Arizona Cardinals 6th-round pick Justin Bethel, out of Presbyterian College, has already made his presence felt. While he’s listed as the third-string free safety, he is seeing significant time on special teams and making an immediate impact.
Bethel has already blocked a punt and an extra point, and likely has a spot on the 53-man roster due to his performance. As a 6th-round pick, nothing is guaranteed. So any little thing you can do to catch the coaching staff’s attention is needed, and Bethel has clearly done his part.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about Bethel’s performance: ”He’s got a long ways to go defensively, but he’s working at it. That’s what you like to see. When we talk about guys that can contribute on special teams while they’re learning that, it’s a pretty good situation.”
Chicago Bears 2nd-round Alshon Jeffery was ejected from his final collegiate game for fighting with Nebraska conerback Alfonzo Dennard. On Saturday, in just his second preseason game, he was again mixed up in an altercation with Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Jeffery was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
Penalties are part of the game, but Jeffery has shown a tendency to lose his cool far too often on the field. The Bears have undoubtedly spoken with him about this issue – likely before they even drafted him. If it continues to be an issue it could affect his playing time.
Cincinnati Bengals 1st-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick took the field for the first time on Monday afternoon. He had been recovering from a left knee injury suffered during June minicamps.
The Bengals are fairly deep at cornerback, so there’s no need for them to rush Kirkpatrick into action. As a result, he will sit out Thursday’s preseason game against the Packers but is expected to appear in the final preseason game on Friday, August 31.
Cleveland Browns 4th-round pick Travis Benjamin has reportedly been getting some first-team reps in three-receivers sets.
Benjamin is vastly undersized (5’10″, 175 pounds) but may be the faster receiver on the Browns roster. So while he probably won’t be taking many balls away from Greg Little or Mohamed Massaquoi, he could be used as a deep threat (and as a decoy). The Browns were lacking any sort of downfield passing attack in 2011, so the addition of Benjamin could add a new dimension to the offense.
The Miami Dolphins have their man.
After a relatively brief competition with Matt Moore and David Garrard, Ryan Tannehill was officially named the Dolphins starting quarterback by head coach Joe Philbin on Monday. After Tannehill started the ’Phins second preseason game and played relatively well, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Tannehill knows offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s offense better than anyone and is clearly the quarterback of the future in Miami.
I was critical of the Dolphins selection of Tannehill, but I can’t argue with this decision. He’s clearly comfortable with Sherman’s offense and even if he doesn’t give them the best chance to win right now (which he actually might) they’re playing for the future.
New York Giants 3rd-round pick Jayron Hosley returned an interception for a touchdown on Saturday night, but left the game in a walking boot. On Sunday, Tom Coughlin revealed that Hosley suffered a toe injury but did not speculate on how long he would be out.
It sounds as though Hosley won’t miss significant time, but this has to be frustrating for the Giants. Just last year their 1st-round cornerback, Prince Amukamara’s debut was delayed due to a broken foot suffered in the offseason.
The St. Louis Rams surprised many by taking Brian Quick in the early 2nd round. While Quick has the raw physical tools, most assumed the Rams would target a player with more NFL-ready skills.
While former Rams great Torry Holt didn’t offer an opinion on the selection of Quick, he did analyze Quick’s early performance in Rams camp:
“He has to play to his size. That’s the biggest thing I saw … he’s not really playing to his size. Once he understands what type of strength that he has, and it’s OK to use that strength, I think we’ll start to see more production out of him.”
Holt’s assessment is consistent with what many scouts saw from Quick at Appalachian State. The skills are certainly there, but he needs time to develop. As a result, it’s probably not realistic to expect much from Quick in the 2012 season.
If anyone was still looking to fabricate for a quarterback controversy for he Washington Redskins, then Kirk Cousins provided plenty of ammo on Saturday night.
Cousins turned in one of the most impressive performances of the preseason, completing 18 of 23 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns against the Chicago Bears. It won’t be enough to push Robert Griffin for the starting job, but it could have given him an edge over Rex Grossman for backup duties.
Griffin will likely see significant playing time in the Redskins next preseason game, but the final game could be another chance for Cousins to shine.
Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin wasn’t exactly supportive of 2nd-round pick Jonathan Martin after the rookie struggled against the Panthers:
“He wasn’t God awful. Wasn’t like he got beat right off the bat. He had a bad holding call. A really bad holding call, and I thought he maybe could have got called for another one later.”
Martin allowed two sacks and was called for a false start and holding (and apparently should have been called for another holding). It was a rough day to say the least and Philbin’s comments certainly don’t bode well for his future in the starting lineup.
Unfortunately the Dolphins don’t have many other options. Veteran Lydon Murtha or undrafted rookie Andrew McDonald would likely be next in line to replace Martin if Philbin believes he isn’t ready for opening weekend.
Chicago Bears 2nd-round pick Alshon Jeffery made his case for a starting job on Saturday with three catches for 62 yards in the Bears second preseason game.
Jeffery should be one of Cutler's favorite targets
Jeffery caught a 16-yard pass from Jay Cutler in the 1st quarter. He then caught passes from Jason Campbell on consecutive plays – a 12-yard reception (despite defensive pass interference) followed up by a 42-yard play.
I was skeptical of Jeffery during the draft process primarily because of his poor conditioning and occasional lack of effort, but he’s made a strong impression so far with the Bears. He will definitely crack the 53-man roster, but the only question remaining is how much action he will see. Physically, he’s similar to Brandon Marshall, which could limit his role in the Bears offense.