Skip to main content

Around the League

Presented By

All 32 NFL teams have reasons for optimism

We broke down the reasons to worry about all 32 teams last week. In an effort to be fair, let's examine at least one reason for optimism for each NFL team after two preseason weeks.

Arizona Cardinals:Ryan Williams returned to the field from his torn patella tendon last week. Beanie Wells will make his preseason debut this week. Williams showed surprising wiggle for a man his size coming off surgery. He ran hard, cut well and showed great balance. He could wind up leading this promising tandem.

Atlanta Falcons:Matt Ryan looks like he was born for a no-huddle, up-tempo attack. And with all the hype surrounding Julio Jones right now, anything less than a Pro Bowl season will be disappointing. We're buying.

Baltimore Ravens: We'll spin things positive about the fact the Ravens doesn't have a true backup running back. More carries for Ray Rice. "You don't buy a new car and put it in the driveway and just park it in the garage," Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery said this week.

Buffalo Bills:Cordy Glenn has won the left tackle job. From top to bottom, the Bills' offensive line could be very good. General manager Buddy Nix has turned a longtime weakness into a potential strength.

Carolina Panthers:Luke Kuechly has come as advertised; he's all over the field. Charles Johnson looks primed for a huge season. Cam Newton made us say "wow" five times in one quarter last week. That was the highest wow-to-snap ratio in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.

Chicago Bears:Jay Cutler finally has some weapons. Helmet grab aside, Alshon Jeffrey looks like the real deal.

Cincinnati Bengals: First-round draft pick Dre Kirkpatrick is back on the field. Most of the Bengals' torrent of injuries have proven to be relatively minor.

Cleveland Browns: Pat Shurmur has finally given up on Josh Cribbs as a regular wide receiver. Smart move. Also, Cleveland loves you too, Colt.

Dallas Cowboys:Tony Romo's protection was much, much better in the Cowboys' second preseason game. It was fantastic. Kevin Ogletree and Cole Beasley both stepped up in their bids for the No. 3 receiver job.

Denver Broncos:Peyton Manning took a hit and the world didn't collapse. More importantly, he looks like Peyton Manning.

Detroit Lions: No one has been arrested for a while.

Green Bay Packers:Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings are back on the field. Cedric Benson and Alex Green (who continues to ramp up work) make a good-enough backfield. This offense just might be decent.

Houston Texans: The Duane Brown contract will look like a steal in time. The defense looks as scary as ever. Also: Remember when Matt Schaub's foot was a story coming into training camp? That ended fast.

Indianapolis Colts: It's ridiculous how lucky Colts fans are to have Andrew Luck right after Peyton Manning. You guys know that, right? Even having to endure three seasons of Curtis Painterwould have been worth this.

Jacksonville Jaguars:Justin Blackmon broke a tackle on every catch he made against the Saints. He snatched the ball away from defenders in traffic. Blaine Gabbert is throwing in rhythm. It's been a very encouraging preseason for Jacksonville.

Kansas City Chiefs:Jamaal Charles looks like the same guy we saw destroying defenses two seasons ago. It's been a very encouraging return from anterior cruciate ligament surgery for him. Kevin Boss also may do for the Chiefs what we thought he'd do for the Raiders.

Miami Dolphins: A lot is going wrong in Miami, but it sure looks like they got the quarterback pick right with Ryan Tannehill. That's what this whole season is about.

Minnesota Vikings:Christian Ponder has quietly been efficient and moved the ball well in both preseason games. I watched them both and don't know quite what to think. He still leaves the pocket too quickly, but there have been some positive news.

New England Patriots: The Patriots' defense looks a lot better on paper. The reports from training camp have been encouraging, and they've backed it up with two encouraging preseason games, too.

New Orleans Saints:Mark Ingram is healthy and picking up yards after contact. It hasn't shown up yet in the box score, but the Saints' backfield is going to be very dangerous.

New York Giants:Hakeem Nicks is practicing again, and David Wilson looks like an explosive backup now getting first-team reps. This offense has never been deeper. This team has never been deeper.

New York Jets: This isn't an easy team for this exercise, but LaRon Landry is finally healthy and should upgrade a weak spot at safety for the Jets. He was a huge question mark coming into camp.

Oakland Raiders:Dennis Allen just seems like he gets "it." The defensive front seven has the potential to maul people. Nothing about camp has changed our minds on this one.

Philadelphia Eagles: Rookie Mychal Kendricks leads a vastly improved linebacker group. The defensive talent on this team has the potential to be a top-five unit.

Pittsburgh Steelers:Steve McLendon's emergence gives the Steelers two quality nose tackles. No 3-4 defense has a better trio of defensive ends. And Ben Roethlisberger's conversion to Todd Haley's offense is going about as smooth as can be expected.

San Diego Chargers: It hasn't been a great camp in San Diego. But the Chargers' defensive rookies look like they could be difference-makers on a unit that needs it.

San Francisco 49ers: Everyone at 49ers camp says that Alex Smith is playing better than ever. Jim Harbaugh calls Smith an "expert" in his offense. Is it possible that last season was the start of something special for Smith rather than a career year?

Seattle Seahawks: Last year, they had no promising quarterbacks. This year, they have two.

St. Louis Rams:Sam Bradford was protected well and threw accurately to all levels of the defense against the Chiefs. It was nice to see. Danny Amendola and Steve Smith have emerged as his reliable targets.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David have looked even better than advertised as rookies. If Mark Barron pans out, this could be a very strong first draft class for coach Greg Schiano with general manager Mark Dominik.

Tennessee Titans: Yeah, so much for all that Chris Johnson concern. We loved seeing his burst back in the Titans' second preseason game. It's one of the biggest developments this preseason.

Washington Redskins: All those injuries suffered against the Bears turned out to be minor. Sixth-round draft pick Alfred Morris has emerged as a legitimate option who could work well in short yardage.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content