Normally, I don’t care about preseason games. They mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. This year feels different, however. There are a number of new starting quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and feel good stories, as well. Here are five reasons you should watch preseason tonight:
1. Quarterback Mason Rudolph and Wide Receiver James Washington:
When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected James Washington in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, I thought to myself: It sure would be pretty cool if they also somehow drafted his teammate, Mason Rudolph. Then a trade happened. WR Martavis Bryant to The Oakland Raiders for a third round pick.
Rudolph led the country in passing yards last season. Meanwhile, Washington led the country in receiving yards. They both managed to land on the same NFL team and we get to watch them work tonight.
2. Patrick Mahomes:
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a lot on his shoulders. He’s been given the keys to the car. If you watched preseason last year, you’ll know that Mahomes lit it up. His bootleg, throwing across his body passes that somehow end up right on the money is drawing early comparisons to Brett Favre.
What we do get to find out tonight: Is Mahomes ready?
3. The Cleveland Browns:
Is this finally the year the Browns have their franchise quarterback? The team certainly looks good on paper, but we’ve seen this dance before. A team comes into the season loaded, then fails to meet expectations. I am excited, nonetheless, to see what rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and company has to offer.
4.Running Back Saquon Barkley:
The 6-foot, 235-pound wrecking ball for the New York Giants already has an impressive resume during college. He is a six-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week; 2016 first-team All-American; and the 2016 and 2017 Big Ten Running back of the year. Barkley owns the Penn State record for most all-purpose yards in a single game with 358.
Tonight, the Browns will be visiting the Giants. Normally, I’d rather watch re-runs of Seinfeld, however, I’m tuning in because of Barkley and Mayfield.
5. The New Helmet Rule:
Yes, we’re talking about the lowering the helmet rule. Tonight, we’ll get a much better idea of what will draw a foul. I can’t picture a game without helmet contact from the defense. Perhaps the refs won’t call every helmet penalty, only those which look especially violent. Regardless, if you don’t watch the preseason and you complain about the helmet rule, shame on you.
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