pro Sam Darnold secured the backup role over 2021 third-overall pick Trey Lance, who was subsequently traded to the Dallas Cowboys. In Tampa Bay, Baker Mayfield emerged as the starter, taking the reins from the legendary Tom Brady. Washington chose 2022 fifth-round pick Sam Howell as their starter, signaling a new era under Josh Harris ownership. The Colts named rookie first-round pick Anthony Richardson as their starter, continuing their trend of
changing starters each season.
Jury's Out on New Packers/Jets QBs
The preseason marked Aaron Rodgers' debut with the New York Jets, showing promising signs in limited action. Jordan Love, Rodgers' successor in Green Bay, demonstrated his potential with strong performances in the preseason, aiming to establish himself as the Packers' full-time starter. Both quarterbacks have generated excitement, leaving fans curious about how they'll perform in the regular season.
The Rise of Joint Practices
Joint practices have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional preseason games. These practices offer controlled environments where teams can simulate game scenarios, work on specific aspects of their game, and reduce injury risks, especially for quarterbacks. Many teams have embraced joint practices, finding them more beneficial than traditional preseason games, as seen in the comments of Rams coach Sean McVay.
Contract Drama Looms Large
The preseason has highlighted contract negotiations that could impact the regular season. San Francisco's Nick Bosa, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has been holding out for a record-breaking contract extension. Similarly, Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs has indicated he's willing to miss games to secure a favorable deal. Running back Jonathan Taylor's situation with the Colts has generated trade rumors, with the team reportedly seeking a first-round draft pick or equivalent compensation.
Coaches Empowering Assistants
Coaches have been exploring innovative ways to elevate assistant coaches during preseason games. Titans coach Mike Vrabel took a unique step by having assistant head coach/defensive line coach Terrell Williams step in as acting head coach, providing valuable experience and exposure for assistants. This trend showcases coaches' willingness to invest in the development of their coaching staff.
First-Round Rookie Quarterback Report
The preseason offered a glimpse into the development of first-round rookie quarterbacks. Bryce Young faced challenges behind a struggling offensive line in Carolina but showed improvement in each appearance, impressing Panthers coach Frank Reich. In Houston, C.J. Stroud and Davis Mills competed for the starting role, with Stroud's performances improving over the course of the preseason.
The 2023 NFL preseason has provided valuable insights into quarterback battles, contract negotiations, coaching strategies, and the progress of rookie quarterbacks. As the regular season approaches, these lessons will continue to shape team dynamics and player performances. Fans can anticipate exciting matchups and intriguing storylines as the NFL journey continues.