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NFL

What to watch for in NFL preseason: Deshaun Watson, Miami Dolphins, Rookies, and Dallas Cowboys

NFL preseason starts on Thursday night and there will be plenty storylines playing out over the next few weeks.

Update:
Pretemporada de la NFL: Partidos, cuándo arranca, fechas, horarios, tv; cómo y dónde ver online

Football is back baby! After six cold, long desolate months the NFL preseason kicks off tomorrow with the Las Vegas Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars starting the four week long preseason slate from Canton, Ohio tomorrow night.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, the preseason is just a morsel of what have been craving for so long. Play is sloppy, and turnovers are a dime a dozen as starters sit with their clip board and headsets on the sidelines. But who are we to complain? Football is back, and the preseason games will more than wet our whistle in these hot, arid summer months.

There are plenty of storylines to keep an eye this before Week 1, so let’s break down our top headlines to track over the next month.

Deshaun Watson

The Cleveland Browns were eager to bring in the former Houston Texans gunslinger despite off the field issues surrounding Deshaun Watson. They were so invested, in fact, they brought Watson in knowing that it would probably mark the end of the road for Baker Mayfield in Cleveland.

Watson was suspended for six games earlier this week after the NFL ruled the quarterback was in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Watson will have to sit until the game against Baltimore on October 23rd, but he can however play in the preseason, so expect a heavy dose of the Browns new quarterback.

Trey Lance and the Niners

Is Trey Lance finally going to get his shot in San Fran? It would certainly appear so, even though Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the Niners books. Neither party seems too excited by the prospect of Jimmy G staying in the Bay Area, but at the moment negotiations have hit a stalemate.

One thing the Niners did do is hold on to Deebo Samuel, and now Kyle Shanahan is ready to make the move to bring Lance in as the starter. He hasn’t played a lot of football over the last few years so expect him to get a handsome share of reps as the preseason goes on.

Dolphins new WR corp

Watch out in South Beach. Suddenly the Miami Dolphins have one of the top receiving corps in the league, which should open up the offense for new coach Mike McDaniel.

Tua Tagovailoa has been under the microscope ever since the Dolphins drafted him from the University of Alabama with the fifth overall pick. He showed his best stretch football at this level towards the end of last year when Miami won seven straight and eight of their last nine.

Mayfield on the move

The Panthers are looking for a bit of consistency at the quarterback position for the first time in a long time. Baker Mayfield made his wishes to get out of Cleveland known and Carolina came calling. It would make sense for Mayfield to be named QB1 in Charlotte, but Sam Darnold might have something to say about that.

Darnold will get quite a bit of action with in the preseason which will make or break his chances at starting Week 1 under center.

Rookies

The new crop of rookies coming into the NFL will get to showcase their talent during the preseason. If you recall, the first five picks of the draft were defensive players as two cornerbacks and three defensive ends were taken in the top five. Travon Walker will get plenty attention as the number one pick, but so will Aidan Hutchinson and Kevin Thibodeaux.

There aren’t as many QBs in this years class as last year’s, and certainly not as many that will look to make and impact in their rookie year. Kenny Pickett could have a shot in Pittsburgh after Ben Roethisberger’s retirement. So too will Desmond Ridder who has an open competition in Atlanta after Matt Ryan shipped off to Indianapolis. Malik Willis may find it a bit tougher in Tennessee with Ryan Tannehill having a first grip on the starting role.

Americas Team

What’s going on in Big D? That’s always a news worth subject as the Cowboys look to get back into a contending role in the NFC. Dak Prescott is healthy and the offensive line was a top unit in the league last year, but there have been some changes made on the line this year.

Ceedee Lamb and Michale Gallup will be the stars of the wide receiver corp, but will get limited time on the field with Prescott who will be reserved until later in the month.

Brady and the Bucs

Tom Brady has never been one to strap on the pads and risk his season for a few extra snaps in August. The 45-year old quarterback has more than enough experience than to need reps in the meaningless preseason games to come over the next few weeks.

The Bucs had a few loose end to tie up in the preseason, and it’s not going to be an easy gig for new coach Todd Bowles. On the bright side he is taking over a team that has made deep playoff runs in each of the last two years.

Rams defending title

All eyes will be on the defending champions, even during the preseason in which most of their star veterans will play very limited time.

The big question coming into this season is, will the Rams offense be as potent as they were last year after losing Robert Woods and still not signing O’Dell Beckham Jr.? Allen Robinson and Cooper Kupp are fantastic receivers, but the Rams will be hoping one of their others WR’s stands out in preseason.

AFC West

The AFC West was already the top division in football before this offseason. Since the end of last season, the West has only got better with the addition of Russell Wilson in Denver.

How will the Chiefs cope with the departure of Tyreek Hill? Will the Raiders take another step towards being a contender after a tumultuous season of off field distractions in 2021? Is this the year Justin Herbert breaks through and becomes the super star so many expect him to be? Most of these questions won’t be answered until the regular season starts, but it will be fun watching these teams before the campaign begins.

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