What we learned from Sunday's preseason games

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  • By Adam Maya NFL.com
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Week 2 of the 2019 preseason continued Sunday, with the Saints and Chargers receiving standout showings from backup quarterbacks and the Saints and Vikings featuring their starters.

New Orleans Saints 19, Los Angeles Chargers 17


1. You can't stop Taysom Hill from making quarterback cameos. And if you're the Chargers, you can't contain them either. Hill took over for a struggling Teddy Bridgewater in the second half, and facing a 14-point deficit, quickly proceeded to carve up the Chargers' defense. Hill connected with Austin Carr for a 27-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, Hill guided a 69-yard TD drive by completing all six of his passes, a 1-yard scoring toss to Devine Ozigbo.

Hill was subsequently sacked on a two-point attempt that would have given New Orleans the lead. That simply prompted Hill to produce more highlights. With less than five minutes remaining, Hill drove the Saints down the field again, milking the clock in the process, and left Wil Lutz with a 28-yard field goal attempt. It was good, and the comeback was complete. The Saints' Swiss Army knife of a backup QB finished 11 of 15 for 136 yards and two touchdowns with 53 yards rushing. No wonder the Saints like to play two QBs at the same time.

2. Before Hill's heroics, Cardale Jones was having himself a day. The fourth-year backup relieved Tyrod Taylor in the second quarter, after Los Angeles' first four possessions amounted to two punts, an INT and turnover on downs. Jones' first drive began at his own 2 and ended in the end zone. He completed all but one of his five passes, the last of which was a 24-yard scoring strike to Andre Patton.

Jones, who's next drive resulted in a field goal, went 10 of 14 for 111 yards and a touchdown on the afternoon. The performance is notable if for no other reason than Jones, like many this time of year, is still trying to prove he can play in this league. The 26-year-old looks to be the odd man out on a Chargers roster that added Taylor and fifth-round pick Easton Stick in the offseason. Sunday's film suggests Jones will be able to find a new home should the Chargers cut ties.

Minnesota Vikings 25, Seattle Seahawks 19


3. Kaare Vedvik could save the Vikings a roster spot. Minnesota traded for the super specialist last week, perhaps to compete for starting jobs at placekicker and punter. After working (and impressing) in both fashions for the Ravens last week, Vedvik continued his dual-kicking ways in his Vikings debut. He punted three times against the Seahawks, averaging 46.7 yards a boot with a long of 54. That also included a punt inside the 20.

Vedvik then knocked in an extra point, with wide receiver Chad Beebe holding. That's notable because Beebe isn't typically Minnesota's holder. It's punter Matt Wile, who's lone punt came late in the fourth quarter and spanned just 35 yards. Vedvik, for what it's worth, didn't attempt a field goal Sunday. That assignment went to Dan Bailey, who's had an uneven training camp. The Vikings gave up a fifth-rounder for Vedvik, so he's going to be on their roster. The question is whether Wile or Bailey is a casualty of it. Or maybe both of them.

4. If the gap between Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny actually tightened this offseason, the former increased his following distance against the Vikings. Carson, who sat out OTAs and minicamp after having knee surgery, made his preseason debut and seemed to pick up where he left off in 2018. The bruising back rushed five times for 25 yards, including a 9-yard gain that helped set up a first-half field goal.

Meanwhile, Penny had another rough go in his second preseason game. The 2018 first-round pick carried the ball twice and was held to minus-1 yard. This is a week after collecting just 15 yards on six carries. Penny did have a pair of receptions Sunday. Targeting the backs out of the backfield is something OC Brian Schottenheimer said will be a bigger priority moving forward. But even in that he mentioned Chris Carson specifically, noting he should have about 50 targets. It's looking like offseason reports of Carson and Penny being in a close competition might have been premature.

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