Aug 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe (92) is blocked by Arizona Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein (63) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Training Camp Notes After Preseason Week One


Now that all the first week’s preseason games are over with, some players are making a name already while others languish.

The good:

Andrew Luck looks like the real deal. Surprise!

The Rams announced after their initial preseason contest that they would not be playing a game in London in 2013 or 2014, but will still take on the New England Patriots there at Wembley Stadium on October 28th of this year. They got blown out by the Colts, 38-3, the previous day. This is not what I expect from a Jeff Fisher-led squad especially with the improvements they’ve made to their roster the past season.

However, the Rams did have a bright spot in rookie CB Janoris Jenkins. He covered very well and had a chance to make a play or two but was just unlucky – he had position to make an interception or at least defend the pass, but the bullet pass went through his hands and wound up being caught by Colts rookie T.Y. Hilton in a nice play where Hilton had to really focus on the deflected pass.

So far, it looks like both Jenkins and Hilton are the real deals, and both teams desperately need their contributions. If Jenkins can adjust a bit more but continue on his current trajectory, the Rams should field one of the better CB tandems in the league with Cortland Finnegan on the other side.

T.Y. Hilton made several catches last night and his 4.3-speed and return ability should provide a nice spark for this very young offense. He’s very elusive, has good hands, and plays bigger than his 5-10 size would suggest. If he can attack from the slot, he could be a dangerous weapon.

Aug 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) runs and looks for an open receiver during the 1st half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Titans quarterback Jake Locker appears to be winning his camp battle with Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck, 36, has waning skills and threw two interceptions last weekend while Locker had zero. Reports are that he’s consistently outplayed the veteran placeholder and at this rate, Jake will be starting week one.

Miami Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill showed poise that pretty much everyone – myself EXCLUDED – didn’t think he’d show so soon. Many analysts expressed surprise that he looked so good under the circumstances…he was injured last season at Texas A&M and only had around 2 and a half years of experience at QB since he’s a converted WR. I knew that he’d come into camp TEACHING THE OTHER QBs Mike Sherman’s system since the man was his college Head Coach. I’ve been saying from since he was drafted that he’d be starting FROM WEEK ONE (go back and check if you want) and the injury to David Garrard could well be the catalyst that gives Tannehill some playing time in order to vault over Matt Moore for the job. Moore has always been a poor practice player (although his effort has never been in question). Ryan showed he’s not afraid to throw into tight spaces, and I’m sure a guy like Arizona Cardinals’ HC Ken Whisenhunt would kill to have Tannehill in his fold. See below under “the bad.”

The bad:

Colts’ 2011 leading tackler MLB Pat Angerer is out for at least six weeks with a fractured foot. With the Colts’ Lucky offense looking good albeit in their initial preseason contest, this has to be of grave concern. The Colts’ defense hasn’t been known as stout against the run in recent years and this invites opponents to make the Colts show them they can stop the run…especially because running the ball means keeping Andrew Luck on the sidelines.

Do we see a similar strategy at work here as has been attempted for the past 12 years by Indy’s opponents? I think so!

Chief’s ultra-gifted rookie DT Dontari Poe is continuing his old college ways – in other words, he’s not shown much on the field. He started out as the second-string nose tackle entering camp with the hopes he could show that he belongs as the starter. At 350 pounds and 4.9-speed, he’s easily the most gifted NT on the team physically. The bad news? He’s now working with the third team. NOT the direction GM Scott Pioli and HC Romeo Crennel had in mind when they nabbed him with their top overall pick.

The Cowboys and the Raiders offenses looked horrible last night. The Cowboys managed only 210 total yards from scrimmage in a forgettable 3-0 victory. Dez Bryant was, yet again, getting “nagging” injuries before even this game during camp and his short career has been plagued by them. The lone bright spot was that Darren McFadden, the Raiders #4 overall draft pick four years ago, looked completely recovered from the foot injury that ended his season last year when he was the NFL’s leading rusher before getting injured. He only had 2 carries for 20 yards, but his 16-yard scamper showed his moves are back.

Good thing too, since Carson Palmer was 3 of 6 with an INT. Thanks, Hue Jackson.

The Arizona Cardinals apparently have two gun-shy signal-callers. First, I was never sold on Kevin Kolb, having had only a few starts in Philly before the Cardinals, desperate to replace retired Kurt Warner, ponied up a “Glob for Kolb” with a huge contract only to see him out-played (or “sucking” less) by journeyman Red John Skelton, who makes about 30 times less money than Kolb. After the Cards’ initial preseason loss to KC, Whisenhunt lamented that they had one-on-one coverage multiple times downfield, but the QBs were not trying to get them the ball. With All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald on one side and a very physically talented first-round pick in Notre Dame rookie Michael Floyd on the other, I’d have to like my chances throwing it up for either of those two guys to haul in at the highest point.

Skelton went 3 of 6 or 35 yards and an INT while Kevin Kolb went 1 for 5 for 21 yards. Looks like the Cardinals are going to lean more and more on their running game as both their quarterbacks continue their gun-shy ways from last year.

Tags: Andrew Luck Arizona Cardinals Cortland Finnegan Dallas Cowboys Darren McFadden Dez Bryant Dontari Poe Featured Hue Jackson Janoris Jenkins Jeff Fisher John Skelton Ken Whisenhunt Kevin Kolb Larry Fitzgerald Matt Hasselbeck Michael Floyd Oakland Raiders Pat Angerer Romeo Crennel Ryan Tannehill Scott Pioli T.Y. Hilton