1. No time to panic in Seattle
If there is one team to trust when it comes to its play on the field…if there is one team that has proved itself…if there is one team that can indeed flip the switch…it is the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks offense has been Buccaneers-ish this preseason. Russell Wilson has looked like he isn't getting enough nanobubbles. The passing game has been anemic. The team's prize free-agent acquisition, tight end Jimmy Graham, has been a ghost.
Against San Diego on Saturday, ESPN's Sheil Kapadia pointed out, "The Seahawks' first-team offense managed two field goals and four punts on six possessions in two-plus quarters." The Chargers aren't exactly this world-beater defense, either. So, yes, it looks bad.
But it looked bad last season as well, when the offense struggled a bit early on. In fact, if you look at the remarkable run of the Seahawks, it has been pockmarked with stretches of poor offense or even defensive struggles.
This is a team that thrives on conflict. That's not a guess; it's something I've been told by Seahawks players. Of course they're not trying to struggle on offense purposely. That's not what I'm saying. But they are one of the few teams that can do something that is virtually impossible. When they are struggling, they can use that conflict to turn on a dime. That proverbial switch goes "click" and the Seahawks go boom.
It can't be stressed enough: The more people say the Seahawks suck at something, the better they eventually do.
"Ultimately, we have to finish drives. That's on me. But we'll hit 'em," Wilson told reporters after the Chargers game. "We'll be just fine. So I'm excited about it."
Not sure the Seahawks should be "excited" about it, but they damn sure shouldn't be worried about it.
As the News Tribune's Gregg Bell wrote:
For the preseason—entering a preseason finale which he may barely play Thursday at home against Oakland, Wilson is 17-of-31 passing for 146 yards and a passer rating of 67.4. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass and has lost a fumble while sacked for one of his three times in three games.
There were also some signs of life in the Chargers game worth pointing out: Marshawn Lynch saw his first action of the preseason and looked, well, like Marshawn Freaking Lynch. Had he played more, the Seahawks would have been far more effective on offense. The defense and special teams looked good, too.
Look: The Seahawks players don't care about the preseason. They don't. Again, this isn't a guess. This is a team with experienced, talented veterans who are a stupid play call away from winning the last two Super Bowls. They know the preseason is garbage, and the players are just going through the motions, trying not to get hurt.
Sucking in the preseason is a veteran move by a veteran team that knows there are far bigger fish to fry.
Maybe this team, as has happened before, starts slowly on offense. But it won't matter. With the 49ers in shambles, the Seahawks are going to win that division. They have the NFC's best defense and probably its best overall team.
So don't cry for the Seahawks. They'll be punching people in the mouth again soon enough.
2. The other Lockett rocket
Another positive sign in the Seahawks preseason: a possible future star in rookie Tyler Lockett, who has scored two touchdowns in three games, including a 103-yard kickoff return in the preseason opener versus Denver.
This is another sign the Seahawks will be OK in the long run. They rely on defense and special teams, and it looks like they are developing a special teams star.
Oh, and by the way, the Seahawks got a 60-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka against the Chargers.
Yeah, the Seahawks will be fine.
3. Meanwhile, in San Francisco...
The 49ers' struggles are harder to dismiss. They are a different team after the mass exodus of talent this offseason, including the loss of Jim Harbaugh.
You are seeing the result of what happens when so much talent disappears. Especially on offense, the 49ers are a wreck. Colin Kaepernick was 2-of-5 for 13 yards passing against the Broncos.
It's going to be a long year for the 49ers.
4. Could the Bills shock the world?
The problem with Rex Ryan is that he's never been able to find a quarterback. Is it possible he has one now? Or even two?
The Bills have named Tyrod Taylor their starter, and he's been excellent this preseason, completing 24 of 31 passes for 236 yards.
The thing is, EJ Manuel has been just as good.
I used to think Manuel was a disaster, but this preseason—and I know it's only preseason—he's 20-of-30 for 358 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions.
Maybe that position isn't the freaking nightmare many of us thought it would be. If the Bills can simply find competence at the position, and they combine that with a solid defense, maybe that team can shock the division. Maybe.
5. Could the Eagles shock the world?
I've always believed the media gave Chip Kelly his "genius" status far too quickly. Zero playoff wins in two years does not, as Bill Parcells might say, put you in Canton.
The Kelly advocates always said: Wait until he gets a quarterback. Well, like Ryan and the Bills—and certainly in a greater sense—Kelly may have found one.
This preseason, Sam Bradford is 13-of-15 for 156 yards and three touchdowns. He's displayed the accuracy that made him a Heisman winner and the first overall pick in the 2010 draft.
He's also not on crutches or in surgery or coming out of it. He's upright and healthy. If that continues, the Eagles will be terribly scary.
6. Why is league just now worried about gloves?
What I don't understand is: Why is the NFL worried about this now? The gloves have been around for decades, and while the technology has definitely gotten better, they are now entrenched in the culture. It's stupid to try and contain that particular genie now. It's like trying to roll back clothing technology that pulls sweat away from the body.
A lot of this sounds like a bunch of ex-players complaining about the good ol' days when they caught footballs in the cold, up the hill, both ways. There's a lot of "get off my lawn" with some of the complaining.
If today's glove technology existed in the 1970s, those players would have used it. I don't think gloves make Odell Beckham Jr. or Dez Bryant any less spectacular.
7. More on Russell Wilson's brain water
8. The Concussion trailer
This looks incredible. Remarkable. After seeing this, the NFL threw up in its mouth a little. A lot.
9. John Harbaugh the bully
This is Ravens coach John Harbaugh chastising a sideline reporter—a reporter picked by the team—for asking sensible questions about the tiff between Washington and Harbaugh's Ravens. It was fairly disgraceful behavior.
10. NFL subs
I know that companies, including the NFL, try to monetize anything and everything. But do we really need NFL sub sandwiches?
From the Tampa Bay Business Journal:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers sub: White sub roll, guacamole, Boar's Head Spicy Jerk Turkey, Boar's Head Chipotle Gouda, shredded lettuce, mango peach salsa stirred well and lightly crushed plantain chips.
Jacksonville Jaguars sub: White sub roll, chicken tenders, Boar's Head bacon, deli imported cheddar cheese, deli sweet cole slaw and barbecue mayonnaise.
Miami Dolphins sub: White sub roll, mayonnaise, Boar's Head chipotle chicken, shredded lettuce, mango peach salsa, drained and fried maduros plantains.
Atlanta Falcons sub: White sub roll, sweet maple-flavored chicken tenders, Boar's Head bacon, Publix mango peach preserves and sriracha mayonnaise.
So, in effect, Jameis Winston and Publix are reunited.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.