As I went through a long weekend of work, no sleep, and the bipolar rain showers that drenched Maryland, I was fortunate to still catch some remarkable NFL preseason games. Though some may never consider them “watchable”, there were some good performances by rookie players trying to make a living in the National Football League. Some were shaky but there were others who opened some eyes.
Here are my top three rookies for the first week of NFL preseason football:
1. QB Ryan Mallett (NE): The 2011 third round pick out of Arkansas proved to be quite the pro-ready quarterback that most scouts predicted before the draft. Character issues might have dropped Mallett to the 74th overall pick but it certainly landed him in a comfy situation in New England, learning from the best in head coach Bill Belichick and three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady. Mallett completed 12-of-19 passes for 164 yards with a TD in a 47-12 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
2. RB Mark Ingram (NO): Ingram looked impressive in several runs this past Friday, including a 14-yard touchdown run over the San Francisco 49ers in a 24-3 Saints victory. While rushing for 23 yards on six carries won’t open too many eyes, scoring definitely will, even if it becomes a habit for Ingram. Winning the Heisman trophy and helping Alabama win a BCS National Championship certainly set Ingram apart from the rest. If the 2011 first round pick can out-perform free agent pickup Darren Sproles, look for Ingram to help the Saints on the ground game this upcoming season.
3. QB Jake Locker (TEN): The starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans will be Matt Hasselbeck according to sources within the organization, this will only motivate Jake Locker to step up his game. The first round pick out of Washington put up good numbers in his preseason debut, going 7-for-10 with 89 yards and one touchdown, a 45-yard scoring pass to receiver Yamon Figurs. It is safe to say that Hasselbeck is the safest option for the Titans at this point but should injury or lack of performance ensue, look for Locker to become the starter by mid-season.
The Minnesota Twins made a trade to their AL Central rivals, the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers received outfielder Delmon Young, who not too long ago had a respectable season with the Twins, batting .298 with 21 home runs and 112 RBI’s in 2010. Young, 25 can’t seem to find his groove nowadays due to injuries and slumps that have resulted in Young batting .266 with 4 home runs and 32 RBI’s. With Magglio Ordonez getting near the end of his career, Young could provide a spark for manager Jim Leyland and the Tigers. The Tigers hold a 2 1/2 game lead over the Cleveland Indians as of todays writing.
Yes, I’m about to mention NASCAR right now. Not because of a fist fight between Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart or Dale Earnhardt Jr. running out of gas, but because Jimmie Johnson is actually trailing in the 2011 Sprint Cup Series. The 5-time defending Sprint Cup Champion is trailing by six points (746) behind Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, who are both tied in the standings for first place at 752 points each. Plenty of races are left to be had, however Johnson fell back abit this past weekend at Watkins Glen, placing in 10th a week after placing 4th at Pocono the week before. Should Johnson continue to lose steam in the last few races, the odds of him six-peating for the Sprint Cup Championship is going to be as slim as a Lowes gift card.
I will be tuning into plenty of sporting events tonight at the local crabhouse. One of them will be the Monday Night Football game between the Houston Texans and the New York Jets. Shortly thereafter, I will be heading home to watch Monday Night Raw on the DVR to check out the aftermath of last night’s SummerSlam pay-per-view. Here is hoping that Mark Sanchez throws two interceptions and CM Punk throws two chairs across John Cena’s head. Unless that isn’t a PG move.
Thank you for checking out my blog for this week! I will be writing an update in regards to NHL preseason which is right around the corner and the progress (or regression) of the NBA lockout. Feel free to add me on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any updates regarding my blog and future projects. To quote Zack Ryder, “Take care! Spike your hair! Woo woo woo! You know it!”.