NFL Preseason Report Cards for Every Team

Russell S. Baxter@@BaxFootballGuruContributor ISeptember 4, 2015

NFL Preseason Report Cards for Every Team

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    So how do you go about giving out grades for all 32 NFL teams when it comes to four (or five) games that essentially don't count?

    The focus here will not only be the performance on the field but some of the other factors that played a part since the beginning of August and how they will affect these clubs once the regular season starts.

    The majority of our analysis will center on the teams' first three preseason outings, as we obviously didn't see much from the starters (with some exceptions) Thursday night. As you know, win-loss records mean little in the grand scheme of things, and our grades will reflect that.

    However, we will throw out this little factoid for what it's worth. Only one time in 49 years (1982 Washington Redskins) has a team gone winless in the preseason and gone on to win the Super Bowl in the same year.

    Just saying, New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams.

Arizona Cardinals: C+

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    Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    The Arizona Cardinals added a number of veteran free agents on the defensive side of the ball, but the bigger question may be how James Bettcher fills in for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the 2014 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year who is now leading the New York Jets.

    Of course, NFL Coach of the Year Bruce Arians returns and is probably happy to see running back Andre Ellingtonwho missed the stretch run and playoffs in 2014healthy once again.

    Also worth mentioning is an offensive line with a few issues. Free-agent addition/left guard Mike Iupati is on the mend, and right tackle Bobby Massie will serve a three-game suspension to open the season. We saw quarterback Carson Palmer take some punishment in the third preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, and we didn't see him at all Thursday night against the Denver Broncos.

    This will be an intriguing team to watch once some of the new additions settle in.

Atlanta Falcons: A

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    Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    You cannot help but notice the different demeanor of these Atlanta Falcons under new head coach Dan Quinn.

    The team has been more aggressive and a lot more physical than we have seen in quite a while. That's what happens when you add a coach who spent two seasons in Seattle and saw his defense allow the fewest total yards and points in the league.

    Rookie outside linebacker Vic Beasley certainly bears watching. So does the running back combo of rookie Tevin Coleman and second-year pro Devonta Freeman. The duo combined for just 12 carries in the preseason (all by Coleman), but both figure to see plenty of action in the Monday night opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

    It was also a good summer for a pair of new wide receivers to the team. Free agent Leonard Hankerson and rookie Justin Hardy give veteran quarterback Matt Ryan two more toys to play with this season.

Baltimore Ravens: B-

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 1-3

    Analysis

    The Baltimore Ravens capped off their first losing preseason since 2008 with a 20-19 setback to the Atlanta Falcons.

    If you recall, that was John Harbaugh's first year as the team's head coach, and that club would finish 11-5 and reach the AFC Championship Game. Harbaugh has yet to suffer through a losing campaign and has taken these Birds to the playoffs six times in seven years.

    What has been disappointing this summer has been the notable absence of 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman, who missed the preseason with a knee injury. According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, the former Central Florida standout caught some passes before Thursday's contest at the Georgia Dome but didn't do any running.

    For what it’s worth, it was not a good preseason for the defense, which gave up a dozen offensive touchdowns. And Harbaugh could not be happy with a team that turned over the ball eight times in four games. Still, this is a team with a lot of players with postseason experience and while there’s some work to be done, the positives outweighed the negatives this summer.

    Of course, we’ll soon see what happens when it counts. And that’s usually when you can count on the Ravens.

Buffalo Bills: A-

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    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    When the smoke from the atomic chicken wings cleared, 2015 free-agent pickup Tyrod Taylor emerged as the team's Week 1 starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills' tilt with the Indianapolis Colts.

    Exactly who he will be handing the ball off to that Sunday afternoon is another question.

    This offseason, the Bills traded inside linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for 2013 NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy. But according to ESPN.com, the six-year pro may not be ready to play in the season opener as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

    Fortunately, the Bills have proven depth at the position with Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown. Nevertheless, no McCoy would be a real disappointment.

    That’s unfortunate, because it was a good summer for a club that hasn’t been to the playoffs this century. The offensive line looks better than a year ago, there are more weapons for Taylor and the other quarterbacks and the defense could be fearsome.

    Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how the backup quarterback situation plays out now that Taylor has been given the starting job. The team still has Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel.

Carolina Panthers: B

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    There was a big difference between the Carolina Panthers' summer one year ago and the last few weeks: a healthy Cam Newton.

    If you recall, the two-time Pro Bowler entered 2014 training camp after offseason ankle surgery. Newton then injured his ribs in the preseason against the New England Patriots and would go on to miss the regular-season opener at Tampa Bay.

    While Newton wasn't super-sharp this summer, the much bigger issue will be the season-long absence of second-year wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (torn ACL). As a rookie, he finished second on the team with 73 catches, tied for the club lead with 1,008 receiving yards and led the Panthers with nine touchdowns.

    Rookie Devin Funchess is now the man on the spot, and hopefully he can do what Benjamin did in his debut season.

    The Panthers recently released 2015 free-agent pickup Jarrett Boykin and traded for Seattle's Kevin Norwood.

    Of course, there’s the defense and that makes this club the favorite to win a third straight NFC South title. Ron Rivera’s club was steady on this side of the football throughout the preseason—hence the solid grade for the Panthers.

Chicago Bears: B

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    It wasn't long ago the Chicago Bears were hosting the 2010 NFC Championship Game.

    Then again, maybe that was a long time ago. Just look at the last two seasons, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

    But here come the positives. This summer, the Bears allowed only 42 points and five offensive touchdowns in four games. The Bears totaled 14 sacks and 10 takeaways, as defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as well as head coach John Fox seem to be getting their message across.

    Now the bad news. Half of those points allowed came in the team's lone preseason loss, a 21-10 setback to the Cincinnati Bengals in which they trailed 21-0 in the second quarter. The team allowed 145 rushing yards in the loss, and the concern here is whether that is the Bears defense we will see in Week 1 when the team hosts the Green Bay Packers.

Cincinnati Bengals: B+

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    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    For the Cincinnati Bengals, it was business as usual for a team that has reached the playoffs in four consecutive years.

    Unfortunately, the other business as usual is the fact this club hasn't won a postseason game since 1990.

    Keep in mind the Bengals used a pair of high draft choices on a pair of tackles (Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher), but for now, the team is very content with Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith—good news for a talented and deep squad.

    That's promising for the backfield combination of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Cincinnati averaged 126 yards per game on the ground this summer.

    Unfortunately, the once-proud Bengals defense needs to rebound from a shaky 2014. Allowing just three offensive touchdowns while totaling 12 sacks may be a step in the right direction.

    A year ago, Marvin Lewis' team got off to a 3-0 start but was just 7-6-1 over the rest of the season, including the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Is this the year when this talented team finally takes a giant step forward?

Cleveland Browns: C+

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 1-3

    Analysis

    The Cleveland Browns are in search of their first winning season since 2007 and their first playoff appearance since 2002.

    Is this the year when they manage to end both droughts?

    Maybe. There were plenty of positives coming from second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel, although an elbow injury limited his availability this summer. Josh McCown is slated to become the team's 23rd different starting quarterback for the team since 1999.

    The recent release of 2011 first-round pick Phil Taylor means the team obviously thinks highly of rookie nose tackle Danny Shelton, the first of the team's two 2015 first-round picks.

    It appears a muddled situation at running back is now in the hands of Isaiah Crowell. But how muddled is this team that looks to escape the AFC North basement for the first time since 2010?

Dallas Cowboys: B

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 1-3

    Analysis

    The "D" in the Dallas Cowboys this preseason probably stood for nonDescriptOK, we cheated a little.

    It's safe to say we just haven't seen a lot of the offense that was red-hot down the stretch last year and helped catapult the team to its first playoff appearance since 2009.

    Basically, this team's fortunes or misfortunes will largely depend on the play of a defensive unit that still has its share of question marks. The presence of linebacker Sean Lee, now slated for duty on the outside, is a big positive provided he can stay healthy.

    Of course, this is also a defensive unit that will be without defensive end Greg Hardy and middle linebacker Rolando McClain for the first four games of the season due to league suspensions.

    So will this team rely on the offense again to wear down opponents?

    Quarterback Tony Romo, wide receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, and ageless tight end Jason Witten are hoping they can get the same kind of support from the trio of Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar that they got from DeMarco Murray one year ago.

    Frankly, it was hard to tell this summer if that will happen.

Denver Broncos: B+

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    We have spent a lot of time this offseason talking about the Denver Broncos' offensive line and its lack of experience. That changed last week in the form of free-agent blocker Evan Mathis, who signed with the club and was inserted at left guard between rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo and inexperienced center Matt Paradis.

    Of course, we have only seen veteran quarterback Peyton Manning on a limited basis. He did not play at all in the first and fourth preseason games. It's safe to say he'll be ready for a Week 1 visit from the Baltimore Ravens.

    As for the defense, this could be the team's best unit in years. With the unit now led by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips (the club's head coach in 1993-94), the prospect of outside linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware chasing down your quarterback is scary indeed.

    The team's grade is based largely on this defense. As for the offense and its new faces in various places, we'll have to go with an incomplete. Sorry, Peyton.

Detroit Lions: A-

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    This summer, you could never tell the Detroit Lions were now minus the services of defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh, C.J. Mosley, Nick Fairley and George Johnson.

    In four preseason outings, Jim Caldwell's crew totaled 11 sacks and came away with eight takeaways—all fumble recoveries.

    On the other side of the ball, rookie running back Ameer Abdullah has caught a lot of people's attention and will team with Joique Bell to give this club some options. Wide receiver Golden Tate (99 catches for 1,331 yards and four scores in 2014) has already picked up where he left off last season.

    There are still some concerns here, mainly with an offensive line that had its issues in 2014. Caldwell also hopes his tight ends can remain healthy this upcoming season.

    There are a lot of positives here, and we didn't even have to mention quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Green Bay Packers: B-

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    Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    The downer for the Green Bay Packers this preseason was the loss of Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL.

    The positives include the fact that this is one of the deeper teams in the NFL.

    You couldn't help but notice rookie quarterback Brett Hundley this summer. On Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints, he threw for 236 yards and four scores, completing the preseason with seven touchdowns and just one interception.

    Still, a team that features two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers will only go as far as the defense will take it. And that hasn't been far enough the past four years. When it comes to replacing Nelson, second-year wideout Davante Adams will be a big part of the equation.

    While the Packers have spent the summer tuning up, a Week 2 visit from the Seattle Seahawks will show us how far the club has come this year.

Houston Texans: A

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    Yes, the Houston Texans received sobering news last month, as four-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster underwent groin surgery and hopes to be back this year.

    Still, this is a team that appears confident enough to overcome such an absence, in part due to second-year running back Alfred Blue. There's little doubt head coach Bill O'Brien has instilled a new attitude with this franchise.

    Elsewhere on offense, you could make a case that the Texans now own the deepest wide receiving corps in the brief history of the franchise. DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, Nate Washington and rookie Jaelen Strong should make life easier for starting quarterback Brian Hoyer. The team also bolstered an underrated offensive line recently by obtaining tackle Chris Clark via trade from the Denver Broncos.

    Regardless of who was behind center, the Texans committed just two turnovers this summer. That’s efficient football.

    Meanwhile, the free-agent arrival of massive nose tackle Vince Wilfork should have a huge overall effect on the defense. And that's no knock on the talented and veteran defender.

    This summer, the Texans gave up a total of three points in the first quarters of their four preseason contests. It’s safe to say that if that carries over to when it counts, this could be a scary group.

Indianapolis Colts: C+

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    Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 1-3

    Analysis

    Be it with quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, head coaches Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano, or general managers Bill Polian and Ryan Grigson, the results of the preseason have never mattered much to the Indianapolis Colts.

    Case in point: The team went winless during the summer in 2014 and still went on to finish 11-5 and win the AFC South.

    Will history repeat itself in a different way this year? Yes, the Colts did manage a preseason win over the St. Louis Rams, so they didn't finish without a win this summer (as was the case in 2005 and 2010 also). But it would be a surprise if this team didn't win a third straight AFC South title, especially with a roster that now includes running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Andre Johnson and outside linebacker Trent Cole.

    As for standouts, wideout Duron Carter led the team with nine receptions this preseason. The son of Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter could be an excellent addition to a receiving corps that includes Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener.

Jacksonville Jaguars: B-

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    Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    The one thing you sense from the Jacksonville Jaguars this summer is they are quite pleased with the progress made by quarterback Blake Bortles as he enters his second season.

    Now if his young wide receiving corps can grow up quickly, perhaps this team won't finish last in the league in points scored for a third consecutive season.

    Head coach Gus Bradley is also hoping rookie running back T.J. Yeldon can step up and be an immediate factor. The second-round pick from the University of Alabama saw limited action during the preseason for various reasons, totaling 10 yards on eight carries.

    Once the pass rush (six sacks this summer) gets a little healthier via the return of defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks later this year, this could be a fun team to watch...for a change.

Kansas City Chiefs: B+

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 4-0

    Analysis

    When the dust settled this summer, the Kansas City Chiefs were the lone team to remain undefeated during the 2015 preseason.

    What does that really mean? Since the NFL playoff field expanded to 12 teams in 1990, just over half of the clubs (27 of 52) that did not lose a game during the summer went on to the playoffs.

    Of course, that means 25 of the 52 squads didn't reach the postseason.

    Last season the Chiefs overcame a 0-2 start to finish 9-7 but still couldn't make a second straight trip to the playoffs.

    We all remember last season that Chiefs wide receivers combined to catch zero touchdown passes. In four preseason contests this summer, the club's wideouts teamed for eight of Kansas City's 11 aerial scores.

    Perhaps the biggest question now is how an offensive line that has been tweaked since last year performs this season.

Miami Dolphins: B

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    Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 1-3

    Analysis

    While the win-loss record is nothing to get excited about, this is a Miami Dolphins team determined to post their first winning season since 2008, the last time the franchise reached the playoffs.

    We have seen quarterback Ryan Tannehill progress over his three-year career, and he was super sharp this summer. In three preseason tilts he hit on 80.5 percent (33-of-41) of his throws for 303 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. The team’s new-look defense allowed just six offensive touchdowns, totaled 10 sacks and looked stout against the run.

    Of course, it’s almost a moot point to talk about this team until the late stages of the season. That’s when it has all come apart for Joe Philbin’s team, and that’s something that needs to change quickly this December and January.

Minnesota Vikings: A

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 4-1

    Analysis

    There is a lot to be excited about if you are a fan of the Minnesota Vikings.

    The return of Adrian Peterson. The development of second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The addition of wide receiver Mike Wallace.

    And the presence of head coach Mike Zimmer. The well-traveled and highly respected tutor has this team headed upward. There’s a lot of young talent on this club, and we saw it on display throughout the preseason. Of course, we didn’t see Peterson on the field this summer, but what else is new?

    The Vikings are a combined 12-19-1 the last two seasons, but that looks like it could change quickly this year, especially if this club learns to beat the teams in its own division (1-5 in 2014).

New England Patriots: B+

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    Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    So what have we learned about the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots this summer?

    Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got plenty of playing time...just in case.

    Speaking of cases, apparently the NFL didn’t have a good one when it came to quarterback Tom Brady. The celebrated signal-caller saw the league’s four-game suspension for his role in the latest “Gate” deflated to zero, as recapped by Conor Orr of NFL.com.

    That means, thanks to Judge Richard Berman, we can get back to the business of Chris Berman doing season-long highlights for the 15-year quarterback.

    But what of the champs, who lost their share of top-notch defensive players this offseason? A lot of those departures came at cornerback. For what it’s worth, the Pats failed to pick off a pass in four preseason tilts this year.

    And that's the question mark when it comes to this team. The Pats defense didn't wow anyone this summer, totaling just one takeaway and six sacks in four outings. And as we know, it's been this side of the ball that has come up short more times than not in the last 10 years. The losses of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork have already been felt.

New Orleans Saints: C-

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 0-4

    Analysis

    Don’t be fooled. While New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not take the field in Thursday night’s 38-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, head coach Sean Payton did see the number nine.

    As in nine penalties for 71 yards in the 28-point setback.

    A week ago, Payton was quick to point out his team’s shortcomings in this department. In four games this summer, the Saints were “credited” with 44 penalties for a whopping 450 yards.

    This is already a team trying to rebound from a 7-9 season and doing it with a lot of familiar faces elsewhere. In 2014, the Saints sported the top-ranked offense in the NFL, but only the division-rival Atlanta Falcons gave up more total yards per game. In four games this summer, New Orleans gave up 121 points and 14 offensive touchdowns.

New York Giants: C

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    Fans of the New York Giants have spent basically 11 seasons focused on the arm of quarterback Eli Manning.

    For the past two months, there has been a preoccupation with the hand of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. And rightfully so.

    Tom Rock of Newsday reported the team’s talented but recovering five-year defender is expected to return to the team next week. Pierre-Paul has been recovering from a July 4 fireworks accident that led to a broken thumb and the eventual amputation of a finger.

    “We have good players out there, good players who know what they’re doing,” new Giants defensive end George Selvie said earlier this week, per Rock. “We’re a very solid defense. When everybody is healthy and on the field, we’ll be good.”

    Being healthy includes having Pierre-Paul, who rebounded after a few subpar years to post 12.5 sacks in 2014. He would be a welcome addition to a defense that is coming off of a disappointing year and hopes to rebound under returning defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

    While the Giants running game is in flux, we are certain this team will find a way to score points once quarterback Eli Manning and wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz are on the field (the latter has been out since mid-August). It’s the defense that remains the real mystery here.

New York Jets: B+

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    If we were giving out offseason grades, the New York Jets would have been sporting an A-plus entering the month of July.

    Then came the news of a four-game suspension for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, the temporary loss of quarterback Geno Smith due to a now-former teammate’s shot to the jaw and the recent news that second-year tight end Jace Amaro will miss the upcoming season with a torn labrum, per Brian Costello of the New York Post.

    Still, there are a lot of positives here, especially if veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can perform efficiently. First-round pick Leonard Williams has looked the part of a sixth overall selection, there is ample depth at running back, and we all know what veteran cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie can do.

    It’s a long way back from a 4-12 season, but new head coach Todd Bowles has this team primed for a good year.

Oakland Raiders: A-

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Win-Loss Record: 1-3

    Analysis

    After a dozen seasons of mostly woeful football, the Oakland Raiders may be ready to shock some folks in 2015. The players they have added via the draft in recent seasons bear watching.

    Second-year pro Khalil Mack has made the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end and has had a super summer. Anyone who saw him abuse the Arizona Cardinals offensive line last Sunday knows he's primed for a big year and can help an Oakland pass rush that managed only 22 sacks in 2014. Rookie defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. totaled 2.5 sacks in the preseason.

    On the other side of the ball, wide receiver Amari Cooper, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, has also opened a lot of eyes (as has veteran wideout Michael Crabtree). The reviews for both have been very positive so far and it makes for a great combination of youth and experience.

    While second-year quarterback Derek Carr has had his ups and downs, new head coach Jack Del Rio and his staff have to be excited with what they have seen from this team overall so far. The Raiders may not yet be playoff-ready, but they could be headed in the right direction.

Philadelphia Eagles: A+

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    Whether it winds up meaning anything in the regular season obviously remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say the Philadelphia Eagles were clicking on all cylinders this summer.

    In the first three preseason contests, against the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers, Chip Kelly’s team outscored those 2014 playoff teams by a combined 52-3 count in the first quarter.

    Quarterback Sam Bradford looked sharp when available, and the defense looked a bit improved. Of course, these are the biggest question marks this upcoming season given their performances (or lack of them in Bradford’s case) this past year.

    Still, it was hard not to be impressed with how Kelly and Co. looked the past four weeks.

Pittsburgh Steelers: D+

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Win-Loss Record: 1-4

    Analysis

    In 2014, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for a career-high 4,952 yards, tied for the NFL lead with New Orleans Saints signal-caller Drew Brees.

    This preseason, the 11-year pro has looked like he’s ready to pick up where he left off. So does wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who also has had a sensational summer. But we won’t be seeing the 2014 rookie standout for the first four games of the regular season due to a league suspension.

    Head coach Mike Tomlin may need to see a lot of Big Ben, especially if a young Pittsburgh defense (save for inside linebacker Ryan Shazier) doesn’t look any better than it did this preseason. This is a unit now under the guidance of defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who looks to fill the shoes of legend Dick LeBeau. This is a group looking to move on from the likes of veteran defenders such as Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor and Brett Kiesel.

    Add in the fact that the team has lost four-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for a spell, its backup quarterback for the season (Michael Vick replaces Bruce Gradkowski) and is on its third kicker of the summer (Josh Scobee) and it's very safe to say it has not been a cool, cool summer in the Steel City.

St. Louis Rams: B-

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 0-4

    Analysis

    The biggest question surrounding the St. Louis Rams in recent seasons has been the play at quarterback. Not that it was all bad under Sam Bradford, but the first overall pick in the 2010 draft missed 31 games in five years, including his final 25 with the franchise.

    Now the team is hoping Nick Foles, a Pro Bowler with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, is the consistent answer.

    The Rams are still hoping to get more from the wide receiving corps and are also counting on running backs Todd Gurley and Tre Mason to eventually become a potent one-two punch. A lot of their success will depend on how fast a revamped offensive line comes together.

    There are hopefully no such concerns on defense, although this was a unit that started very slow in 2014 and eventually caught fire. For what it’s worth, the Rams did not have a sack in their first three preseason games.

San Diego Chargers: A-

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    Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    The San Diego Chargers offense looks a lot healthier these days, and that would be welcome news considering the mess that was the ground game in 2014. Hence the decision to move up on Day 1 of the NFL draft and grab Melvin Gordon.

    The arrival of the former University of Wisconsin standout, combined with the talents of Branden Oliver, Donald Brown and a healthy Danny Woodhead, gives quarterback Philip Rivers and Co. plenty of proven depth at running back.

    Meanwhile, the team’s defense has looked more aggressive, and that’s good news for a squad that ranked 26th in the league against the run, totaled only 26 sacks and came up with a mere 18 takeaways last season. This summer, the Bolts forced four turnovers and came up with a dozen sacks—giving this group something to build on entering the regular season.

San Francisco 49ers: C

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    Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    About the only person who hasn’t left San Francisco over the past year is Tony Bennett.

    Sorry. We kid because we are concerned. And it seems like there’s a lot to worry about when it comes to the 49ers these days.

    Given the way the team has drafted in recent years, a lack of talent didn’t seem like it would be a concern anytime soon. Now those players selected in recent years must step to the forefront to fill the numerous voids left by the departures of Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Anthony Davis and Michael Crabtree. Should we go on? Not to mention Jim Harbaugh will no longer be on the sidelines for this team.

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t see a lot of action this summer, dropping back to pass just 16 times and being sacked on three occasions. The 49ers managed only three offensive touchdowns in four games, none on the ground.

    But the news was far from all bad. The defense looked the part of recent years despite all of the changes, and the return of inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman was a huge positive. And undrafted running back Jarryd Hayne rolled up 406 total combined yards on the ground, through the air and on returns.

Seattle Seahawks: B

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    Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    It wasn’t long ago that the Seattle Seahawks seemed to take the preseason a lot more seriously. Back in 2012 and 2013, the team completed undefeated summers and seemed to dominate in those contests.

    This preseason, their top two draft choices in 2015 looked pretty serious. Defensive end Frank Clark, a second-round pick from Michigan, made his presence felt on more than one occasion. Meanwhile, wide receiver Tyler Lockett scored on a 103-yard kickoff return, a 67-yard punt return and a 63-yard reception—the latter by the third-round pick out of Kansas State in Thursday’s 31-21 win over the Oakland Raiders.

    Still, a revamped offensive line remains a bit of a concern for Pete Carroll’s team, and it’s something Seattle must get straightened out sooner than later, especially if it has any notion of leading the NFL in rushing for a second straight season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    Let’s face it: What everyone wants to know when it comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is how the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft is faring so far.

    Quarterback Jameis Winston did not play in Thursday’s 22-17 win over the Miami Dolphins, and we are still waiting for him to throw his first touchdown pass in the NFL. He finished the preseason completing less than 50 percent of his throws (23-of-47) for 311 yards and a pair of interceptions while being sacked seven times. He did run for a touchdown in the team’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings in mid-August.

    As for Tampa Bay’s defense, there’s still some work to do there as well. Hence Thursday’s addition, per NFL.com, of former Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, who was released by Chicago earlier this week.

    Year two of the Lovie Smith era in Tampa figures to once again be filled with growing pains.

Tennessee Titans: C

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    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 2-2

    Analysis

    So have head coach Ken Whisenhunt and the Tennessee Titans found a ground game?

    The team averaged 109.3 yards per game in four preseason tilts. Five running backs, including second-year pro Bishop Sankey, undrafted rookie David Fluellen and Antonio Andrews, totaled 20 or more carries this summer (2015 fifth-round pick David Cobb had 19 rushing attempts).

    Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 70 percent of his 30 pass attempts, while second-year pro Zach Mettenberger enjoyed a very solid showing.

    If a bolstered defensive unit can get its act together, this could be an interesting team. Of course, anything would be much better than just two wins and a 10-game losing streak to enter this season.

Washington Redskins: B-

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Win-Loss Record: 3-1

    Analysis

    Yes, the Washington Redskins came within a 17-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night of an unbeaten preseason. As we know, this is a team that has hardly remained unscathed the last month or so.

    What we do know is that Kirk Cousins will be the Week 1 starter against the Miami Dolphins. The latest installment of “As the RG III Turns” has the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year on the outs. Just how far out may be decided this weekend.

    On the other hand, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry has seemingly brought some hope to the other side of the ball. Washington limited all four of its opponents this summer to 17 or fewer points, and the team totaled 13 sacks in those contests.

    Still, the debacle that was the start of the summer drops the team’s grade a bit.

    All free-agent information and player signings/transactions are courtesy of Spotrac. Depth chart information comes via Ourlads. Unless otherwise noted, all player and team statistics come from Pro-Football-Reference and ESPN.com.