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How much can be learned from Week 3 preseason action?

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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Marc Serota / Getty Images
What can be learned from Week 3 of the preseason? Chad Pennington and the Dolphins are hoping a lot.


Week 3 of the preseason can be a good time to find out where teams stack up, as it tends to be the last time starters are in for an extended time before the beginning of the regular season.

Yet before you jump to any conclusions about how your favorite team is looking after this past weekend let's take a look back at how some teams looked after Week 3 of the preseason last year for a few reminders about the potential of misleading information.

Joey Harrington, Rex Grossman and Bruce Gradkowski led their teams to Week 3 preseason wins, with all completing well over 60 percent of their passes. That information didn't lead to anything remotely close to the truth in the regular season as all three QBs struggled and lost their jobs during the season.

The Jets beat the Giants 20-12 and fans fell in love with QB Kellen Clemens as he completed 6 of 8 passes for 122 yards. Jets fans left the stadium thinking the team had found its quarterback and that their 3-4 defense would work well, as Brandon Jacobs ran 11 times for 43 yards. But the Jets struggled in the regular season, winning just four games.

Tampa Bay's defense gave up 28 points to the Miami Dolphins. By the end of the regular season, however, the Dolphins only topped 28 points once (in a loss) and the Bucs went on to be the No. 3 scoring defense in the NFL.

J.T. O'Sullivan threw for 232 yards as a member of the Detroit Lions. He rarely saw the field in the regular season and is now the starter for the San Francisco 49ers after a terrific performance that sent Alex Smith and Shaun Hill to the bench.

In Cleveland last year, Derek Anderson was sacked three times in just 12 pass attempts and gave way to Brady Quinn in the second half. Anderson went on to be one of the least sacked quarterbacks in the NFL and Quinn didn't see the field.

Of course, some of the elite payers like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning sharpened up their skills last year, combining for 40 completions in 49 pass attempts. But neither QB is ready to go yet this year and had to skip the Week 3 tuneup.

There were some gems to be discovered during Week 3 of the preseason last year. After Byron Leftwich started the game for the Jaguars, David Garrard came off the bench, completing 6 of 7 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Leftwich was released before the start of the season and Garrard led to team to the playoffs. Little-known running backs Pierre Thomas of the Saints and Selvin Young of the Broncos made the best of their opportunities, with Thomas rushing 11 times for 90 yards and Young going 17 times for 91 yards.

Don't get discouraged if your team didn't look sharp this past weekend and don't think the Super Bowl is within reach just because your team rolled over someone. Teams need to make sure they have the right players to fill out the 53-man roster and the right eight players on the practice squad. That is alot more important than any timing issues an offense or defense needs to master.

Just look at what the Jaguars did last year with Leftwich and Garrard for proof.

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