Nine takeaways from Saturday intrasquad scrimmages

Print

While the Pro Football Hall of Fame was busy welcoming new members on Saturday, several NFL teams held scrimmages as they gear up for the start of preseason. Here were some of the takeaways:

1. Brandin Cooks continues to look like he'll be an instant contributor for the New Orleans Saints. The rookie wide receiver had six catches and a touchdown in the intrasquad competition. "Somehow, the dynamic playmaker keeps managing to top himself with each passing day," gushed ESPN.com's Mike Triplett. Are you fantasy owners paying attention?

2. Johnny Manziel remains very much in the running to win the Cleveland Browns' starting job. "The bottom line is Manziel appears to have narrowed the gap between himself and Hoyer with his performance in the scrimmage," wrote Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Manziel worked exclusively with the second team and led one long drive highlighted by a 9-yard touchdown pass incorrectly negated by an official's ruling.

3. Knowshon Moreno is walking with a limp right now -- this is not an exaggeration -- which makes Lamar Miller's positive camp all the more important for the Miami Dolphins. Miller had 14- and 10-yard runs in the scrimmage and showed shiftiness that was absent during his disappointing 2013 season. "He does have elusiveness," coach Joe Philbin said, via ESPN.com. "I think that showed up today."

4. We've been led to believe Blake Bortles could spend the duration of his rookie year holding a clipboard, but it's worth noting that he impressed coaches during Saturday's scrimmage. ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco remarked that the No. 3 overall pick looked "poised and confident" in his first simulated-game environment, finishing 9 of 13 for 79 yards and a touchdown pass.

5. Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron has struggled at times during his first training camp. Saturday counted as progress. The first-round pick hauled in a long Matthew Stafford pass in the team's scrimmage and appeared to be playing with a level of confidence that hasn't been seen, according to ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein.

6. Packers fans are no joke. They filled up Lambeau Field (67,336 tickets at $10 a pop) for practice. Not a scrimmage. Practice. We're talkin' about practice.

7. Breaking: The Seattle Seahawks' defense is still good. No touchdowns were scored on the D in Saturday's scrimmage. Defensive end Michael Bennett was standout, described as "lights-out" by ESPN.com's Terry Blount.

8. ESPN.com's Rich Cimini offered a neat summary of the New York Jets' annual Green & White scrimmage: "Geno Smith still makes questionable decisions, Michael Vick still runs fast, Stephen Hill still belongs on the all-Cortland team and Rex Ryan's defense still runs the show." Anything surprising there? The Jets' offense failed to reach the end zone in 12 possessions.

9. All aboard the Andy Dalton hype train! Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson called Dalton's training camp performance "sensational" -- this after the fourth-year quarterback unofficially completed 17 of 20 passes with approximately 200 yards passing in Saturday's scrimmage, according to ESPN.com's Coley Harvey.

The latest Around The League Podcast breaks down Marshawn Lynch's belated arrival at Seahawks camp and debates which active NFL players are first-ballot locks for the Hall of Fame.

Print