Twistity Eye on Football: NFL WRAPS THE PRESEASON

  The NFL packs a lot into one evening. All 32 teams conclude their preseason on the same night, with 16 games on Thursday leading up to Saturday’s final...


 
The NFL packs a lot into one evening. All 32 teams conclude their preseason on the same night, with 16 games on Thursday leading up to Saturday’s final roster cut.

In a week, the season starts for real. For now, well, let’s just work with what we have. And that’s not much. Most teams have a good idea how they will construct their 53-man roster, so this preseason finale may impact one or two spots and no more. Very few starters will play, and they won’t play long if they are thrown out there. The best most players can hope for is a good showing that is free of injury, so they’ll have more video to show prospective employers.

What we’ll be watching:

Oakland at Seattle:This is one of the few games where real impact could occur at a key position. With Matt Schaub (elbow) hurting, rookie Derek Carr could make a strong case to win the starting quarterback job. Schaub, acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans, was not impressive in the first three preseason games. On the other side of the field, former Raider Terrelle Pryor will get a chance to prove to Seattle he belongs on the roster. The backup QB to Russell Wilson is Tarvaris Jackson.

St. Louis at Miami: Rams rookie defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly-gay player, has had a solid preseason. He has shown some quickness in getting to the passer, but the Rams are fairly deep on the defensive line. If Sam doesn’t make the Rams’ roster, he’s likely to get picked up elsewhere. Interesting problem for the Rams.

Atlanta at Jacksonville: You’ll want to see Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles now. Because the Jags remain committed to the idea of keeping him bundled up on the sidelines until next year. He and Chad Henne both work with the starters and Bortles’ progress has surpassed expectations. Yet Jacksonville has a plan for him that apparently includes no action in 2014. Too bad.

Today’s question: None of the three quarterbacks taken in the first round – Bortles, Johnny Manziel (Cleveland Browns), Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota Vikings) – is currently a starter. Which will take the field first this season? Answers in the comments box, please.
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman .

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