The opening week of the NFL preseason was one for first impressions. From rookies like Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, to veterans who switched teams this offseason such as Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware and Green Bay Packers edge defender Julius Peppers, many players had their initial game action in new uniforms on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
Wins and losses don’t matter in the preseason, but impressions do for players who are competing for jobs. Even for players whose roles are seemingly more defined, teams relish the opportunity to evaluate their athletes in live action to help determine what each player could bring to the field in 2014.
Not all of the following players were making first impressions in Week 1, but all of them have to prove themselves this summer. In the 10 upcoming slides, we’ll take a look at how some of the most noteworthy rookies and veterans trying to establish themselves performed in their teams’ preseason openers.
Because players only participate in partial games in the preseason and some of these players worked with second-team units in their debuts, it is inaccurate to simply grade them on their statistics. They can be evaluated, however, based on the individual plays they did and didn't make, the skills they demonstrated and the flaws apparent in their play.