Week 2 of the 2019 preseason got underway on Thursday night with standout evenings fromSam Darnold,Ryan FinleyandMike Glennonand a major setback forKyler Murray. Here’s what we learned from Thursday evening’s quintet of contests:
1. WithNick Foleswatching on the opposite sideline, Philadelphia’s QB depth took yet another hit on Thursday night — a blindside hit, to be specific.Cody Kesslerstarted for theEagleswithCarson Wentzsuited up but sidelined andNate Sudfeldnursing a broken wrist. But Kessler exited on Philly’s first drive with a concussion — the result of a blitzingDatone Jonesrunning untouched past rookie left tackleAndre Dillardand into Kessler’s spleen — forcing fourth-string rookieClayton Thorsoninto the thick for the game’s duration. Given Wentz’s injury history, theEaglesarguably did not do enough this offseason to bolster the backup QB position. The events of the last two weeks have bolstered that argument.
2. For the second straight week, Doug Marrone opted to sit anyJaguarsplayer of substance short ofKeelan Coleand rookie edge rusherJosh Allen. What to glean?Gardner Minshewlooked more comfortable in his second start for Foles, leading a nice two-minute drill at the end of the first half with passes to roster bubble boysC.J. Board,Thomas RawlsandMichael Walkerto set up Jacksonville’s first three points of the preseason. Two weeks in and we have no clue what the 2019Jaguarswill look like, just how team czar Tom Coughlin likely prefers it.
— Jeremy Bergman
3. Atlanta invested in the offensive line this offseason but the offensive live was not invested in protectingMatt Ryanon Thursday night. Ryan played four drives with the first-ish-team line and, while he was efficient in completing 10 of 14 passes, theFalconsstarting quarterback also took three sacks and eight QB hits.Ty Sambrailo, the starting right tackle withKaleb McGaryout, was oft victimized. When he wasn’t getting smacked around deep into the second quarter, Ryan was seeing his second-string pass-catchers (Brian Hill, Justin Hardy) drop easy TD passes in the end zone.
4. Another solid night forSam Darnold. Even withoutLe’Veon Belland most of his offensive line in the starting lineup, Darnold (5/7, 46 yards) looked ready for Week 1 in Adam Gase’s system. More concerning than the quarterback position is the cornerback position, whereArthur Maulet,Darryl RobertsandParry Nickersonstruggled against Atlanta’s receivers in space. Even before injuries toTrumaine JohnsonandKyron Brown, cornerback was a position of need for New York. That’s even more the case after the rest played poorly on Thursday night.
— Jeremy Bergman
5.Ravensrunning backMark Ingram, who signed with the club in March, made his Baltimore debut Thursday night against thePackers. Ingram toted the ball four times for 18 yards early in the first quarter. TheRavens‘ other big offseason acquisition, safetyEarl Thomas, also made his first appearance, giving fans a glimpse at the Thomas-Tony Jeffersonpairing that is sure to excite this season. Speaking of exciting, fullbackPatrick Ricardrecovered aTim Boylefumble while logging time as a defensive lineman in the third quarter.
6.Aaron Rodgerswas slated to make his preseason debut against theRavens, but the signal-callersat out due to back tightness. So we shall wait another week to see Rodgers get some preseason action. ThePackers‘ offense failed to get off the ground withDeShone Kizer, who went 5 of 10 for 70 yards. ThePackers‘ defense was equally as unimpressive and failed to contain the potent mix ofLamar Jacksonand Co. early in the contest.
— Andie Hagemann
7.Redskinscoach Jay Gruden lost his first challenge call of the preseason.Case Keenumconnected with wide receiverSteve Sims Jr.on a deep pass down the left side. Sims was pushed out of bounds on the 1-yard line and the referees called offensive pass interference. The call was ultimately upheld.
Dwayne Haskinsentered the game midway through the second quarter, and logged his first touchdown of preseason play with a 55-yard pass under pressure to wide receiverRobert Davis. Haskins’ outing was impressive but not error free, as he fumbled the ball once.
8.BengalsquarterbackRyan Finleyhad a great night against theRedskins, throwing for 150 yards and two touchdowns and completing 20 of 26 passes. Finley’s play helped ignite theBengals‘ offense after the team stalled during its first few series in the first quarter. AfterJoe Mixon‘s night was over (one carry), running backJordan Ellistook over the workload, toting the ball 15 times for 52 yards.Quinton Flowers,Trayveon WilliamsandGiovani Bernardalso logged carries. ReceiverAlex Ericksonreturned a 75-yard punt in the fourth putting the capper on the contest.
— Andie Hagemann
9. Growing pains in paradise.Kyler Murray‘s second preseason game was not nearly as efficient as his first. In four drives, Murray’sCardinalsgained just 12 yards, failed to pick up a first down without help from penalties and punted thrice. Murray showed his inexperience by taking a sack (one of two) deep in Arizona’s territory for a safety on his final series. Making matters worse, Arizona was flag-happy, committing six offensive penalties on Murray’s drives, three of them pre-snap.
“Obviously, from the outside looking in, it looks a little disappointing, Murray told ESPN’s Lisa Salters during the game. “At the same time, we know what’s important and that thsi is only preseason. Really vanilla right now. We’re not doing everything. Yeah, it is what it is.”
Murray was flying high after one flawless preseason drive last week, but the No. 1 overall pick came back to the desert earth in his first extended professional appearance.
10. Sure, marvel at the majesty of theMike Glennonrevenge game. Oakland’s most impressive drive was its first of the evening, theRaiders‘ first of the preseason withDerek Carrat the helm and with new weapons at his disposal. Oakland’s QB1 connected withTyrell Williamson a pretty 27-yard pass down the sideline and withRyan Granton a 13-yard TD toss. Rookie backJosh Jacobsbroke off four strong runs for 21 yards. It took just over three minutes Thursday night for Oakland to hard-knock off the bad vibes from last weekend’sAntonio Browndrama.
— Jeremy Bergman