Rookie QBs Shine
While it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the 5 rookie QBs that saw their first preseason action of the year this past weekend, I think all 5 fan bases saw everything that they could have ever asked for in a debut. We knew that there could be some mishaps, but these 5 all showed up and showed off their talent in different ways.
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Mac Jones Does His Job
While this headline doesn’t suggest that Jones blew me away, he did everything he was supposed to for this team. Jones was lauded as an elite processor and distributor out of Alabama, and Jones played with a lot of poise on Friday night for a rookie, and that is what you want to see from someone with his traits. I expect Jones to start at some point simply because the Patriots offense is not a juggernaut, and Cam Newton just doesn’t appear to have much in the tank.
I do think that Newton and Jones complement each other pretty well if New England were to look at things like red zone packages for Newton, but that isn’t something I expect to see unless Jones gets the job then struggles himself.
Justin Fields Flashes Upside
Fields started a bit slow with a few penalties and mishaps throughout the team, but he eventually settled in and led three straight scoring drives, including one that was in under 50 seconds to end the half with a field goal and the Bears first down of the game. Fields then came out on fire in the second half, leading 2 straight touchdown drives with both his legs and arm. Fields was very comfortable getting out of structure and getting out on the run to both throw and run the ball. This dual-threat ability was always teased in college, but we have never seen a Justin Fields that runs more than a few times a game.
I expect to see Fields rack up the rushing numbers in the NFL, and Saturday was just a hint of that. Fields looked like the best athlete on the field, and he was recorded as the Bears’ fastest ball carrier in the last 2 years per Next Gen Stats.
Lawrence Makes Big Throws
Trevor Lawrence unleashed a few “NFL throws” in his NFL preseason debut, and even though he wasn’t perfect when it came to operating the offense, he showed off his arm talent and natural ability. Lawrence is still technically in a QB battle with Gardner Minshew, but the fact that the Jaguars started Lawrence over the veteran tells you everything that you need to know when it comes to that QB “battle.”
Wilson Looks Comfortable, Confident
Zach Wilson has had pretty bad reports in camp compared to the other guys in this article, but it didn’t show one bit in the first preseason game on Saturday night. Wilson got the ball out very quickly and showed plus arm strength, two things that he was praised for in the lead-up to the draft. Wilson notably suggested that his struggles in practice were due to him attempting to learn by trial and error in an effort to figure out what he can and cannot get away from within the NFL. This won’t be the end of the concerns for Jets fans, but it was a great first impression on gameday.
Lance Shows Upside, Inconsistency
Trey Lance was ready to go when he entered the game, throwing multiple nice balls, including an 80-yard touchdown pass on his second drive. Lance looked very sharp early and tailed off a bit late, missing guys and throwing 2 potential interceptions. One thing that stood out to me was the lack of rushing in the 49ers game plan when it came to Lance. It sounds like they want to keep that under wraps until later in the year.