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Biggest takeaways from Week 1 of preseason action

Our season already has started. The Around The League crew was up late Thursday and Friday night recapping all the preseason games and storylines before covering the twoweekend games and the rest of the fallout over the weekend.

But we understand that not every reader out there is watching Preseason Live with four screens open as religiously as we are. This column is for those of you with families, vacations or "activities" this August. Here's what you need to know from the first week of the preseason:

No separation at QB

  1. We didn't learn much about the respective quarterback battles around the league. New York Jets incumbent Mark Sanchez threw a bone-headed pick six, but otherwise looked competent against the Detroit Lions. Rookie Geno Smith didn't do enough to make much of an impression either, before he left with an ankle injury. Smith already is back at practice but consistently is limping. Smith's momentum has slowed down over the last week, but it's not like Sanchez is pulling away.

*(We discussed the quarterback issues at the top of our latest "Around The League Podcast" before welcoming Rich Eisen into the studio.) *

  1. Blaine Gabbert threw the ball 10 times in the Jacksonville Jaguars' preseason opener, and he gained 19 yards on those throws. Gabbert needs to improve his performance or coach Gus Bradley will have no choice but to start Chad Henne.
  1. Michael Vick was sharp during his two series in the Philadelphia Eagles' opener against the New England Patriots. Nick Foles also acquitted himself well, but this should be Vick's job to lose. He hasn't lost it.
  1. Everyone is thrilled about rookie EJ Manuel's first outing for the Buffalo Bills. We'd like to point out he averaged roughly 5 yards per attempt (The Gabbert Zone) and executed his great two-minute drive against the Indianapolis Colts' third-string defense. Manuel wasn't asked to do a lot in his first career game, which isn't his fault. But let's not get carried away.


Thankfully, there weren't a lot of notable injuries during the four days of games. There were a lot of close scares, but the majority of big names who got hurt over the weekend already are back on the field or close. There weren't a lot of devastating injuries for key players.

  1. Rookie linebacker Manti Te'o will miss at least a week of practice with the San Diego Chargers because of a foot injury. It's never a good sign when the team announces right away that a player will miss a week. That often means he'll be out for much longer.
  1. Deonte Thompson has a sprained foot. This will hurt his bid to be the Baltimore Ravens' No. 3 receiver.
  1. Perhaps the biggest injury nugget came from practice Monday. Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles has a foot sprain. Keep a close eye on this one.
  1. Three potential starting running backs returned to practice Monday: Green Bay Packers' DuJuan Harris, the Colts' Ahmad Bradshaw and the Jets' Chris Ivory.
  1. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Saturday that presumptive starting tight end Matt Spaeth underwent surgery on a Lisfranc fracture in his foot. They are really hurting at the position with their usual starter, Heath Miller, unlikely to be ready for the start of the season.
  1. Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams can't get his troublesome knee healthy. He's going to miss another preseason game this week and might be losing his chance of making the team.

Depth chart

  1. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson is going to force his way onto the field in Minnesota. He was dynamic in the Vikings' preseason opener and should start climbing out of the No. 4 spot on the wide receiver depth chart.
  1. LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden could be fighting for one roster spot in New England. Blount's big preseason debut gives him an edge, but Bolden was a better player last year. Don't be shocked if both running backs make the team.
  1. The Patriots' hyped-up rookie receivers lived up to their billing. Zach Sudfeld is going to have a big role at tight end. Fellow undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins caught four passes.
  1. Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton continues to impress. After a nice preseason effort, he appears to be locked into the team's No. 3 receiver role. It was a nice weekend for rookie wideouts: DeAndre Hopkins had one of the best plays of the weekend for the Houston Texans.

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