The second week of the NFL Preseason gets underway on Thursday night, and here is a preview of this weekend’s action. Some of the storylines we’re following include will Geno Smith and Michael Vick split any reps with the first team offense for the Jets and will Tavon Austin break out of a quiet camp thus far to provide some highlight plays for the Rams?
Jaguars at Bears 8:00 pm ET – ESPN/Watch ESPN
New Bear Ryan Mundy will look to solidify his hold on one of the starting safety positions after coming up with an interception in the preseason opener. J.T. Thomas returned to camp on Tuesday for the Jaguars after missing most of camp with a hamstring injury. Look for him to backup at LB and be featured on special teams.
Eagles at Patriots 7:30 pm ET – NFL Network
Najee Goode was in on 38 plays last week for the Eagles and recorded four tackles. The Eagles would like for him to get plenty of reps backing up at LB, but he could also see some snaps with the starters.
Packers at Rams 4:00 pm ET NFL Network
Unfortunately, we will not see Don Barclay for the Packers who is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered last week in practice. What we will see is Stedman Bailey looking to improve upon his impressive camp and first game of the preseason where he caught a 24-yard TD pass. With a four-game suspension looming to start the season, the Rams want to get Bailey as many reps as he can during the preseason.
Tavon Austin had a quiet first preseason game (three catches for 20 yards), and the Rams want to keep it that way during the preseason by not showing their hand at what they plan on doing with the second-year speedster.
“We just have to get him the ball in space, because we all know what he can do with it,” Fisher said. “We’re doing some different things, [but we] probably won’t show a whole lot in the preseason.”
Giants at Colts 7:00 pm ET
Pat McAfee will try to continue his steady play. Last week, he landed four punts inside the 20-yard line and the Boomstick was at it gain with a long of 61 yards.
Jets at Bengals 7:00 pm ET
There will be no shortage of Mountaineers to watch in this game. Geno Smith will likely play the first half for the Jets. The team hasn’t come right out and announced it, but Smith seems to have a strong grasp on the starting quarterback position over Michael Vick after showing improvement through camp.
Ellis Lankster will show up on special teams for the Jets and run with the backups in the secondary.
Will Clarke had a solid first game as a pro for the Bengals last week, recording two tackles. Marvin Lewis mentioned Clarke when asked if any of the rookies stood out after the game, saying he handled himself well and has continued to impress.
Adam Pacman Jones had one tackle last week.
Bills at Steelers 7:30 pm ET
The Steelers lined up Will Johnson in multiple spots as they try to get him on the field more often on offense. He also was in on kick coverage. Terence Garvin continues to grow as a backup LB for the team after going undrafted last season.
Dolphins at Bucs 7:30 pm ET
Charles Sims is battling to backup starting RB Doug Martin. Last week, the Bucs used him, as predicted, in multiple ways. He caught three passes for 32 yards and had 13 yards on six carries. He had nine-yard and 13-yard runs negated by penalties. The team may try him out as a kick and/or punt returner as well.
In Week 1 of the preseason, Keith Tandy played a strong game against the Jaguars, knocking rookie QB Blake Bortles’ helmet off when he tried to scramble at the end of the first half. Tandy also played well on special teams.
Browns at Redskins 8:00 pm ET ESPN
The Johnny Manziel Show comes to prime-time on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Chris Neild’s work with former WVU Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Barwis has shown during camp, as the fourth-year pro has looked quicker and more explosive as he fights to remain as the backup NT going into his contract season.
Bruce Irvin is still on the PUP list for the Seahawks as he continues to recover from offseason hip surgery. The good news is, he could be back sooner than expected according to head coach Pete Carroll.
“Bruce is doing great,” Carroll said Sunday “There are no signs of anything but forward progress with him. He’s running really hard now. It’s still one week at a time to make sure that there’s no setbacks, but his rehab has gone beautifully. We’re very encouraged that he’ll be back, really, he’s way ahead of schedule so he’ll be back soon.”