It's time to play some football. It's preseason, but it's still football. After six exhibition games Thursday night, another 10 are on tap between Friday and Saturday.
If your team didn't play Thursday, then they will be in action over the next two nights. Here's a look at the remainder of the Week 1 preseason schedule and the information needed to catch the action:
|Friday, August 8||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|Miami at Atlanta||7:00 p.m.||WFOR CBS and WUPA CW (Local)||Georgia Dome|
|Buffalo at Carolina||7:30 p.m.||WKBW ABC and WCCB CW (Local)||Bank of America Stadium|
|Tampa Bay at Jacksonville||7:30 p.m.||WFLA NBC and WJXT 4 (Local)||EverBank Field|
|Oakland at Minnesota||8:00 p.m.||KTVU Fox and KARE NBC (Local)||TCF Bank Stadium|
|Philadelphia at Chicago||8:00 p.m.||WPVI ABC and WFLD Fox (Local)||Soldier Field|
|New Orleans at St. Louis||8:00 p.m.||NFL Network||Edward Jones Dome|
|Saturday, August 9||Time (ET)||TV||Location|
|Cleveland at Detroit||7:30 p.m.||NFL Network||Ford Field|
|Pittsburgh at NY Giants||7:30 p.m.||KDKA CBS and WNBC (Local)||MetLife Stadium|
|Green Bay at Tennessee||8:00 p.m.||WGBA NBC and WKRN ABC (Local)||LP Field|
|Houston at Arizona||8:30 p.m.||KTRK ABC and KNXV ABC (Local)||U of Phoenix Stadium|
While you cannot put much stock in the final score of exhibition games, the development of rookies is always a major focus. Here's three first-year players to watch who will be making their NFL debuts.
The Houston Texans' No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft is sure to draw a crowd. Jadeveon Clowney will make his NFL debut against the Arizona Cardinals Saturday.
Clowney suffered an undisclosed injury in training camp, but he returned to practice Thursday. Per Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston, when Clowney was asked if he would play, he said: "Yeah, I'll play."
When asked if he would start, he responded: "Yeah...I hope so."
Texans fans hope so, too.
Clowney has flashed the physical brilliance in practice that helped to make him the Texans' choice with the first pick in the draft. For at least a possession, we should get an opportunity to see his explosion and ability to get after the quarterback.
The 21-year-old had 24 sacks in three seasons at South Carolina, though only three of them came in his last year. Because of the dip in production and his status as the top pick, Clowney has a lot to prove.
It should come as no surprise that the NFL Network picked up the debut of Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Johnny Football won't start against the Detroit Lions Saturday night, as per Dan Loumena of the Los Angeles Times, but you can bet he'll play.
When he does, all eyes will be on the Browns first-round pick. Manziel has impressed his teammates in practice. Per Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, players have had nothing but good things to say about the high-profile rookie: "None of us have seen the crazy Manziel," one player said. "All we've seen is the professional Manziel."
"He's the fastest learner I've ever been around," another said.
The Browns organization wouldn't want things any other way. It would much rather Manziel create havoc on the field for the team's opposition. When Manziel gets his opportunity, there won't be any less cameras and attention pointed his way than there will be for Clowney.
In fact, there will probably be more.
If you asked Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton what he wanted for Christmas this year—aside from good health—his answer might have been a dependable wide receiver.
It seems he might have gotten his wish early. The team selected 6'5" man-child Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State, and throughout training camp, the rookie has looked as if he could be a real force in the team's passing game.
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer writes: "Benjamin continues to be the most impressive part of this camp to me. It has become obvious that the Panthers’ defensive backs cannot guard him, especially near the goal line. That says something about Benjamin, for sure – but also about the Panthers’ defensive backs."
Perhaps Benjamin can exploit the Buffalo Bills secondary Friday night to make his teammates look a little better. For a team built around its defense and the versatility of its multitalented quarterback, a weapon like Benjamin might be the missing piece.
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