NFL Preseason Report Cards for Every Team

Russell S. Baxter@@BaxFootballGuruContributor IAugust 29, 2014

NFL Preseason Report Cards for Every Team

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    Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr raises the correct finger when it comes to saying "No. 1."
    Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr raises the correct finger when it comes to saying "No. 1."USA TODAY Sports

    It’s late August and classes are back in session for kindergarten and grades one through 12.

    Hence, there’s no better time for us to show what we were able to learn during summer school.

    Here are our preseason reports cards for each of the NFL’s 32 teams.

    How did we come to these conclusions? It is based on a team’s performance on the field followed by the aftermath of those contests. This is not an offseason evaluation, nor is it a forecast for the upcoming 2014 campaign.

    Keep in mind that we are grading the preseason. This is about indications, not indictments.

    Hence, don’t assume a team with a winning preseason record garnered a high mark. On the other hand, a poor showing this summer doesn’t necessarily add up to failure.

    So here are the results of our findings. Rest assured we have done our homework, so there’s no need for us to stay after school.

    One historical note: It is worth a mention that only one team has gone winless in preseason and won the Super Bowl the same season. That would be the Washington Redskins during the 1982 strike-shortened campaign, in which they captured Super Bowl XVII.

    Just in case the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts were wondering.

Arizona Cardinals: B-

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    Despite a forgettable Thursday night in San Diego, the Arizona Cardinals once again bear watching this season.

    Against the Chargers, the team managed a mere 98 yards of total offense in a 12-9 loss. It was not a good night for rookie quarterback Logan Thomas, who impressed in Week 1 vs. the Houston Texans but has done little since.

    It could be a big year for Bruce Arians’ offense, as it has new weapons like rookie wide receiver John Brown.

    And perhaps an Arizona defense missing several key components from a year ago may have found itself this summer. The team allowed just three touchdowns in four games this preseason.

    That would be quite a revelation considering this unit will be without inside linebackers Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett in 2014, all for totally different reasons.

Atlanta Falcons: C+

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    It’s been hard to grasp exactly what we saw of the Atlanta Falcons this summer.

    The team split its four preseason games, and at this stage, is a lot healthier than it wound up being during 2013.

    It’s been a season of promise on offense, although the loss of left tackle Sam Baker to a knee injury was unfortunate. Rookie Jake Matthews figures to take a few lumps in his place.

    On the other hand, you had to be excited about what you saw from fourth-round pick Devonta Freeman. The former Florida State running back led the team in rushing yards (134), receptions (11) and receiving yards (146) this preseason. He may prove to be the power back the team has missed in recent years.

    Defensively, the club is still in search of a potent pass rush. Considering that the team hosts Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the season opener, now would be a very good time.

Baltimore Ravens: A+

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 4-0

    What We Learned

    It was hard to perform much better than the Baltimore Ravens did this summer. Hence we gave John Harbaugh’s club the highest grade of the preseason.

    They answered questions when it came to their offensive line and running game, showed that their passing attack may have a little extra in store for folks in 2014 and presented a defense that continues to make strides.

    Back to a Baltimore ground attack that averaged 171.0 yards per game in four contests this summer. For what it’s worth, the Ravens rushed for 684 yards in those games. In 16 regular-season contests a year ago, Harbaugh’s club ran for a paltry 1,328 yards. The defensive unit allowed only seven touchdowns and just 245.8 total yards per outing.

    The organization is looking to bounce back from the franchise’s first non-playoff campaign under Harbaugh, a season that closed with consecutive losses by a combined 75-24 score.

    Of course, going unbeaten during the preseason is nothing new for this franchise. This marked the fifth time since 1998 that the Ravens finished 4-0 during the summer.

Buffalo Bills: C

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-4

    What We Learned

    We spent all summer and five games waiting to see what a new-look Buffalo Bills offense could look like.

    We are still waiting.

    Doug Marrone’s club scored 20 points or less in each game this summer. Second-year quarterback EJ Manuel appeared average at best, sacked seven times and committing three turnovers despite completing 61.0 percent of his throws. Still, that should change eventually considering he appeared in only 10 games in 2013.

    On the other hands, the addition of running back Bryce Brown this offseason has the ground attack looking better than ever. The former Philadelphia Eagles backup led the club with 152 yards rushing and also caught eight passes for 68 yards this preseason.

    But in the land of chicken wings, it’s been the ribs of rookie wideout Sammy Watkins that have garnered the most attention in Orchard Park. According to Mike Rodak of, the big-play performer was reinjured in Thursday night’s loss to the Detroit Lions.

Carolina Panthers: C+

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    Well, that Carolina Panthers defense is a bear.

    Offensively, Ron Rivera’s club is a different story. That’s mainly because we haven’t seen a lot of quarterback Cam Newton, who played in only two of the team’s four outings. The Pro Bowl signal-caller is currently nursing cracked ribs suffered in a loss to the New England Patriots.

    However, via Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, Newton is expected to start when the team travels to Tampa Bay in Week 1 of the regular season.

    Still, this is an offensive unit that has not had a lot of time to work together. Keep in mind that the club added new pass-catchers in veteran wideouts Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant, as well as tight end Ed Dickson. First-round pick Kelvin Benjamin certainly impressed this summer, totaling a team-high 12 receptions for 173 yards and a score this preseason.

    It will be interesting to see if all of this comes together offensively sooner than later. As we know, the Panthers have had a recent habit of stumbling out of the gate.

Chicago Bears: B-

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    It looks like all systems go for a Chicago Bears offensive unit that could be even better than a year ago, when Marc Trestman’s club finished second in the NFL in points scored (445).

    However, what are we to make of a defensive unit that has its share of new faces this season but failed to make an impression in their four summer outings?

    The Bears allowed 114 points, 11 offensive touchdowns and 391.8 total yards per game in splitting their four preseason contests.

    Is this a sign of things to come…again?

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

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    Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    Is there any player happier that the 2014 preseason is over than Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict?

    We only say that because it took until the end of the summer for the Pro Bowl defender to ink a new contract, as explained by Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    As for Marvin Lewis' team on the field, it has been a pretty impressive summer for the defending AFC North champions, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Starting quarterback Andy Dalton has looked sharp in the preseason, completing better than 70 percent of his passes.

    On Thursday night vs. the visiting Indianapolis Colts, rookie running back Jeremy Hill was kept busy, totaling 26 touches for 160 yards from scrimmage.

    He and these Bengals could be exciting to watch all season. 

Cleveland Browns: C-

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    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    There was a Rex Grossman sighting in Cleveland on Thursday night.

    There were also Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel sightings.

    The Cleveland Browns managed to avoid a winless preseason by thumping the Chicago Bears, 33-13, and we spent much of the evening watching the former Heisman Trophy winner run around the field. Manziel completed just six of his 17 attempts for 83 yards and a score, with one fumble. He also ran for 55 yards on four carries.

    Hoyer hit on six of his eight throws for 69 yards in limited action.

    So what did we learn about Mike Pettine’s team this summer? The odds are the Browns will start at least two different quarterbacks for the 12th consecutive year by season’s end.

    By the way, keep an eye on running back Ben Tate this upcoming fall. He may be primed for a breakout year.

Dallas Cowboys: C

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 0-4

    What We Learned

    The 2014 offseason has not been a lot of fun for Jason Garrett’s Dallas Cowboys.

    We saw the release of defensive end DeMarcus Are, the free-agent departure of defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and the season-ending knee injury to middle linebacker Sean Lee. An already depleted defense will be missing cornerback Orlando Scandrick for the first four games due to a league suspension.

    We know that starting quarterback Tony Romo’s back is still somewhat on the mend and his progress is being monitored.

    Then Garrett’s team took the field this summer. The franchise wrapped up its first winless preseason since 2000 with a 24-point loss to the Denver Broncos.

    It’s safe to say that these Cowboys are what we thought they were: a team capable of scoring points on anyone while also vulnerable to any offense in the league. After all, Dallas allowed the third-most total yards in a season in NFL history in 2013.

    We certainly didn’t see a lot of Romo in these contests. But we saw a club that allowed at least 25 points in each of its four outings.

Denver Broncos: A

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 3-1

    What We Learned

    With the exception of stubbing their toes in a home loss to the Houston Texans, it was a pretty good preseason for the defending AFC champions.

    The Denver Broncos would allow just 37 points and three touchdowns in four games this summer. That has to make head coach John Fox feel somewhat better considering we all know what happened the last time his team took the field in a meaningful game.

    More significantly, veteran quarterback Peyton Manning was sharp in more ways than one. The prolific signal-caller completed 79.6 percent of his passes (43-of-54) for 423 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and one taunting penalty in three outings.

    That latter fact may speak louder than anything else in 2014.

Detroit Lions: A-

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 3-1

    What We Learned

    It’s been far from a perfect preseason for the Detroit Lions. But it has been pretty damn good.

    Jim Caldwell’s club wrapped up the summer with a 23-0 win over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. It was quite a departure from their first three games, all decided by one point each.

    But the one thing that stood out for this club this preseason was a defense that allowed four offensive touchdowns in as many games.

    A year ago, the Lions gave up the fewest points in the NFC North. Still, that was a hefty 23.5 points per contest.

    Any semblance of defense in the division in 2014 could lead to some very big things.

Green Bay Packers: A-

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 3-1

    What We Learned

    For what it’s worth, the Green Bay Packers managed to score more points each game they played this summer.

    A 20-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans was followed by wins over the St. Louis Rams (21-7), Oakland Raiders (31-21) and Kansas City Chiefs (34-14).

    That’s not bad considering quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in two of the four games. Of course, last season we saw Mike McCarthy’s club go through four different starting quarterbacks and still finish third in the NFL in total offense.

    On defense, the team totaled 14 sacks in four games as undrafted rookie free agent Jay Elliott led the way with five sacks.

    By all accounts, this looks like a team primed for a fourth straight NFC North title and a sixth straight trip to the playoffs. And we’ll find out in less than a week in prime time when McCarthy and Co. travel to Seattle for the 2014 Thursday night opener.

Houston Texans: B+

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    Patric Schneider/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    It was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for head coach Bill O’Brien and his Houston Texans this preseason.

    Of course, it’s the summer, so a trip to the amusement park makes perfect sense.

    The preseason began and ended with lopsided losses to the Arizona Cardinals (32-0) and San Francisco 49ers (40-13). In between were wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos.

    More importantly, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick rebounded from a disastrous first week and performed much better in his final two outings. The Texans may have also found a backup running back in Jonathan Grimes.

    And by the way, that Jadeveon Clowney kid can play.

Indianapolis Colts: B-

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    Chris Howell/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 0-4

    What We Learned

    Gee, it’s not like we haven’t seen the Indianapolis Colts go winless in the preseason in the recent past.

    The team went 0-5 in summer 2005 and 0-4 in 2010. Both years resulted in playoff appearances.

    Head coach Chuck Pagano saw what he wanted from third-year quarterback Andrew Luck and an improving defense.

    He also kept reserve running backs Dan Herron and Zurlon Tipton busy. The duo combined for 69 of the team’s 264 plays from scrimmage this preseason. That’s a good thing because it’s still hard to determine what to make of running back Trent Richardson.

    All told, it was summertime business as usual for a team that is a combined 11-35 in the preseason dating back to 2004.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B-

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    There’s little doubt that veteran quarterback Chad Henne enjoyed a solid preseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars. But was he actually outplayed by rookie Blake Bortles?

    That’s up for debate. What is a little more concrete is the fact that head coach Gus Bradley and the organization don’t plan on playing this May's third overall pick.

    Then again, that game plan may reside in a little wet cement.

    The bottom line is that regardless of who was leading the team, the Jaguars failed to score at least 20 points in each of their four preseason outings.

    Why the somewhat respectable grade for this team? Bradley’s defense looks a lot better than it did a year ago.

Kansas City Chiefs: C

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    The enigma known as the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the 2014 preseason with three straight losses, all by 12 or more points.

    After outlasting the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-39, in Week 1, the team scored a combined 42 points in their last three outings.

    It’s also worth noting that while the Chiefs scored nine touchdowns this preseason, six came via the offense and the other three via interception (two) and punt (one) returns.

    Funny, those numbers are somewhat reminiscent of the 2013 regular season, when Reid’s offense totaled 41 touchdowns and got 11 scores from its defense and special teams.

    We’ll eventually see if this season looks anything like last year’s showing.

Miami Dolphins: B+

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 3-1

    What We Learned

    Forget the fact that the Miami Dolphins won their last three preseason games after dropping their opener to the Atlanta Falcons.

    And it’s somewhat interesting that all four games were decided by six points or less.

    The proof is in the areas of concern for this team. We saw a more confident Ryan Tannehill behind center and an offensive line that in part allowed only four sacks the entire preseason.

    On the other hand, the Miami ground game is a work in progress and it will be interesting to see Knowshon Moreno’s eventual impact on the team.

    The defense appears on the verge of a better season than a year ago, but the team still hasn’t gotten the hang of that takeaway thing. The previous five years the Dolphins forced an NFL-low 99 turnovers in 80 games.

    In four preseason outings this summer, Philbin’s club totaled two opponent fumble recoveries and zero interceptions.

    Food for thought.

Minnesota Vikings: A

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 4-0

    What We Learned

    You have to like what you saw from the Minnesota Vikings this summer, undefeated in the preseason for the first time since 2001.

    Of course, what does that really mean? That team wound up 5-11 that season.

    Still, veteran quarterback Matt Cassel looked solid, rookie signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater had his positive moments and wideout Cordarrelle Patterson could be a beast this upcoming year.

    But it’s the defense that gave up the second-most yards in the league last season that allowed less than 300 total yards per contest this summer.

    And if this preseason is truly a forerunner to the regular season, then it should be quite a year in the division. While the Vikings were unbeaten, the Detroit Lions (3-1), Green Bay Packers (3-1) and Chicago Bears (2-2) were all .500 or better the last four weeks.

New England Patriots: A-

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned


    We all know that barring something catastrophic, the New England Patriots will be playoff bound once again.

    And if quarterback Tom Brady and a balanced attack perform as they did when he was on the field this summer, this will be a very tough team to stop.

    Yes, the veteran quarterback did throw an interception this preseason. In limited action, he completed 80.6 percent of his throws (25-of-31) for 285 yards and three scores.

    The ground attack looks deep. The defense looks better but still has some work to do.

    But the man of the moment in Foxborough this summer had to be rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who impressed all summer and will make this week’s final series of cuts for this team very interesting.

New Orleans Saints: A

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    Sam Riche/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 3-1

    What We Learned

    There’s no doubt that the New Orleans Saints, much improved on the defensive side of the ball in 2013, still have some work to do when it comes to that aspect of their game.

    But they may have found one cure for what ails them courtesy of Drew Brees and Co.

    It may come in the form of running back Mark Ingram, who may be on the verge of a breakout year in his fourth NFL campaign.

    Make no mistake. The Saints aren’t getting ready to turn into Ground Sean. But Ingram and underrated Pierre Thomas could make for a very lethal one-two punch when it comes to keeping opposing offense on the field.

    The presence for three-time Pro Bowl free safety Jairus Byrd also help Rob Ryan’s unit. The Saints totaled just 19 takeaways in 16 regular season games in 2013.

    For what it’s worth, New Orleans forced nine turnovers in four preseason games.

    Now that’s something to take away from this summer.

New York Giants: C

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 5-0

    What We Learned

    We have heard it thousands of times. You are what your record says you are.

    Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule. And no team this summer epitomized that more than the unbeaten New York Giants, who more times than not were often beaten.

    Still, the standings say that Big Blue was perfect this preseason. They rallied for wins despite their struggles, most notably on offense.

    But it’s hard to imagine that anyone on the team is happy with the way this club performed in any game. There were the occasional bright spots courtesy of running back Rashad Jennings and defensive end Damontre Moore.

    However, this definitely looks like a case of Tom foolery.

New York Jets: B

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    Thursday night’s 37-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles aside, it has been a very decent summer for Rex Ryan’s New York Jets.

    Could this team be ready to challenge for a playoff berth in 2014? There are signs that it has taken steps forward and second-year quarterback Geno Smith looks much more comfortable to date. A bolstered running game and an up-and-coming defense means this team could be ready to turn the corner.

    Ah, the corners. Now that’s an entirely different story altogether. You name it and it has happened when it comes to Dee Milliner, Dimitri Patterson, Kyle Wilson, rookie Dexter McDougle and even Antonio Allen this summer.

    That had better be some kind of pass rush in 2014.

Oakland Raiders: C+

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    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    Early in the offseason, the Oakland Raiders made yet another trade to get a starting quarterback.

    Then again, it may be a matter of how long veteran Matt Schaub hangs onto the job for Dennis Allen’s club.

    The former two-time Pro Bowler with the Houston Texans has looked lost for better than a year as his career with the Texans ended with a resounding thud.

    Schaub hasn’t looked much better this summer and he may be feeling the heat sooner than later from rookie Derek Carr, who came up big in Thursday night’s victory over the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

    Elsewhere, free-agent additions such as running back Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive end LaMarr Woodley have impressed to date.

    The bigger question is whether the Raiders will make an impression in the very tough AFC West in 2014.

Philadelphia Eagles: A-

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    While the Philadelphia Eagles still have some work to do on defense, Chip Kelly’s attack appeared to be in midseason form throughout the summer. The team scored at least 28 points in each of its four contests, 31 or more points over the last three weeks.

    Although we know the team is loaded at the skill positions, it was the offensive line that was the team’s most impressive unit the last four weeks.

    Obviously, that trait could go a long way to a team winning a championship, something these Birds haven’t done since 1960.

    As for that defense, it is indeed a work in progress. But it is safe to say that that work better get wrapped up fairly soon.

Pittsburgh Steelers: C+

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    Youth figures to be served for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014.

    But trying to improve from back-to-back 8-8 seasons is hardly kids’ stuff.

    Mike Tomlin’s rookies such as inside linebacker Ryan Shazier and running back Dri Archer certainly opened some eyes this summer. But the last two weeks, the team looked bamboozled in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and was then shut out at home by the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, 10-0.

    It will be interesting to see which version of the Steelers shows up against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 at Heinz Field.

St. Louis Rams: C

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    Michael Thomas/Getty Images

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    The summer for the St. Louis Rams seemed less about football and more about everything else.

    Now let’s see if the anything else can take a back seat.

    We know the team’s starting quarterback will be journeyman Shaun Hill, in for injured Sam Bradford. The running attack looks improved despite an offensive line that is a big in flux.

    The defensive line figures to be even more relentless, bolstered by the addition of first-round defensive tackle Aaron Donald and still featuring fellow former first-round picks Robert Quinn, Chris Long and Michael Brockers.

    And while this team looked somewhat average this summer, this may be an above-average club in 2014.

San Diego Chargers: C

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    The San Diego Chargers were one of 13 teams that finished the 2014 preseason with a 2-2 record.

    Other than that, it was far from a newsworthy couple of weeks.

    Philip Rivers is still Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense has plans to pound teams into submission with a running game that got deeper this offseason.

    But speaking of the ground attack, the Bolts weren’t very efficient stopping it this summer. San Diego’s defense allowed 130.3 rushing yards per game in four outings, and that includes giving up just 57 yards rushing in Thursday night’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.

    Still, look for Mike McCoy’s club to try to out-ball control the opposition throughout 2014.

San Francisco 49ers: C-

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    Mathew Sumner/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    After being outscored a combined 57-3 in their first two preseason outings and somehow being mathematically eliminated from the 2014 playoffs before they ever began, the San Francisco 49ers have at least gotten back on the winning track.

    The biggest question: is their young quarterback ready to take another step forward?

    Is Colin Kaepernick ready to show some consistency? At times in 2013, he was streaky at best. This preseason, he was less than sensational, completing just over 50 percent of his passes. After all, he does have wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis at his disposal.

    As for the San Francisco defense, we barely saw a lot of its key pieces the last four weeks. And a unit that will be without injured nose tackle Glenn Dorsey all season and Pro Bowl inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman for a spell while he heals got more bad news Friday afternoon.

    The league announced (and documented here by Kevin Patra of that outside linebacker Aldon Smith will be suspended for the first nine games of the season for violating both the personal conduct and substance-abuse policy.

    It is safe to say that this latest pieces of news sums up a very uneven summer for Jim Harbaugh’s club.

Seattle Seahawks: A

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    It proved to be a bit of a different preseason for the Seattle Seahawks. That is, if you go by recent standards. Off of Thursday’s night’s 41-31 road loss to the Oakland Raiders, Pete Carroll’s club broke even this summer.

    The previous two preseasons, the Seahawks were a perfect 8-0 and outscored their foes by a combined 232-80 count.

    Still, we saw all we needed of the likes of quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Percy Harvin, a potent running game and a relentless defense to know that this club is more than prepared to defend its Super Bowl XLVIII title.

    Good luck, rest of the NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 1-3

    What We Learned

    We have spent all offseason talking about the new faces in Tampa. The Buccaneers just added another new face this week when they obtained six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins from the New England Patriots.

    Still, we are not sure what the Bucs offense will look like this upcoming season. Could second-year pro Mike Glennon eventually dethrone veteran Josh McCown sometime this year?

    What may be worth watching this season is that Tampa Bay defense, led by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who appears to be primed for a huge year.

    Whether he and the rest of Leslie Frazier’s unit can carry the load early on until McCown and Co. settle in may be another story.

Tennessee Titans: B

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 2-2

    What We Learned

    New Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt found one easy way to keep starting quarterback Jake Locker out of harm’s way this summer.

    Give rookie Zach Mettenberger plenty of playing time.

    Led by Whisenhunt and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the Titans could be very intriguing in 2014. They performed well this summer on both sides of the ball, although the head coach couldn’t have been happy with the team’s nine turnovers in four games—five of those by Mettenberger.

    Back to the defense, which is now a 3-4 unit under Horton and should have an easier time getting to the quarterback. 

    Did you hear that, Andrew Luck?

Washington Redskins: C

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    Evan Vucci/Associated Press

    2014 Preseason W-L Record: 3-1

    What We Learned

    With all the noise coming out of D.C. this summer, you would have never guessed that the Washington Redskins actually went 3-1 in the preseason.

    Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean much. What needs to have some clarity is whether Robert Griffin III is ready to play football this season.

    That seems more like a mental than physical issue these days. And we didn’t learn anything more Thursday night as neither Griffin nor improving quarterback Kirk Cousins saw any action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Rest assured, whether the third-year pro gets off to a good or bad start, we’ll be hearing from RGIII perhaps more than some people would care to.