32 Things to Watch in Preseason Week 2

Aug 17th 2023

Sosa Kremenjas

Week 2 of the preseason starts tonight with the Cleveland Browns taking on the Philadelphia Eagles.

Let's dive into one player, positional battle, or storyline to follow on all 32 NFL teams heading into Week 2.


Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles

CLE: Rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

  • There is no doubt that the player to watch for the Browns in this game is rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The former fifth-round pick has been one of the most impressive players in the preseason, throwing for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He could win the QB3 job with another impressive performance, and could potentially put himself in the discussion for the QB2 spot.

PHI: Entire backfield

  • Philadelphia's backfield bears watching. In Week 1, the snap count went as such:

Trey Sermon - 29 snaps

Rashaad Penny - 27 snaps

Kennedy Brooks - 13 snaps

D'Andre Swift - 6 snaps

Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott - DNP

There is a ton at stake when it comes to this backfield. It seemed Philly wanted their newcomers to get some snaps having given Gainwell and Scott the night off. Does anything change this week?


Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants

CAR: Rookie QB Bryce Young's second game

  • Rookie QB Bryce Young played just 11 snaps in Week 1 but is scheduled to appear for roughly the same amount of playing time this week. Young threw the ball six times in those snaps but accumulated just 21 yards on four completions in those snaps. We'd all like to see the rookie lead a scoring drive or flash some of the potential that made him the No. 1 overall pick.

NYG: WR room

  • Does anyone separate at wide receiver for the Giants? Last week, Jalin Hyatt, Isaiah Hodgins, Collin Johnson, David Sills, Jamison Crowder, and Cole Beasley played among the team's notable receivers. Hyatt has stood out during training camp practices but registered just one catch for negative yardage in his first NFL action.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Atlanta Falcons

CIN: Safety use and rotation

  • It would be a surprise to see some of the Bengals' star offensive players in this game. With that being said, their defensive starters are expected to get some reps. It'll be an interesting development to see how the Bengals go about replacing star S Jessie Bates III, who departed in free agency.

ATL: Rookie RB Bijan Robinson's debut

  • For Atlanta? All eyes are on first-round pick RB Bijan Robinson. He's expected to make his debut this week and there is no doubt that he is the player to watch in this game. How he and second-year RB Tyler Allgeier split reps will also be interesting. Veteran Cordarrelle Patterson won't play due to injury.


Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions

JAX: WR Calvin Ridley and rookie RB Tank Bigsby

  • Two names to focus on for Jacksonville — WR Calvin Ridley and RB Tank Bigsby. Both played in Week 1, with Ridley registering 12 snaps and Bigsby with 16. Ridley was targeted twice and brought in both passes for 21 yards, while Bigsby ripped off 52 rushing yards on an impressive 5.8 yards-per-carry clip. Both players have stood out during training camp practices.

DET: Rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs' second outing

  • RB Jahmyr Gibbs is where the eyes should be for the Lions. The rookie played 18 snaps in Week 1 and flashed his receiving potential with his 18-yard reception:

The hope is Gibbs gets some run in this one though the Lions are apparently going to rest their starters and select rookies.

Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans

MIA: No. 3 WR competition

  • Miami's No. 3 receiver job appears to be up for grabs and the potential options include Robbie Chosen (formerly Anderson), Braxton Berrios, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. All three players bring their own ability to the table with Chosen being the vertical threat, Wilson the yards-after-catch (YAC) threat, and Berrios the most traditional chain-moving slot type. It'll be interesting to see if anyone can separate in this battle, though Berrios could miss this game by way of a head injury.

HOU: Starting QB job

  • Nothing is more intriguing about the Texans than their quarterback position. While they still technically have a "battle" going on, it's essentially rookie C.J. Stroud's job to lose. The Panthers and Colts have already named their rookie quarterbacks the starters for the season — do the Texans do the same after this week?

Buffalo Bills vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

BUF: WR3 competition

  • Like the Dolphins, the Bills have an intriguing battle going on for their WR3 job. Trent Sherfield, Deonte Harty, and Khalil Shakir are the three competing names. Sherfield could be in the lead if the Week 1 snap counts mean anything, but this battle is far from decided.

PIT: WR George Pickens sonning another DB

  • How about WR George Pickens? The guy is a machine and probably shouldn't see much if any time on the field during these meaningless games:

Chicago Bears vs. Indianapolis Colts

CHI: Entire offense

  • The entire Bears' offense is going to be fun to watch. Just last week, Chicago scored 62 and 56-yard touchdowns in the short time the starters played. The addition of WR D.J. Moore is paying early dividends and the running back battle is fun to watch, though Khalil Herbert seems to have the early edge. Rookie RB Roschon Johnson had a very impressive debut as well and could continue to work toward carving out a role with a string of strong performances.

IND: Rookie QB Anthony Richardson's follow-up performance

  • There's a lot going on with the Colts these days but nothing more interesting than QB Anthony Richardson. The rookie played 29 snaps in his first action and has been since named the team's starting quarterback moving forward. Richardson didn't have the best start as he threw an interception early in the game but his progression heading into this one is certainly something worth keying in on.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Jets

TB: QB1 battle between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, WR3 job

  • Do the Bucs have anyone worthy of starting at quarterback? Both Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask leave something to be desired but Mayfield was able to string together a touchdown pass last week, while Trask turned the ball over. The other spot worth monitoring is the No. 3 receiver role. Russell Gage is likely done for the year after suffering a knee injury in practice on Wednesday and that opens up a big opportunity for one of Trey Palmer, Deven Thompkins, or David Moore to seize a borderline starting role.

NYJ: The vaunted DL

  • The Jets likely won't play some of their star offensive players, leaving us to search the other side of the ball. The vaunted pass rush racked up five sacks (second-most) and 19 pressures (11th) this past week. Second-year EDGE Jermaine Johnson and rookie Will McDonald are two of the standouts to focus on as the pass rush looks to pin their ears back once again.

New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers

NE: WR3 battle

  • There seems to be a theme developing here as the Patriots are another team with a question mark at WR3. Rookie Demario Douglas played just three snaps last week while Tyquan Thornton played 14. Veteran Kendrick Bourne didn't register any offensive snaps. Does anyone separate this week? Douglas has been a consistent highlight throughout training camp.

GB: QB Jordan Love and rookie weapons

  • QB Jordan Love is one of the easy selections for the Packers. His 12 snaps in Week 1 produced mixed results. He had a pass or two that was inaccurate but was also able to complete 7-of-10 pass attempts for 47 yards and a touchdown. This team will go as far as he allows them to. Weapons TE Luke Musgrave and WR Jayden Reed are two others worth watching.

Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings

TEN: WR DeAndre Hopkins' hopeful debut

  • Tennessee may elect to hold him out entirely, but DeAndre Hopkins' debut would be a sight to see, even if for a short period of time. A recent injury to Treylon Burks may lead head coach Mike Vrabel to be extra cautious, though, as his key starters sat in Week 1.

MIN: RB2 competition

  • Jordan Addison has been all but ruled out of this game as he remains in concussion protocol. That leaves us with not much to watch outside of maybe Jalen Reagor or the RB2 battle between Ty Chandler, DeWayne McBride, and Abram Smith. There's a chance Kene Nwangwu misses this game by way of injury. With Nwangwu sidelined, Chandler was able to impress — and potentially distance himself — in Week 1.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals

KC: WR room sorting itself out

  • The wide receiver room in Kansas City is littered with options, few of which have separated themselves. Both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore are expected to play roles alongside Kadarius Toney when healthy, though the No. 3/4 job presents a litany of options including Rashee Rice, Justyn Ross, and Justin Watson. All have stood out at times and it seems Watson has the early chance to fill the role with how few snaps he played in Week 1.

ARI: Rookie WR Michael Wilson

  • Arizona is not an intriguing team by any means. Rookie WR Michael Wilson is arguably the most exciting healthy player entering Week 2. He was able to reel in two of his three targets in Week 1 but just for eight yards. It would be fun to see him featured this week.

Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers

DEN: RB Javonte Williams' return

  • Javonte. Williams. That's all. The star running back returns to the field this week for the first time since suffering a brutal season-ending knee injury last year. While the Broncos would be wise to severely limit his playing time and exposure this week, it'll still be great to see him take the field once again.

SF: QB2 job

  • Trey Lance vs. Sam Darnold. The backup QB job is up for grabs in San Francisco and to this point, it doesn't really seem like either player has run away with the opportunity. Logic suggests Lance should get the first opportunity to do so considering his talent level and the investment poured into him, but Darnold will likely start this week and has a chance to make up some ground.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Rams

LV: RB Zamir White continuing to be the RB1

  • The Raiders don't have many pressing positions to focus on, though RB Zamir White is a decent place to start. The current starter — Josh Jacobs is still holding out — logged 20 snaps and 13 rushing attempts this past week. That seems like a large amount of work for a guy the Raiders may need to rely on come Week 1 of the regular season. Also, does QB Jimmy Garoppolo see any reps this week?

LAR: Rookie WR Puka Nacua

  • Make no mistake about it, the Rams are a boring preseason team but rookie WR Puka Nacua is a player to highlight. The Rams don't have many established receivers on the team outside of Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson and that leaves a lot of snaps to fill between Nacua, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson, and potentially even Week 1 standout Tyler Johnson.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

DAL: RB Deuce Vaughn

  • Two words: Deuce Vaughn. Few players looked more electric than Vaughn in Week 1. The rookie forced three missed tackles in the running game and averaged a stellar 6.3 yards-a-pop. If he continues to show out like he did last week, Vaughn could very well carve himself out a role on offense this season.

SEA: Rookie investments

  • All eyes are on the Seahawks' rookies. Both WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB Zach Charbonnet are key players to watch. Both players got some run and were featured to an extent in Week 1. It'll be fun to see how they're integrated this week and if they're able to produce any big plays.


New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Chargers

NO: Starting offense

  • Even though we saw the Saints' offensive starters in Week 1, they're worth circling back to this week. They produced a solid result with starting QB Derek Carr completing six of eight passing attempts for 70 yards and a touchdown, including one of which was caught by WR Michael Thomas. Those two are worth watching, but so is the distribution of snaps at running back and tight end, as well as who the WR3 is while Rashid Shaheed remains sidelined because of injury.

LAC: Rookie WR Quentin Johnston's vertical ability

  • It remains to be seen if the Chargers will actually play their starters this week. The smart bet would say no, and that leaves us with a clear spot to focus on — rookie WR Quentin Johnston. He played 20 snaps last week and was targeted a team-high six times, bringing in three receptions for 10 yards and a touchdown. Johnston nearly had a catch that would've gone for long yardage on a vertical route. It'd be fun to see him get another opportunity to do so this week.


Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Commanders

BAL: Winning streak continued?

  • Can the Ravens extend their preseason winning streak to a consecutive 25 games? It's a silly story but it's also kind of insane. The last time Baltimore lost a preseason game? 2015.

WAS: QB Sam Howell

  • Round two of potential starting QB Sam Howell with the starting offense. Howell tossed a touchdown to second-year receiver Jahan Dotson in last week's game, while backup QB Jacoby Brissett threw an interception and ran a touchdown in.

As of now, it's Howell's job to lose and he could cement himself as the starter with a good performance this week.