The meaninglessness of the NFL preseason has been drilled into our heads from early on.
Only a fool falls for this mistress of August. Only a simpleton is swayed into believing his team is either a disaster (when it's not) or untouchable (when it's definitely not).
We get it, but we just can't help ourselves. Once again, we have real players, real coaches and (almost/sort of) real refs.
We'll take it. And with a round of games in the books -- and completely ignoring everything we've been told about the preseason -- Around the League is ready to hand out our awards for the highlights and lowlights of Week 1.
So, let's get to it:
Quarterback debut of the week
Andrew Luck: Somewhere along the way, Robert Griffin III became everyone's flavor of the week, with Luck portrayed as the safe, vanilla option for the Indianapolis Colts. Then came Luck's Sunday debut against the St. Louis Rams. We saw him calmly run the first-team offense. We saw him look off a safety for a scoring strike. We saw him casually rack up 188 yards -- second among all QBs this weekend -- in less than a half. There's not much to pick apart here.
Coaching debut of the week
Let's try that again, shall we?
They are who we thought they were...
On our radar, Offense
On our radar, Defense
With Drew Brees in the house, too many ignore the running game in New Orleans. Big mistake. Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles all look like 1,000-yard rushers. The behemoth blasting holes for this trio is guard Jahri Evans. Massive, agile and faster than you'd expect, Evans is among the best interior linemen in the NFC.
Defense of the week
Almost meaningless with teams showing nothing on offense, but how about the Denver Broncos giving up only 132 yards to the Chicago Bears? Jay Cutler didn't play, but Denver allowed just 2.7 yards per play and just 36 yards on the ground. This effort was lost in Peyton Manning's moderately hyped-up return to the field.
Brooks: A plan for Terrell Owens
Defense of the weak
Reclamation project of the week:
Two men, same backfield:Peyton Hillis and Jamaal Charles could be a handful for defenses. Charles runs around you, while Hillis (infamous sore throat in the rear-view mirror) runs through you. Hillis regained his nose for the end zone against the Cardinals this weekend and he's in a better spot this season as a change-of-pace, red-zone bruiser.
Joan of Arc award
If the Colts embark on another 15 years of outrageous quarterback play behind Andrew Luck, remember to thank Curtis Painter. Filling in for Manning last season, it was Painter who lost every game he played, selflessly positioning the Colts for the top pick in the draft. He's tucked away in Baltimore now (where he tossed three touchdowns in his debut). This forgotten man deserves a statue in downtown Indy.
Call Me Maybe?
Not if you're Chad Johnson, who might wait a long time for that phone to ring. A month ago, the aging wideouts club -- in terms of relevance -- looked like this: (1) Johnson (2) Plaxico Burress (3) Braylon Edwards (4) Terrell Owens. The order has flipped entirely. Nothing makes sense.
**More things change, the more they stay the same ...
We've penned roughly 590 posts about the new-look Jets. A gentlemen's agreement kept the Wildcat at bay against the Bengals, but that doesn't explain New York's anemic offense. Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are two sides of the same coin. This attack lacks weapons, and that's the real story out of Cortland.
What did we miss? Tell us below.