Why the O-line in the preseason is a mess, and what to make of Russell Wilson and Trey Lance’s extended outing

Why the O-line in the preseason is a mess, and what to make of Russell Wilson and Trey Lance's extended outing

One week later, there are two more to go before we get games of interest, but the first week of the NFL pre-season still gives us important games in their own way. Football was expected to be a bit sloppy and there were a few missteps, but beggars can’t choose here. It is definitely better than nothing.

With soccer back comes the return of the critically acclaimed Four Verts column, and it starts with a request from all soccer fans after watching the first week of pre-season.

Playing Russell Wilson in the second quarter doesn’t mean much, but it’s funny

Pre-season is all about adjusting teams who have new pieces that fit together for the first time. Entities that have been in the NFL for a long time sometimes find themselves in a new marriage and it takes some time to work out the problems before they can play productive football. The newest entry in this very specific category created for the sole purpose of this article is the new duo in Denver: Sean Payton and Russell Wilson.

Both have been around the NFL forever, and have become firmly established icons in the era of professional football. For the first time, they are working together in a partnership where they really need each other. Payton needs Wilson to get back in shape so that the team prays to compete with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs within their own division. Wilson needs Payton to use his role in offensive knowledge to get Wilson back on track after a dismal 2022 season that saw one-time head coach in Nathaniel Hackett.

The first iteration of this partnership came in the first week of this pre-season—and it was a bit longer than people expected given Wilson’s experience in the NFL. Wilson played until leading the Broncos offense on the field against a Cardinals defense that is in rebuilding mode. With 6:54 left in the second quarter, Wilson and Peyton closed in that elusive drive with a 21-yard touchdown run by Jerry Goody before Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci took over for the rest of the game at quarterback.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson played well in the second quarter of the team's first preseason game against the Cardinals.  This is a rare sight for a veteran like him.  (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson played well in the second quarter of the team’s first preseason game against the Cardinals. This is a rare sight for a veteran like him. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

See, it doesn’t actually matter. Preparing for the cast. Games do not count. Any team can use their game shares in these games however they like. Still. It’s funny. Come on, Bronco fans. Let’s laugh together.

Nobody knows how this season will end with Wilson and the Broncos and half of a preseason game is definitely not enough information to be sure how this team will perform. However, given all the details that have leaked out about Wilson’s strength within the team during the worst season of his career – namely, the presence of his personal quarterback coach – it was a bit funny to see Payton establish his own dominance over his new team.

First, they came for Gilligan hats; then in-game player interviews before the start of the season; And then they played quarterback with their franchise in the second quarter of their first preseason game. “Power struggle” is a pretty strong word for what this means because there has been no public indication that Wilson is unhappy with Sheriff Payton executing his program on the rest of the team, but this is a huge shift from where she was last year. For example, Wilson didn’t play in the pre-season a year ago! Now, he’s scratching and battling with the Zombie Arizona Cardinals in pre-season one!

It’s good content. Wilson may still have a great season, but one thing is painfully clear: This is Sean Payton’s team.

We cherish offensive linemen around the league

Every year, the same piece of information comes out painfully at the start of the preseason: The depth of the offensive line around the league is Thin. A lot of pre-season play is bogged down by the fact that a lot of these teams can’t stop them without their starts in the game – that’s not a groundbreaking revelation by any means, but the sheer amount of blown blocks, missed assignments and a general inability to stay ahead of a defensive lineman is startling. To Watch.

It should give football fans a greater appreciation for the skill level of players who are good at playing not only the offensive line but even the middle players. As preseason routinely shows, most teams are an inch away from disaster in terms of offensive line talent. It should be noted that the first pre-season game will be difficult from an execution standpoint because these players have not spent much time together. There will be mental lapses and easy mistakes to fix before the regular season arrives.

This is really about the quality of the gameplay that’s on display at the end of the lists at the moment. that it rough To watch players fighting for roster spots along the defensive line smoke out their counterparts on the offensive line who find themselves in the same precarious position regarding their NFL careers. These are the players within reasonable range of actually taking the field in the regular season. This is alarming for a lot of teams.

However, this is probably not a problem that can be fixed or that really needs to be fixed. Playing the offensive line in the NFL right now is very difficult. Nowadays there are guys who fall on the third day of the draft and look like they were lab built to speed up the draft. On the other hand, there is very Few human specimens have the necessary size and physique to be top-tier offensive linemen–which is why these guys keep moving up in the draft. It’s just a rare skill set to be able to move like a skilled player at over 300 lbs. It should create a greater appreciation for how talented top players are because there aren’t many body types that meet the requirements of an NFL offensive lineman with whom he can start consistently.

There will be plenty of sacks before the preseason is over, but viewers should take a glass-half-full approach when they watch their team’s favorite quarterbacks get hit repeatedly: at least it won’t happen to rookies! maybe.

The Panthers offensive line could use Mulligan

Zoenix! It didn’t do well for the Panthers’ offensive line in the debut of their first overall pick, quarterback Bryce Young. The Panthers’ starting offense was whipped by a group of Jets players who didn’t even have their best player, Quinn Williams, fit for the game. The Jets aren’t quite a standard preseason team because they’ve invested first-round picks in the defensive line over recent seasons, but the Panthers’ predictable starting lineup has started and struggled badly in first-round preseason performance.

Young had to show toughness as the starting quarterback at Alabama considering he’s much smaller than every player he tries to tackle. This toughness was immediately tested in his first NFL action, where he took some big shots on action limited by the foul play of big players up front. This is a little worrying for what the Panthers want to achieve this season.

It’s not like Carolina has overwhelming offensive line talent, but Ike Ekowono and Taylor Mouton are the blue chip players in this group. Ekwonu had a rocky start, getting knocked out in ways similar to the early parts of his rookie season before rebounding and playing really strong football by the end of the year. This is only one game and it should be considered considering that the Panthers offensive line had some good performances in the back half last season.

Carolina Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young was under siege in his first preseason game because his offensive line didn't do him any favors.  (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers rookie QB Bryce Young was under siege in his first preseason game because his offensive line didn’t do him any favors. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It could just be a bad performance, but what should be worrying is that it looks like some to support Offensive lines during the first week of the preseason. Or maybe the Jets will recreate the New York Sack Exchange this season with the talent they stockpiled there.

Regardless, the first game showed that Young might need to put his trademark runaway runs, toughness, and ability to sprint early and often. Rookie seasons are always difficult for quarterbacks, so hopefully for Young this is just a flash in the pan and not what the entire season will be like for him. Granted, the Panthers’ offensive line is more talented than it showed during that game and would benefit from the actual game planning of their opponents in the regular season, but the performance has been poor enough to notice for now.

Trey Lance desperately needs hard-to-reach actors

With 49ers quarterback Trey Lance entering the third year of his career, one thing is for sure: He needs to play as much football as possible before Brock Purdy returns to the starting lineup. Lance has not played a full football season as a junior since the 2019 season at North Dakota State. Due to playing behind Jimmy Garoppolo and suffering a broken leg early last season, Lance has thrown just 102 passes in the NFL regular season – an incredibly small amount of attempts for a player who’s had three First round picks are traded for a chance to get it.

Now, Lance finds himself fighting for his NFL future as the potential backup quarterback behind Brock Purdy (but even that isn’t guaranteed given Sam Darnold’s performance in the 49ers’ first preseason game). When Lance took the field against the 49ers, he looked like a quarterback who had barely had any meaningful live action even before the pandemic began. Unfortunately for Lance, the 49ers are committed to Purdy as the starting quarterback and Lance’s performance against the Raiders on Sunday show he’s not really a threat to start now.

Lance needs to play if he’s going to realize the talent that made him the third overall pick in 2021, but it doesn’t look like this is a situation where he can get real seasonal shots to improve. This is where pre-season is very important because Lance will not enter the season as a starter like he did last season. Those pre-season games will be the only shot he has to play – and potentially a test for another team.

Even the touchdown Lance threw to Ross Doyley shows just how far Lance still has to go as a passer. He fired a pass into the end zone that was supposed to be an easy interception for the Raiders defensive back, but it was dropped and landed in the hands of Doyle for a touchdown. It’s nice that Lance has the arm strength to test a tight window and the athleticism of dribble under pressure, but he’s still prone to making a mistake like that.

It wasn’t all bad. Lance was able to pull off a nice putt on third and a long for the conversion. Lance has thrown 420 pass attempts combined between college and the NFL, a college career that began in 2018. Lance’s first preseason game highlighted just how strange his career had been up to this point — and how much he still needed reps who might not come in handy. San Francisco.

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