Ahhh…week three of the NFL preseason. When the starters actually play and our teams begin to look less like it’s the preseason and more like the regular season. For some teams, that was good news. For others…not so much.
The New York Jets were featured on Sunday Night Football hosting the Carolina Panthers. Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was in regular season form. He ran, he threw, he impressed. And his team went on to beat the Jets 17-12. No, the Jets don’t have a touchdown yet. That was four field goals for them. They have Mark Sanchez, they have Tim Tebow. Before the season started, we couldn’t stop talking about this duo and what they could do. And now that it’s started, we can’t stop talking about what they can’t do. There were visions of hope. After a thoroughly unsuccessful half by Sanchez (who was booed for letting the clock run down to end it), it was Tebow Time. Tebow did what Tebow does, which is run and throw to the other team. At one point, NBC Host Cris Collinsworth was dissecting the mechanics of his unconventional left-handed throw and Tebow broke out for a huge run and first down. The timing was nothing short of divine. This is what Tebow can do. A few plays later…perfectly thrown ball…to a Carolina Panther. This is also what Tebow can do.
Note to self: take Jets kicker in fantasy draft. Tebow was eventually booed as well. Yes, Jets fans booed both of their quarterbacks in one game and it’s only the preseason. Tough crowd.
And to back up my theory that Twitter has no better use than for in-game football commentary, take this. For me, the tweet of the night, maybe of the entire preseason:
Michele Tafoya asked Sanchez about the Jets’ lack of a touchdown and he pointed out that there is still a fourth preseason game to be played. When pressed, he responded, “Looks like we’re saving all our touchdowns for the regular season.” When they count. Good plan.
And then we had the battle of the draft picks. Number one, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on number two, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field. There was hype. There was a t-shirt…
In the end, it was just another preseason game. Both quarterbacks highlighted their strengths. Luck threw a lot and ran a little, RGIII threw a little and ran a lot. Both had moments of brilliance. Both had rookie mistakes. The Redskins beat the Colts 30-17. The most impressive drives came from (wait for it)…Rex Grossman. Yes, Wrecks Grossman. The guy who has never really been able to establish himself as solid starting material (at least for long), was brilliant. Grossman finished 8 of 8 for 130 yards, 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to the Jets!
Other highlights for week three of the preseason:
We said hello to: Russell Wilson as starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning’s first touchdowns (a pair) for the Denver Broncos, and Cornerback Vontae Davis as a Colt, traded to Indy by the Miami Dolphins.
We said goodbye to: Terrell Owens as a Seattle Seahawk (and possibly as an NFL player), Pro Bowl Kicker Billy Cundiff as a Baltimore Raven (the team chose to move on with Rookie Justin Tucker), and many of the players who will be released by our teams as the rosters are reduced to 75 players.
Lest you forget, the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.”
One thing we do hope is not for long…the replacement refs. There is confusion, discussion, and an on field meeting with practically every call. The games are being dragged out, and there have been mistakes. Plenty of them. But it is the preseason. And the games don’t count. Yet. The players, coaches, even the fans have been fairly patient thus far. That will end once those calls result in a “W” or an “L” in a team’s record. We need better than this for the regular season. And really, by the start of it.
So, let’s hope week four of the preseason brings renewed talks between the NFL and the official officials.
And…a Jets touchdown.