The preseason is a welcome reprieve for those of us ready for football (or maybe tired of watching our team's bullpen blow a week full of leads). But there is always a little bit of trepidation, as we watch the games with one eye covered out of fear of seeing our star quarterback crumble under a heap in a game that doesn't count in the standings.
Yes, everybody knows the feeling.
Still, there is a certain excitement in the air, similar to the first day of school. We get reacquainted with old friends, meet some new ones and get ready for a new year.
With that in mind, here are six things to watch during Week 1 of the NFL preseason (which I will be watching via NFL Preseason Live!)
And without further ado ...
New faces in new places
Hold on to your hats because here comes some breaking news -- Peyton Manning is playing for the Denver Broncos. And this is exciting, too. Not so much because this is a high-profile guy changing teams. Rather, if you watch the endless Peyton Manning news cycle, you'll notice news outlets show the same video clip of him doing drills from training camp over and over. Now we'll have some actual in-game footage.
Kevin Kolb watch
If the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback situation was a movie, John Skelton would be the Adam Sandler character and Kolb would be played by somebody unathletic like Tim Robbins. And seriously, Kolb's performance against the New Orleans Saints in the Hall of Fame Game resembled Robbins' throwing motion in "Bull Durham." There's no way I'm missing the Cardinals game this week.
The Chargers are going to be interesting during preseason. Norv Turner is on the hot seat (or so you'd figure, but this is the Chargers so you never know). But the battle to be Philip Rivers' backup is a rather uninspiring battle between Jarrett Lee and Kevin O'Connell. The most amazing thing, Lee is wearing No. 16 -- the number made infamous by Ryan Leaf. Don't you think the club should have taken that number out of rotation?
Who is going to catch passes for the New York Jets?
It might have seemed bold when Antonio Cromartie proclaimed himself the No. 2 receiver on the Jets. But he was absolutely correct. Who is supposed to line up opposite Santonio Holmes? Chaz Schilens? Come on, I like the Aztecs as much as the next guy, but that's not going to work. So maybe we should start the Tim Tebow for receiver petition right now.
Yeah, sure. Everybody wants to see Robert Griffin III. But what about the other rookie quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Cousins? Keep a close eye on him. If Cousins puts together a nice preseason game, I truly believe there will come a point in the season he starts over RG3 for non-health reasons. I know you want to call me crazy, but seriously, even you can imagine Shanahan pulling out the #shanahanigans for this.
Receivers in single-digit numbers
Receivers in single-digit numbers are typically not long for the NFL. But sometimes they can surprise you. There was a little-regarded receiver wearing No. 3 for the Giants in preseason two years ago who had a monster game against the New York Jets and eventually became a star in 2011. Yep, Victor Cruz. If you want to latch on to a guy this year, look at No. 9 for the Carolina Panthers: Jared Green -- son of Hall of Famer Darrell Green.