NFL

NFL AM: 5 Observations From Saturday’s NFL Preseason Games

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There were eight games on the NFL’s exhibition slate for Saturday evening.  Everyone knows that the outcomes mean very little, if anything so we’re going to take you around the league for five quick observations.

The Eagles Are The Best Ticket In Football

I don’t know if the Philadelphia Eagles are going to make much noise in the playoffs, or even get there, but I do know that they are the most fun team to watch (and it has nothing to do with their third/fourth-string quarterback).

Chip Kelly consistently schemes receivers wide open and they have the best three running backs on any one roster in the NFL in DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles.  The Eagles are a great watch and everything about them is fascinating.

Blake Bortles Has Made Great Strides

As we discussed earlier on Football Insiders, Blake Bortles might be the most improved quarterback in the NFL this season.

On Saturday night, Bortles wasn’t perfect as he missed on a couple throws, but he went through his progressions, threw the football decisively and showed why the Jaguars made him the third-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Bortles was much better than his 8 for 16, 98-yard stat line showed, as he was the victim of four drops by his wide receivers.

Amari Cooper Could Win Rookie of the Year

Kevin White might have had slightly better measurables in the NFL Draft, but there’s a reason why Amari Cooper was the first wide receiver selected.  Cooper has looked magnificent so far through training camp and now into the preseason.  He runs routes like a Pro Bowler, has tremendous hands and has enough speed to get open.

Cooper caught one pass for 40 yards on Saturday night, and that was just a small preview of what we’re going to see as long as he and Derek Carr stay healthy.

Patriots Will Be Okay

Jimmy Garoppolo is not as good as Tom Brady, and no matter what he does in a preseason game the New England Patriots will always be better off with No. 12 under center.

With that said, Garoppolo proved on Saturday night that he is at the very least serviceable, and at best pretty darn good.

Albeit against second- and third-stringers, Garoppolo played remarkably well, completing 28 of 33 throws, for 269 yards.  He led the team down the field for the eventual game-winning field goal.

The pressure cooker will certainly heat up if Tom Brady loses his appeal and Garoppolo has to play in the NFL’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Josh McDaniels will put him in the best position to succeed.

Extra Points Are No Longer Automatic

I have to admit, I was completely in favor of the NFL moving the extra point line of scrimmage back to the 15-yard line.  The old extra point was automatic and boring and why not make something that’s boring, less boring?

I guess we got what we wanted.  Issues with extra points sporadically around the league.

Guess what?

It’s really not any better.  Unless a team has a terrible kicker (and there are too many good ones to keep a bad one), NFL coaches are still going to take the one-point instead of going for two the vast majority of the time.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.