Week two of the NFL pre-season has come to an after the Browns narrow defeat
to Washington, so lets wrap up the winners from week 2.
Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles
The annual dance over whether a franchise will start their rookie quarterback is well underway with much of the attention heading towards Johnny Manziel and Cleveland. Whilst things haven't quite clicked for the Browns over in Minnesota and Jacksonville the
rookie's have been impressing.
First, Bortles looked sharp as he threw for 160 yards completing 11 out of 17 throws. Then Bridgewater stepped up to the mark also. Teddy threw for 177 yards making 16 out of 20 throws and two touchdowns.
Particularly, impressive though was Bridgewater's poise and maturity as he led the
Vikings on a last minute touchdown drive throwing for 77 yards off six passes to give Minnesota the lead with 18 seconds to spare. At the end of the game the fans were cheering Bridgewater's name and that says it all really.
He might not be the biggest name in the NFL but Jaron Brown's performance in week two of preseason against the Vikings must have secured him a roster space. Off just two receptions Jaron Brown led the Cardinals in receiving going for 86 yards.
In the 2014 draft the Steelers focused on getting faster on defense. Lightening fast linebacker Ryan Shazier was the epitome of this aim and fortunately for the Steelers he has already begun to deliver on his super-fast promise.
Against the Bills Shazier was a revelation. Shazier notched up four tackles on the Bill's opening drive along with another off the kickoff. He eventually finished the game with nine tackles. Shazier's best moment though came with an interception that Steelers safety Troy Polamalu would have been happy with.
Shazier dropped into coverage against tight end Scott Chandler. EJ Manuel launched a bullet of a throw towards his target. The ball looked like it was going to go right into the tight ends hands for a first down and then some when Shazier rose like a salmon to make the interception and run the ball back for 27 yards.
After the game Lawrence Timmons described Shazier's pass coverage as “awesome”. He's not wrong.
If there were any doubts over whether Peyton Manning was still himself the veteran quarterback's work this pre-season has erased them.
Manning looked good in the opening game against the Seahawks and he looked even better in the week 2 matchup against the 49ers. In truth against the 49ers he was dominant (he even ran the ball himself on one play).
Manning completed 12 of 14 passes for 102 yards equating to a quarterback rating of 120.8. The highlight of Manning's quarterback clinic was a 17 yard touchdown pass up the middle right into the hands of tight end Julius Thomas.
Manning and the Broncos have already set themselves out as the team to beat in the AFC.
It hasn't been a great pre-season for the Buccaneers so far. The offense line has more holes in it than swiss cheese but there has been one unadulterated success story. This is defensive tackle Gerald McCoy who has been looking like the second coming of Buccaneers great Warren Sapp.
Against the Dolphins on Saturday McCoy was near unblockable making three tackles (one for a five yard loss), forcing a fumble and making a sack. This doesn't tell the whole story of just how good McCoy was though.
McCoy beat up on Dolphins guard Dallas Thomas so hard that it is possible that he cost the guard his starting spot. McCoy burst through Thomas' blocks to pressure the quarterback three times. He also drew two penalties for offensive holding from Thomas. This all came from 19 snaps.
The most jaw dropping stat though is the profootballfocus calculated that two of McCoy's pressures came within two seconds of the snap.
Essentially, that means McCoy was pressuring the quarterback before the poor guy has completed his drop back and started working through his progressions. The offensive line might has well have not been there.