Posted on August 3, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The wait is over. As of Thursday night, when the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens opened the preseason with the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL is back! Like most preseason action, it was not a good football game. It was barely entertaining.
But it was football. To many fans, bad football is better than no football at all.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With the official start of the preseason, fans can take solace in knowing that the good stuff (the start of the regular season) is only a few weeks away.
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The quality of the game was not surprising. The Bears still haven’t signed Roquan Smith. No one played their star players. Most of the guys that did play will probably not be on a roster when the regular season starts.
But to be fair to the guys that did play Thursday night, it wasn’t all bad. Even though the competition level was about as low as it is ever going to get for an NFL game, there are a few things worth taking note of.
- The new helmet rule is going to cause problems. The first call came just a few minutes into the game and looked like something the refs wouldn’t have thought twice about last season. But with the rule change, the hit Patrick Onwuasor put on Benny Cunningham is illegal. Three Ravens ended up getting flagged for helmet violations. It is probably safe to assume that will be a point of emphasis for John Harbaugh the rest of the preseason.
- Robert Griffin III looked decent. He didn’t have a fabulous day or anything like that (7-11 or 58 yards, one touchdown, and one interception). But two of the incompletions were drops and the interception went through his receiver’s hands first. He didn’t look like a guy anyone is going to want to start anytime soon. But he appeared capable of being a serviceable backup.
“[Thursday] was an emotional day for me, just coming back out here. I know it’s the preseason, it’s the Hall of Fame game, but to have an opportunity to come back out here and play football is something that I really cherish,” Griffin said (via ESPN)
- Lamar Jackson is not going to be taking over for Joe Flacco anytime soon (4-10 for 33 yards with one touchdown and one interception; eight carries for 25 yards). When he did run, the Bears looked ready for him. In fact, it is probably safe to say he is going to be the No. 3 QB for the Ravens all season. He looked nothing like the exciting playmaker he was in college. Instead, he looked like a rookie that was in over his head and has a lot to learn.
- Orlando Brown was not bad. The former Oklahoma offensive tackle had a lousy showing at the Combine and has been on blast ever since. While he didn’t appear to be extremely athletic (no surprise), when he got a hold of someone his guy didn’t get away.
- Javon Wims is someone to keep an eye on. A seventh-rounder out of Georgia, he caught seven of the ten balls thrown his way for 89 yards. The deep ball he caught against Anthony Averett was a thing of beauty. If he can win a few more 50-50 balls like that during the preseason, he’ll definitely earn a roster spot.