Lessons learned from Saturday's preseason games


Carson Palmer didn't change teams this offseason, but he might has well have. Palmer is learning a new offense in Oakland once again, and he's not a natural fit for Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's timing West Coast offense. It has showed this preseason.

Facing a banged-up Detroit Lions secondary, Palmer struggled again Saturday night with two interceptions. He has averaged under six yards per attempt in 58 preseason throws with no scores and four picks overall. His top receivers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford might miss Week 1. Palmer does not look comfortable. He might have had a cameo in Oakland last year, but it sure looks like he's starting from scratch because of the coaching change.

Here's what else we learned during Saturday's five games.

Redskins 30, Colts 17

» Andrew Luck's numbers (151 yards and a TD on 23 attempts) didn't sparkle, but he does so much that doesn't show up in the box score. Luck is already so advanced in completing passes with bodies around him. You can't teach pocket presence, and Luck has it. The Indianapolis Colts were 7-of-11 on third down with Luck in the game.

» This game supported a lot of post-draft analysis. Luck needs to carry the Colts more than Robert Griffin III needs to carry the Washington Redskins. Griffin was buoyed by a strong running game and defense. RG3 didn't have to do too much. He missed a few bombs, but mostly kept Washington on schedule despite only throwing for 74 yards on 17 attempts.

» We got the sense that the Redskins are keeping RG3 under wraps this preseason like the Panthers did with Cam Newton last August. They didn't want to show too much.

» Mike Shanahan might have found his next randomly great running back in Alfred Morris. Don't be surprised if the sixth-round pick opens the season as a starter.

Steelers 38, Bills 7

» It sounds like the Pittsburgh Steelers' first-round draft pick, guard David DeCastro, will be out "awhile" with injuries to both his MCL and ACL. When we hear ACL, it usually means season-ending. We hope that's not the case. The Steelers' line has struggled this preseason and this won't help.

» This game was closer than the score indicates. An epic 98-yard drive by Ben Roethlisberger put the Steelers ahead 14-7 at halftime before the starters left the game.

» At some point, the struggles of the Buffalo Bills' first-team offense should become a concern. They have not looked good all preseason. It's just not that talented a group other than the running backs.

» Mario Williams had two sacks for the Bills. Buffalo's vaunted defensive linemen mostly won their battles up front.

Raiders 31, Lions 20

» Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford left with an injury to his non-throwing hand. Initial reports indicate that it's not serious.

» Running back Kevin Smith hurt his ankle. He says he didn't suffer a fracture, but the injury points out how woefully thin the Lions are in the backfield. They couldn't have used Cedric Benson? Don't be shocked if they give Ryan Grant a call this week. Both of the Lions' starting cornerbacks left with injuries too. Yikes.

» Terrelle Pryor somehow put up 227 total yards and three touchdowns on only three completions and five rushes. It was in garbage time, but that should help erase any doubts about whether he'll make the team.

» Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Rod Streater continues to be the story of camp for the team. He caught five more passes and now has 18 in three preseason games.

» Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski left the game with a groin injury.

Cowboys 20, Rams 19

» Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff suffered a high ankle sprain in the game. This could cost him signficant time.

» Tony Romo was supposed to play for awhile, but he was removed after completing 9-of-13 passes for 198 yards and two scores in only three possessions. That's one way to get done for the evening early. This all happened without his top three receivers while going against the rebuilt St. Louis Rams secondary.

» Sam Bradford's wildly up-and-down preseason cratered with only 64 yards and six completions on 17 attempts. Only two Rams players caught more than one pass.

» Rams rookie Brian Quick was expected to start right away, but it hasn't happened. He's been buried with the backups.

Saints 34, Texans 27

» This game looked like a continuation of the shootout between these two teams last regular season. The score was 24-24 at halftime before the starters exited.

» Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub completed an extremely sharp preseason. He was 15-of-18 for 194 yards and a score. No quarterback has looked more accurate or sharper in August.

» New Orleans Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer took his spin at the wheel as coach for this game. Drew Brees has a way of making any coach look pretty smart.

» Chris Ivory probably helped lock up his roster spot with 57 rushing yards on eight carries.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.