The first week of the NFL Preseason is here and we're kicking off our first major slate with five games going on Friday evening. Most teams are emulating each other in playing time, though there are plenty of detailed notes to follow down below. Let's dive into the news, notes, depth charts, historical playing time, and notable injuries for all 10 teams heading into Thursday.
Falcons Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: WR Bryan Edwards (shoulder), LB Deion Jones (shoulder)
Falcons News & Notes:
The Falcons plan to play their starters for about a quarter in preseason Week 1, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter.
Everyone who is healthy will play for the Falcons, according to head coach Arthur Smith. The distribution between QBs Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder hasn't yet been discerned, but Mariota is expected to start and Ridder to follow. Per the Falcons' team site, Ridder is likely to get the majority of snaps at the position:
"Arthur Smith said that both Mariota and Ridder would play against the Lions, though the split would not be 50-50, implying that Ridder will see the majority of on-field time. Mariota, for his part, is ready for whatever comes. He didn't volunteer a specific amount of game time required to find improved cohesion with his new team. It's also possible that Feleipe Franks works some calling signals. He has spent most of his time at tight end but has run select periods at quarterback."
From Falcons beat reporter Tori McElhaney, on Feleipe Franks' usage:
"As I wrote on Thursday, Arthur Smith said the chances of Franks playing quarterback against Detroit has yet to really be decided. However, between playing quarterback and tight end, Smith said he would hedge your bets that it won't be 50/50 for Franks. The college quarterback turned pro tight end has only played a small minority of snaps at quarterback throughout the two weeks of training camp, with majority of that minority coming in the last week. He's primarily stuck to his new roots, which is now catching passes instead of throwing them."
TE Kyle Pitts is also going to play this preseason. It isn't known if Pitts is a 100% go for Week 1 or if the Falcons had plans to play him in the other preseason games, but there's a good shot we see the stud TE in action.
Rookie WR Drake London could make his debut for the team on Friday, though it remains to be seen how long he'll suit up. London is one to watch in this game, of course.
Lions Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: RB Greg Bell (hamstring), WR Jameson Williams (knee), WR Quintez Cephus (leg), DE Romeo Okwara (Achilles), DE Josh Pascal (hernia); LIKELY TO PLAY: TE Devin Funchess (groin)
Lions News & Notes:
The Lions are following suit — like the Falcons, Detroit is also planning to play their starters, though only about "a quarter", according to head coach Dan Campbell. QB Jared Goff has reportedly developed a rapport with free agent WR D.J. Chark Jr. and should get some opportunities to pick up where he left off with WR Amon-Ra St. Brown.
The WR core is especially interesting as we know both Williams and Cephus won't be suiting up for this contest. That should leave enough reps on the table for Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond to make some moves, in addition to any young players with more opportunities.
Second-overall pick Aidan Hutchinson should make his debut, too. It's always fun to see actual live contact between offensive and defensive lineman.
Browns Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: QB Jacoby Brissett (rest); RB Nick Chubb (rest), RB Kareem Hunt (rest); WR Amari Cooper (rest), WR Michael Woods II (hamstring), WR Jakeem Grant (Achilles), CB Denzel Ward (foot); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: WR David Bell (foot); QUESTIONABLE: WR Anthony Schwartz (knee) LIKELY TO PLAY: QB Deshaun Watson (suspension); WR Javon Wims (undisclosed)
Browns News & Notes:
Friday update as of 5:30 PM ET - Jacoby Brissett, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Amari Cooper aren't expected to play. Deshaun Watson is expected to start at QB.
Continuing the trend, the Browns also plan to play "most" of their starters in preseason Week 1. And yes, QB Deshaun Watson is scheduled to start and plans to play a couple series. A decision on Watson's appeal ruling will not come on Friday, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano, which clears the way for him to play.
Kareem Hunt is considered questionable as we don't know if he'll participate or not. His "hold-in" lasted all of two days during training camp, so it's possible he could suit up and get some action in this game. The Browns would be wise to preserve both Nick Chubb and Hunt, alongside WR Amari Cooper, though.
The WR position is going to be interesting to watch as Bell, Schwartz, Wims, and Woods all have a possibility of missing this game. None of their statuses are solidified but it would be fun to see how Bell operates in the slot and if Schwartz can offer the over-the-top vertical ability he was drafted for. Bell likely won't play, per coach Stefanski:
In the backfield, D'Ernest Johnson should get plenty of run this preseason and has already proven himself as a legitimate NFL running back. Demetric Felton is another player to watch as he offers both RB and WR flexibility.
Jaguars Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: RB James Robinson (Achilles), WR Christian Kirk (ankle), WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (undisclosed), WR Jamal Agnew (hip); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: LB Devin Lloyd (hamstring)
Jaguars News & Notes:
Friday update as of 5:45 PM ET - Christian Kirk (ankle) ruled out.
From Jaguars beat writer John Shipley:
We didn't see the starters last week in the Hall of Fame game, but we will see them this week — the Jaguars will let their starters play "a couple series", per head coach Doug Pederson.
That includes both QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne. Both players will make their preseason debuts this week. The last time we saw Etienne was back during the 2021 preseason.
Backup QB C.J. Beathard will also play in this game and will follow Lawrence, with Jake Luton likely coming in after him.
Cardinals Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: QB Kyler Murray (wrist), QB Colt McCoy (arm); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: RB James Conner (rest), WR DeAndre Hopkins (rest), WR Marquise Brown (hamstring), WR Rondale Moore (rest), WR A.J. Green (rest), WR Antoine Wesley (hip), TE Zach Ertz (calf), TE Trey McBride (back), C Rodney Hudson (knee); QUESTIONABLE: RB Darrel Williams (undisclosed), TE Maxx Williams (knee), DE Markus Golden (toe)
Cardinals News & Notes:
Arizona will take a different approach in Week 1. They've decided to rest the majority of their starters. It isn't solidified in stone, but most of the expected names land on the offensive side of the ball. In addition to Murray sitting, Colt McCoy won't play. That leaves a ton of playing time on the table for Trace McSorely, who will start the game at QB:
WR Greg Dortch has been one of the players that's stood out throughout training camp, so he's one to keep eyes on entering this game. He could see a ton of playing time if the Cardinals decide to rest all of the WRs ahead of him on the depth chart.
The Cardinals could be short-handed at TE if Ertz, McBride, and Williams all sit this game out.
Bengals Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: QB Joe Burrow (appendectomy), RB Elijah Holyfield (knee), WR Tee Higgins (shoulder), TE Drew Sample (knee), LB Logan Wilson (labrum), S Jessie Bates III (holdout); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: RB Joe Mixon (rest), WR Ja'Marr Chase (rest), WR Tyler Boyd, RT La'El Collins (back); QUESTIONABLE: DE Sam Hubbard (undisclosed)
Bengals News & Notes:
Cincinnati will follow suit and won't play any of their "entrenched" starters, per head coach Taylor. The team did not specify who those players are, but we do know QB Joe Burrow, TE Drew Sample, and WR Tee Higgins are among three of those skill position players. That list also likely includes Chase, Boyd, and Mixon.
We know Brandon Allen will start and Jake Browning will follow him. Allen and Browning will split the available playing time with the former starting the first half, and the latter taking the second half.
The Bengals haven't released much information in terms of who or what to expect, but first-round rookie Dax Hill will play in place of Bates:
Jets Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: QB Joe Flacco (rest); RT Mekhi Becton (knee); QUESTIONABLE: RB Ty Johnson (hamstring); LIKELY TO PLAY: TE Jeremy Ruckert (foot)
Jets News & Notes:
Joe Flacco is not participating in pregame warmups.
Second-year QB Zach Wilson will play "one or two" series and will be followed by Joe Flacco and Mitch White, per head coach Saleh.
All starters are going to play the same duration as Wilson, it seems, as they're also slated to play "one or two" series.
It will be fun to watch a totally re-made Jets offense take the field for the first time. Free agent TE Tyler Conklin has reportedly developed a rapport with Wilson. Defensively, we should get our first look at CB Sauce Gardner, DE Jermaine Johnson, and a defensive line that features DE Carl Lawson — who is fully recovered from a torn Achilles — and DT Quinnen Williams.
Eagles Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: TE Tyree Jackson (knee), TE Jaeden Graham (undisclosed), C Jason Kelce (elbow); QUESTIONABLE: RB Boston Scott (concussion), RB Kenneth Gainwell (hip), WR Greg Ward (toe), WR DeVonta Smith (groin), WR John Hightower (groin), WR Keric Wheatfall (hamstring), TE Grant Calcaterra (hamstring), LT Jordan Mailata (concussion); LIKELY TO PLAY: TE Richard Rodgers (undisclosed)
Eagles News & Notes:
The Eagles appear to be matching the Jets' strategy, with their starters and QB Jalen Hurts slated to play one or two series, per coach Sirianni:
WR Jalen Reagor could get a lot of playing time this preseason, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic:
"Jalen Reagor had a nice catch along the sideline. He’s been productive this summer and the coaches like the shape he’s in. I’d expect him to get considerable playing time in the preseason. It could serve as a showcase for a potential trade, or prepare him for a depth role. It would surprise me if the Eagles cut Reagor."
The Eagles may elect to play it safe at RB. If they do, we could see Miles Sanders just for a short time — if at all — and neither of Scott nor Gainwell. If that's the case, Jason Huntley would likely have to carry a large workload in this contest.
Packers Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: QB Aaron Rodgers (rest), RB Aaron Jones (rest), RB AJ Dillon (rest) RB Kylin Hill (knee), WR Allen Lazard (rest), WR Sammy Watkins (rest), WR Randall Cobb (rest); WR Christian Watson (knee), TE Robert Tonyan (knee), LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RT Elgton Jenkins (knee); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: RB Aaron Jones (rest), RB A.J. Dillon (rest), WR Sammy Watkins (rest), WR Allen Lazard (rest), TE Marcedes Lewis (rest), DT Kenny Clark (rest), DT Dean Lowry (rest), DT Jarran Reed (rest), DE Rashan Gary (rest), DE Preston Smith (rest), LB De'Vondre Campbell (rest), CB Eric Stokes (rest), CB Jaire Alexander (rest), CB Rasul Douglas (rest), S Adrian Amos (rest), S Darnell Savage (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: RB Patrick Taylor (groin), WR Randall Cobb (foot), Dominique Dafney (knee)
Packers News & Notes:
"LaFleur said Sunday that Taylor and undrafted rookies Tyler Goodson and BJ Baylor will “carry the load throughout the course of the preseason.” With Kylin Hill still rehabbing the ACL he tore in Week 8 last season, the third running back spot behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will be up for grabs if Hill begins the season on the physically unable to perform list (which would require him to miss at least the first four games). Taylor, who returned to the field Sunday after missing three practices with a groin injury, figures to be the leader in the clubhouse for the job and could even stake a claim to keep it once Hill’s knee heals. He ran for 89 yards on 23 carries last season (3.9 yards per rush) and a touchdown against the Lions in the regular-season finale."
By all accounts, rookie fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs is a player to watch in this game. Doubs has stood out consistently throughout training camp and has a chance to earn a real role in the starting offense with a strong preseason showing. The rookie could find himself pressed into playing time if Cobb, Watson, Watkins, and Lazard are sidelined.
49ers Notable Injuries/Absences:
OUT: TE Jordan Matthews (knee), DE Dee Ford (back), CB Jason Verrett (knee), CB Charvarius Ward (muscle strain); UNLIKELY TO PLAY: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder/rest), TE Charlie Woerner (core); QUESTIONABLE: RB Elijah Mitchell (undisclosed), WR Marcus Johnson (concussion), RT Mike McGlinchey (quad), DT Javon Kinlaw (knee), DT Arik Armstead (knee)
49ers News & Notes:
It remains to be seen whether star WR Deebo Samuel will suit up and if he does, for how long. Brandon Aiyuk has flashed consistently throughout training camp and could be the source of a big play or two for Lance in this game.
Maybe the most intriguing positional battle is the No. 2 - No. 4 RB job. Elijah Mitchell is locked into the RB1 role, but Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon, JaMycal Hasty, Tyrion Davis-Price, and Jordan Mason have all flashed and will be in a tight battle to determine who has a role in the offense this season. According to Matt Barrows of The Athletic, the 49ers won't need to see much — if any at all — from Mitchell and Wilson, leaving a lot of work for the four remaining running backs.