NFL Preseason 2014: Remaining Schedule and Top Storylines Entering Week 2

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2014

New York Giants defensive back Ross Weaver (41) reacts after the Giants recovered a fumble by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth quarter of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The 2014 NFL season is still in its infancy with preseason heading toward Week 2, but there is already an ample amount of work-water-cooler banter to enjoy after all of the 32 teams have made at least one appearance.

The debuts of Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney took the cake in Week 1, along with some household names in new locations and new-look units trying to mesh in a few short drives. As much excitement as there was in the opening 17 exhibitions of the NFL season, it was only a sneak preview of what the next four months have in store.

As is always the case with the preseason, fans are getting a closer look at players needing to prove themselves, which makes the action important to tune into despite it not mattering who wins. 

Here's a look at the rest of the preseason schedule and what storylines you'll need to catch wind of before the weekend slate comes.

2014 NFL Preseason Schedule

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2014 NFL Preseason Schedule: Weeks 2-4
Week 2
Thu., August 14Jacksonville at Chicago8 p.m., ESPN
Fri., August 15Philadelphia at New England7:30 p.m.
Fri., August 15Tennessee at New Orleans8 p.m.
Fri., August 15Detroit at Oakland10 p.m.
Fri., August 15San Diego at Seattle10 p.m.
Sat., August 16Green Bay at St. Louis4 p.m.
Sat., August 16N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati7 p.m.
Sat., August 16Baltimore at Dallas7 p.m.
Sat., August 16N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis7 p.m.
Sat., August 16Buffalo at Pittsburgh7:30 p.m.
Sat., August 16Miami at Tampa Bay7:30 p.m.
Sat., August 16Atlanta at Houston8 p.m.
Sat., August 16Arizona at Minnesota8:30 p.m.
Sun., August 17Denver at San Francisco4 p.m.
Sun., August 17Kansas City at Carolina8 p.m., Fox
Mon., August 18Cleveland at Washington8 p.m., ESPN
Week 3
Thu., August 21Pittsburgh at Philadelphia7:30 p.m.
Fri., August 22Oakland at Green Bay8 p.m., CBS
Fri., August 22Jacksonville at Detroit7:30 p.m.
Fri., August 22Carolina at New England7:30 p.m.
Fri., August 22N.Y. Giants at N.Y. Jets7:30 p.m.
Fri., August 22Chicago at Seattle10 p.m.
Sat., August 23Tampa Bay at Buffalo4:30 p.m.
Sat., August 23Dallas at Miami7 p.m.
Sat., August 23Tennessee at Atlanta7 p.m.
Sat., August 23Washington at Baltimore7:30 p.m.
Sat., August 23New Orleans at Indianapolis8 p.m., CBS
Sat., August 23St. Louis at Cleveland8 p.m.
Sat., August 23Minnesota at Kansas City8 p.m.
Sat., August 23Houston at Denver9 p.m.
Sun., August 24San Diego at San Francisco4 p.m., Fox
Sun., August 24Cincinnati at Arizona8 p.m., NBC
Week 4
Thu., August 28Atlanta at Jacksonville6 p.m.
Thu., August 28Detroit at Buffalo7 p.m.
Thu., August 28Indianapolis at Cincinnati7 p.m.
Thu., August 28Kansas City at Green Bay7 p.m.
Thu., August 28St. Louis at Miami7 p.m.
Thu., August 28N.Y. Jets at Philadelphia7 p.m.
Thu., August 28New England at N.Y. Giants7:30 p.m.
Thu., August 28Carolina at Pittsburgh7:30 p.m.
Thu., August 28Washington at Tampa Bay7:30 p.m.
Thu., August 28Chicago at Cleveland8 p.m.
Thu., August 28Denver at Dallas8 p.m.
Thu., August 28San Francisco at Houston8 p.m.
Thu., August 28Baltimore at New Orleans8 p.m.
Thu., August 28Minnesota at Tennessee8 p.m.
Thu., August 28Seattle at Oakland10 p.m.
Thu., August 28Arizona at San Diego10 p.m.

Highlighted games will be televised nationally; all games available to be streamed on NFL Preseason Live.

Top Storylines

Is Johnny Football on His Way to Starting?

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

If the mania was driving you crazy before, now you might want to give up on the following things: the Internet, cable televisions, friends of yours who follow the NFL. Because after Johnny Manziel's preseason debut, the noise and speculation is only increasing.

Manziel was up and down in his debut, but he showed glimpses of the signature playing style he shredded defenses with at Texas A&M and zipped balls out of the pocket impressively with strong accuracy. He had a few positive plays with his feet, most notably escaping for a 16-yard gain through the teeth of the defense.

He finished with 63 yards through the air on 7-of-11 passing, adding 27 more on the ground on six total carries. Naturally for an unconventional rookie quarterback in his first NFL game, a handful of head-scratching decisions—like going headfirst into three Lions defenders trying to pick up a first down in the preseason—were sprinkled in there as well.

As you'd expect, the reaction was polarizing, with some captivated by his exciting play and others unimpressed. Just as Kevin Durant predicted:

The storyline continues to shift in the wake of his performance, with's Gregg Rosenthal reporting that Manziel will start the Browns' second game against the Redskins—a decision reportedly made before the Browns-Lions game began. Of course, Mike Pettine failed to confirm it after the game, per Rosenthal.'s Chris Wesseling added the following on Twitter:

Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer figured to be one of the hottest quarterback battles of 2014 regardless of what Browns coaches have said. Should the rookie get the nod for Week 2, it would only confirm that. 

Pettine hasn't said that he's deviating from his plan to have a starter chosen by Week 3 of the preseason, as he told Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich weeks prior. That seems to give the indication that Johnny Football could leapfrog Hoyer and win the starting job for Week 1 with a big performance against Washington.

Those who say the preseason is meaningless must not be Manziel fans.

Stashed Rookie QBs Making Cases to Start

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 08: Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars sets to throw during the first half of the preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Everbank Field on August 8, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty
Rob Foldy/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have drawn plenty of ire since drafting Blake Bortles No. 3 overall after adamantly stating that he won't start over Chad Henne in 2014. Although theirs was only a second-round pick, the Oakland Raiders also drafted and stashed a quarterback for the future in Derek Carr and brought in Matt Schaub to start this year.

It's just the preseason and it's just one week in, but more of what we saw in Week 1 could force those teams to alter their mindsets.

Bortles was sharp in his debut against Tampa Bay, completing 7-of-11 passes for 117 yards. He completed a strike to Mike Brown for 31 yards that set up a Jags field goal, and undoubtedly outshone Henne's 4-of-7 passing for 30 yards.

The distance between Carr and Schaub looked much greater. The Fresno State rookie hit 10-of-16 passes for 74 yards, and did have one pick—but Schaub was hapless in his Raiders debut with 3-of-7 passing for 21 yards. 

Former scout John Middlekauff noted how much stronger Carr's arm looked:

The Raiders are in a decent position entering 2014, but not if Schaub plays anything like he did in his preseason debut. Carr might not be completely ready, but if Schaub continues his struggles from last year and Carr grows more comfortable, look out. 

Jim Mone/Associated Press

On the other end, the Jags are seemingly more reluctant to wheel out their rookie. They apparently drafted him with the intention of making him a developmental project, surprisingly enough with the third overall selection. 

Should both or either of these young quarterbacks continue to impress, though, it will be just a matter of time until they get the keys to the offense.

Can Colts' Richardson Turn It Around?

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Few players have gone from hype to bust faster than Trent Richardson, who has transformed from a future star rusher to one not capable of maintaining the Colts' starting job. 

It's hard to tell how much of it is justified; Richardson's on-tape struggles are hard to watch for any fan of his, but injuries and an untimely change of teams have played a bigger role than most admit. 

Indianapolis fans are cautious about Richardson re-emerging as the starter this training camp after his uninspiring performances gave the job back to Donald Brown late last year. But with Edgerrin James in his corner, he might turn out alright.

James told ESPN's Mike Wells that he is coming around to mentor Richardson, which has to be music to Colts fans' ears:

"It was unfair to judge him because it is two different systems," said James, who retired with 12,246 rushing yards. "The terminology is totally different and he was just kind of thrown out there. You can't really get an assessment because there is so much going on for him personally and the things you have to go through in order to be good in this league. This is the NFL; you can't just sign somebody thinking they can come in and be a star no matter how good they have been. It takes time."

As bad as Richardson's 2.9 yards per carry looked, the fact is he's still 23 and very much emerging in the league. He made a big impact as a rookie, and an entire offseason to dissect the last year should allow Richardson to get back to making an impact.

He carried just five times for 13 yards in his preseason debut against the Jets, but did have an eight-yard scamper. After working with James, he should improve drastically. 


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