There are three games on the preseason docket on Saturday: Titans-Jets, Cowboys-Rams and Raiders-Cardinals. Check in throughout the day and night as we keep you updated on everything you need to know from today’s preseason action.
Scores and schedule
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
23, Buccaneers 12 (GameTracker)
San Francisco 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs
New York Jets
Los Angeles Rams
, 9 p.m. Sat. (GameTracker)
, 10 p.m. Sat. (GameTracker)
, 1:30 p.m. Sun. (GameTracker)
Los Angeles Chargers
, 8 p.m. Sun. (GameTracker)
stakes his claim
The Jets’ starting quarterback job is supposedly up for grabs between Josh McCown,
. McCown was given the first chance against the Titans on Saturday night and he didn’t waste any time. On the Jets’ first series, he went 3 of 4 for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Most of his yardage came on a 53-yard bomb to
, who beat new Titans cornerback
down the right sideline.
Three plays later, McCown punctuated the drive with a short touchdown pass.
Josh McCown might be a below-average NFL quarterback (sorry, he is), but the Jets’ offense actually looked like an NFL offense with McCown under center. That might not seem like high praise (it isn’t), but considering McCown’s competition is Hackenberg and Petty, it might be enough for McCown to claim the starting job (it probably will be).
McCown was done for the night after that drive. Hackenberg is up next.
Hackenberg shows (tiny) signs of improvement
A year ago, Hackenberg was an embarrassment in the preseason. On Saturday, he wasn’t great, but he wasn’t an embarrassment. So in that way, Saturday night can be considered an improvement from a year ago. But if the Jets were hoping Hackenberg would look like their next starting quarterback, they were ultimately let down.
Hackenberg entered the game after the Jets’ first series and exited near the end of the third quarter. He went 18 of 25 for 127 yards (5.1 YPA), zero touchdowns, zero picks, and an 83.2 passer rating. Of his eight drives, six ended in punts. None led to points. Twice, he was forced to burn timeouts with the playclock winding down. He was nearly picked off by a defensive lineman. He fumbled a snap, which was recovered by the Titans.
So no, he wasn’t good. He was still bad. But again, no matter how sad it is to say this, he did improve after last year’s preseason performance, when he averaged a pitiful 3.4 yards per attempt in two games. Progress!
Most of what the Jets called for him were short, quick passes that didn’t travel far downfield.
It’s impossible to win that way in the NFL.
To be clear, nothing from this game suggested that Hackenberg is ready fort he NFL. He still looks like a big-time bust, even if what he did on Saturday night wasn’t embarrassing. He’s not going to win the Jets’ starting job — unless the Jets really do want to go 0-16.
Meanwhile, Bryce Petty played the final quarter and some change, but wasn’t really given a chance to show anything. He went 2 of 6 for 16 yards.
In case it wasn’t already clear, McCown clearly looks like the Jets’ starter.
Jared Goff leads Rams to a TD in limited action
Last year’s No. 1 pick, Jared Goff, isn’t a rookie anymore, but he will be under the microscope this preseason (like most rookies) because of how awful he was in seven starts a year ago.
Consider it a good sign that Goff looked comfortable in Sean McVay’s offense and even led the Rams’ to a touchdown after their punt team recovered a turnover in Cowboys territory. Goff completed three of his four passes for 34 yards. He didn’t get credit for the touchdown, though, but only because his short pass on a slant was fumbled by
into the end zone, where the ball was recovered by
That’s a pass that most quarterbacks — even Hackenberg — can make. So if you’re looking for a better highlight from Goff’s short performance, take a look at the play below.
That’s what the Rams need to do more of: get Goff out of the pocket so that he isn’t standing behind a shoddy offensive line and give him some easy throws. In short, they need to get more creative so that they’re not running their “middle-school offense” from last season. That’s why the Rams hired McVay.
McFadden takes over for Zeke
With the reigning rushing champ
facing a six-game suspension, the Cowboys are in need of a new starting running back. Based on what transpired Saturday night, they’ll lean heavily on
It was McFadden — not
— who took all of his snaps with the first-team offense.
In 19 snaps, McFadden carried the ball six times for 28 yards. Morris, on the hand, carried the ball five times for 11 yards. This doesn’t mean McFadden won the starting job already, but it definitely bodes well for his chances to start when the season begins.
McFadden is the obvious choice. In 2015, when Zeke was still in college, McFadden rushed for 1,089 yards behind the Cowboys’ offensive line. Still, expect Morris to get his fair share of carries too. With Washington from 2012-14, Morris averaged 1,321 yards per season.
Carson Palmer gets the Cardinals into the end zone
Carson Palmer’s 2016 season got off to a rough start before he finished strong down the stretch. He continued his hot finish with a nice beginning to his preseason.
Against the Raiders, Palmer went 4 of 8 for 39 yards. He threw a 12-yard touchdown on third-and-goal to cap his evening.
Good thing he didn’t retire.
Previously in Week 1 of the preseason
The big story on Friday was not related to anything on the field. First up? Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension. Elliott is expected to appeal. Second? Two big trades involving the Bills went down. First, the Bills sent receiver Sammy Watkins to the Rams. Then, the Bills traded for Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews.
On the field, Friday’s preseason action revolved around two rookies who made their debuts. Chiefs quarterback
, who is expected to be the team’s backup, impressed. He entered the game midway through the second quarter and played until the end of the third quarter. Against the 49ers, he went 7 of 9 for 49 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, in his debut with the Bengals, running back
rushed 31 yards on six carries and added one catch for 11 yards. Finally, J.J. Watt’s brother, T.J. Watt, also impressed for the Steelers. He notched two sacks.
On Thursday, Chicago Bears rookie
completely outplayed expected starter
. Cleveland Browns rookie
also completely outplayed the players ahead of him,
. You can read all about the important takeaways from that game as well as key news and stories from the day in football in our Thursday recap.
On Wednesday, rookie quarterback
, the Texans first-round pick back in April, made his NFL debut, and the results were encouraging, while Panthers rookie first-rounder
flashed during his limited action. McCaffrey could be better than advertised — if he’s used properly in this offense. You can read all about the important takeaways from that game as well as key news and stories from the day in football in our Wednesday recap.