August is here and the end of the summer is right around the corner, and while some will miss the bright and sunny days there are others who won’t. That’s because those individuals are looking forward to something else entirely: the beginning of this year’s NFL football season. Since the NBA season ended back in June the world of sports has been rather quiet, and sports fans have been without much entertainment outside of baseball. But this past weekend said fans were treated to the first week of preseason NFL football, and though it may just be preseason it was certainly a pleasure for fans to get back into the swing of things.
While preseason football certainly isn’t indicative of what’s to come during this upcoming NFL season, week one of preseason gave some fans reason to be excited. Take for example New Orleans Saints fans, with the Saints defeating the defending Super Bowl Champions the Kansas City Chiefs in their new quarterback’s, Derek Carr, debut and the additional debut of another new offensive weapon in Jimmy Graham who caught a touchdown. Bears fans also look to have plenty to be smiling about after taking home a win as well, with budding star quarterback Justin Fields racking up a total of 129 yards and two touchdowns on just three passes. Another young quarterback who shined this week was the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson who completed 70% of his passes for a total of 123 yards, leading the Jets to a 27-0 win against the Carolina Panthers. But Green Bay appears to be equipped with the most budding talent: rookie QB Sean Clifford went 20 for 26 and racked up 208 passing yards to lead all quarterbacks in the league this week, while rookie running back Emanuel Wilson also led at his position with 111 rushing yards on just six rush attempts. More often than not preseason is where the up-and-comers get their chance to shine as the starters are preserving their health for the regular season, and they certainly took advantage of their opportunities during week one.
The preseason can tell you a lot about a team, or it can tell you very little. Most often though, you can only tell in hindsight after reflecting upon the early season performances that stood out for one reason or another. At the same time though, these same performances can serve to indicate what direction a team may go this season or what options may be available for them to explore. Maybe we will see the aforementioned players light up the scoreboard a lot this season, or maybe not at all; either way, that’s the nature of the NFL and football fans have plenty of football left to look forward to to find out for themselves as the 2023-2024 NFL season is officially underway.