The NFL is heading into the second full week of the 2022 NFL preseason. This is the second out of three games for most teams to determine who will crack the regular season on the roster. Week 1 had a lot of great action with quarterback battles and depth guys gunning to earn a roster spot. Still, several star players were held out, so this could be our first look at them getting game action this season in the new three preseason game format.
Starters to watch
Some big-name starters didn’t play in their team’s first preseason game. We haven’t seen Lamar Jackson or Mark Andrews from the Baltimore Ravens or Tyreek Hill and Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins yet. New power couple Derek Carr and Davante Adams haven’t debuted yet, but should this week as they are halfway through their four-game preseason. Christian McCaffrey didn’t play in the first week of the preseason, and it will be interesting to see how the Carolina Panthers manage his workload with how injury prone he is.
Rookies to watch
Kenny Pickett of the Pittsburgh Steelers went into the game as the third-string quarterback but likely won some fans over with his performance. After leading a perfect touchdown drive, he helped the team storm down the field for a game-winning drive. Reports said that you would never have guessed it was a preseason game from how fans cheered.
With his versatility, Malik Willis of the Tennessee Titans turned heads in his first preseason game. He fell to the third round in the 2022 NFL Draft, and his performance certainly cast questions on why that happened. New York Jets running back Breece Hall will be playing in his second preseason game, as will Desmond Ritter of the Atlanta Falcons.
Who needs to shine?
With the first roster cut day come and gone, we have seen some veteran players heading to free agency. Star players certainly seem safe, but with the influx of youthful talent, some veterans need to step up. If Pickett keeps looking better for Pittsburgh, Mason Rudolph’s agent may want to go ahead and start making phone calls for free agency next year.
Either Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold needs to step up. The worse thing for the Panthers would be some weird 50/50 split between the two that head Coach Matt Rhule utilized at times last season. Despite not having Hill, the Kansas City Chiefs need either Mecole Hardman, Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Skyy Moore to step up as a consistent contributor that Patrick Mahomes can rely on.