San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs live

The Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers tomorrow night. With this being the first preseason game, we take an extended look at what to watch for.

Football is finally back! Well…kinda…sorta. It is just preseason football after all, but it is still our first chance to watch the Kansas City Chiefs in action this year. The Chiefs kick off their preseason schedule tomorrow night against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium. With this being the first action of the year, there will be plenty to watch for.

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Many people believe that the NFL preseason doesn’t matter. This is woefully inaccurate and shows a lack of understanding of just how much work goes on this time of year. At the very least, you are talking about 90 players competing for 53 jobs. There are a lot of guys that this time will mean a heck of a lot too.

On top of personnel decisions, this is an opportunity for the coaching staff to get a real look at just where the team stands heading into the season. For instance, we saw in the preseason opener last year that the run defense might struggle. Sure enough, that was a major theme for the whole 2016 season.

Preparing For The Season

Coming into the fifth year of the Andy Reid Era in Kansas City, we have a good idea of what to expect tomorrow night. For the most part, we can expect the starters to play about two series to begin the game. That may change based on what the coaches see, as it did last year when Alex Smith led a scoring drive to open the game.

After Alex Smith and the starters, we can expect Tyler Bray and the second team to get around a quarter to work, possibly to the end of the half. From there, Patrick Mahomes will take over with a mix of second and third team players. He’ll get a good portion of the remaining time with Joel Stave finishing out the game with whoever is left to get it.

This is the game where everyone that is healthy is guaranteed to get some playing time. Beyond this game, things get much tighter as the starters get more work in. So this night will be especially important for the guys that are fighting for a roster spot. It’s also going to be a big night for Patrick Mahomes as he makes his debut.

Here are the ten things to watch for when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers…

Bengals vs Buccaneers Preseason Week 1: Game time, TV schedule, online stream, announcers, replay

Sure, preseason football may not be the same level of football we’ll see in the regular season, but it’s nevertheless football being played by NFL athletes in competition for the first time in over seven months for the Cincinnati Bengals, as they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their preseason opener.

Training camp and the preseason are part of the road to how far the Bengals will go in the 2017 season. This is also a pivotal time for newcomers looking to take on big roles with this team.

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Second-round rookie running back Joe Mixon has been lighting it up in his first training camp, so it will be interesting to see how he does against a solid Buccaneers defense in his first live game action. He’s currently listed fourth on the depth chart at running back, so he’ll need to have a great preseason to ensure he’s getting a big workload once the regular season begins.

Fourth-round rookie linebacker Carl Lawson has been a terror off the edge in camp against every Bengals lineman he’s faced. Now he gets to go against another team’s lineman and prove he’s ready for a big role in this defense.

As for the Buccaneers, they’re looking to build off a promising 9-7 season and look primed for another winning season, which could get them into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

They feature a high-flying offense led by third-year quarterback Jameis Winston, who some already consider a top-10 passer in the NFL. He certainly has the potential to have a top-10 season with a pass-catching group of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and 19th-overall pick O.J. Howard.

Though we should only see the starters for a series or two, it will be interesting to see how the Bengals’ defense holds up against that talented offense. As well as how the offensive line does against a solid Tampa Bay defensive line.

Here is everything you’ll need to watch and follow these two teams square off in Week 1 of the preseason.

How to Watch Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals

Date: Friday, August 11, 2017

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

TV Channel: WKRC-TV (CBS Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WKEF-TV (ABC Ch. 22) in Dayton, WSYXTV (ABC Ch. 6) in Columbus, WLIO-TV (FOX Ch. 8.2) in Lima, WDKY-TV FOX Ch. 56) in Lexington, Ky. and WDRB-TV (FOX Ch. 41) in Louisville, Ky.; Check out 506sports.com for full listings in surrounding areas

Announcers: Bengals Preseason Network coverage features Brad Johansen (play-by-play), Anthony Munoz (analyst) and Mike Valpredo (sideline reporter).

Online Stream: NFL Game Pass

Radio: The Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). The broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Odds: Cincinnati (-2), Over/Under 37.5, via OddsShark.com

Replay: Saturday, August 12, 1:00 a.m. and Tuesday, August 15, 1:00 p.m. on NFL Network. You can also watch a replay with NFL Game Pass.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Cincinnati Bengals

Sure, preseason football may not be the same level of football we’ll see in the regular season, but it’s nevertheless football being played by NFL athletes in competition for the first time in over seven months for the Cincinnati Bengals, as they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their preseason opener.

Training camp and the preseason are part of the road to how far the Bengals will go in the 2017 season. This is also a pivotal time for newcomers looking to take on big roles with this team.

CLICK HEAR TO WATCH NFL GAME LIVE

Second-round rookie running back Joe Mixon has been lighting it up in his first training camp, so it will be interesting to see how he does against a solid Buccaneers defense in his first live game action. He’s currently listed fourth on the depth chart at running back, so he’ll need to have a great preseason to ensure he’s getting a big workload once the regular season begins.

Fourth-round rookie linebacker Carl Lawson has been a terror off the edge in camp against every Bengals lineman he’s faced. Now he gets to go against another team’s lineman and prove he’s ready for a big role in this defense.

As for the Buccaneers, they’re looking to build off a promising 9-7 season and look primed for another winning season, which could get them into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

They feature a high-flying offense led by third-year quarterback Jameis Winston, who some already consider a top-10 passer in the NFL. He certainly has the potential to have a top-10 season with a pass-catching group of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and 19th-overall pick O.J. Howard.

Though we should only see the starters for a series or two, it will be interesting to see how the Bengals’ defense holds up against that talented offense. As well as how the offensive line does against a solid Tampa Bay defensive line.

Here is everything you’ll need to watch and follow these two teams square off in Week 1 of the preseason.

How to Watch Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals

Date: Friday, August 11, 2017

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

TV Channel: WKRC-TV (CBS Ch. 12) in Cincinnati, WKEF-TV (ABC Ch. 22) in Dayton, WSYXTV (ABC Ch. 6) in Columbus, WLIO-TV (FOX Ch. 8.2) in Lima, WDKY-TV FOX Ch. 56) in Lexington, Ky. and WDRB-TV (FOX Ch. 41) in Louisville, Ky.; Check out 506sports.com for full listings in surrounding areas

Announcers: Bengals Preseason Network coverage features Brad Johansen (play-by-play), Anthony Munoz (analyst) and Mike Valpredo (sideline reporter).

Online Stream: NFL Game Pass

Radio: The Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). The broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Odds: Cincinnati (-2), Over/Under 37.5, via OddsShark.com

Replay: Saturday, August 12, 1:00 a.m. and Tuesday, August 15, 1:00 p.m. on NFL Network. You can also watch a replay with NFL Game Pass.

Steelers vs. Giants 2017 Preseason: Game time, TV schedule, online streaming, announcers and more

The Pittsburgh Steelers kick off their 2017 preseason with a road trip to New York to play the Giants. The Steelers won’t have many starters at their disposal, for both personnel and injury reasons, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be football to watch.

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Preseason football is better than no football, in my opinion, and you will get to see players who are killing themselves for a shot to make the team. Desperation has a way of making things exciting, but for all the tiny details of the game, check out all the information below to enhance your viewing experience.

Reminder to follow us on Twitter (@btsteelcurtain) as well as in the open threads on game day to talk with other fans who are just like you — Die Hards!

Injury Report:

Starters not playing:
QB Ben Roethlisberger
WR Antonio Brown

(Editor’s Note: This list will likely grow after Thursday’s workout prior to the team traveling to New York.)

Date/Time: Friday, August 11, 7:00 p.m. EDT

Location: Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Game Odds: N/A

TV: Nationally Televised on NFL Network (KDKA Locally)

Online Streaming: NFL Game Pass and NFL.com Game Center

Announcers: Local announcers

Tickets: For tickets fans can visit the NFL Ticket Exchange

Twitter: @btsteelcurtain

Facebook: Please like us on Facebook

New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers

When news broke on July 30 that cornerback Senquez Golson, the Steelers second round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, had been carted from the practice fields of St. Vincent College with what appeared to be a lower-body ailment (later revealed as a hamstring injury), my initial reaction was to chuckle.

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The chuckle wasn’t malicious in nature, mind you; it was more along the lines of, “I can’t believe this guy’s luck.”

First it was the shoulder injury and then surgery that extinguished Golson’s rookie season before it even saw a training camp.

Then it was the Lisfranc injury and subsequent surgery that snuffed out Golson’s second season just days into his first official training camp.

Now the hamstring?

Of course, social media and blogs being what they are, fans, many of whom had long-since written Golson off, were saying he was done.

“But none of these injuries were really that catastrophic,” I may have Tweeted or just thought to myself. “Why would the Steelers, who thought so highly of Golson when they drafted him out of Mississippi two years ago, they already had him ear-marked for the nickel corner position before he even unpacked for his first mini-camp, so easily dismiss this guy without giving him a serious and thorough look?”

But then I listened to a radio appearance by Gerry Dulac, a Steelers beat writer that works for both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Steelers Radio Network, who all but said the team’s front office–including the likes of general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin—had already considered Golson a long-shot to help the team in 2017—even before his latest physical setback.

Oh well, if Dulac, a Steelers insider who is about as well-connected to the organization as anyone, said it, it had to be true.

Kind of a shame, really, and when you think about it, isn’t it a bit short-sighted?

What do we know about Golson right now, other than he’s suffered three separate injuries that have forced him to miss all but a few training camp reps in two-plus years?

You might say, we know that he’s injury-prone, a label that’s hard to dispute. But do we know that these injuries have diminished his skills? Do we truly know that Golson is just not cut out for the rigors of professional football? Lifting weights, perhaps, but the actual game of professional football?

I ask that question because Golson played 47 games in four seasons at Mississippi and never had a problem with injuries, such as the ones he’s suffered with the Steelers.

So, does a shoulder injury, a mid-foot sprain and a hamstring injury all come together to render a 24-year old athletically gifted football player useless?

Maybe, but how will we know until we know?

Greg Lloyd missed his first two seasons with injuries, and he is now part of the Steelers family tree of bad-ass outside linebackers.

That has nothing to do with this, of course, but it’s really hard to label Golson a bust when the label keeps falling off the bottle.

Was Limas Sweed a bust? Sure, he was a wide receiver who couldn’t catch.

Was Jarvis Jones a bust? Obviously, since he was an outside linebacker who couldn’t rush the passer.

As for Golson, right now, he’s just busted.

The Steelers have been trying to find all the right parts to piece together a secondary they hope can transform from a liability into a strength. It’s early yet, but Artie Burns and Sean Davis look like the real deals. Ross Cockrell has yet to do anything to lose his starting cornerback job, but if he does, it may be because Cameron Sutton, the rookie third round pick out of Tennessee, blows right past him and onto the top of the depth chart.

Then there’s Willie Gay, Coty Sensabaugh, Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden.

And maybe even cornerback Mike Hilton, a 2016 UDFA from Ole Miss and a college teammate of Golson’s, a youngster who has taken advantage of the injury absences of players like Golson and Sutton, and has turned some heads at camp early on.

Tomlin often likes to say “All hands on deck,” when his team is heading into a game compromised by injury.

You might even say the “All Hands on Deck” philosophy applies to building a roster, because you can’t do it all by taking a traditional and logical route.

Take a look at the blue-chip offensive line that is rounded out by an UDFA at left guard and a player who used to be a receiver at left tackle.

The Steelers can’t leave any stone unturned when trying to build what they hope to be an elite secondary.

Obviously, it’s up to Golson himself to get healthy and give his bosses a stone to turn over and examine. But there is plenty of camp remaining and four preseason games.

Therefore, if Senquez Golson gets healthy sooner rather than later, the Steelers owe it to themselves and their secondary to give him a serious look before moving on.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs New York Giants

Whether it’s established starters with Super Bowl rings or players fighting for a roster spot, somehow the Pittsburgh Steelers defense turns to jelly when Curtis Painter steps onto the field.

At least this time, the game didn’t count.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs New York Giants LIVE

Painter’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Corey Washington with 2:50 remaining lifted the New York Giants to a 20-16 win over the Steelers Saturday night in the Steelers’ 2014 preseason opener at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The last time the Steelers’ defense encountered the journeyman quarterback, Painter led the Indianapolis Colts on an 80-yard, game-tying drive in Week 3 of the 2011 season. The Steelers ultimately won that game 23-20.

More disturbing than Painter’s game-winning TD pass on a field full of backups was Rashad Jennings’ 73-yard touchdown run against the Steelers’ starters in the first quarter, which gave the Giants a 7-3 lead. That’s not what Mike Tomlin wanted to see after the Steelers allowed 11 plays of 50 yards or more last season, most in the NFL.

The Steelers’ only touchdown was scored by the defense on a splash play orchestrated by three linebackers who are trying to make an impression. Chris Carter, who has played three uneventful seasons, pressured Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib into a fumble. Vic So’oto got his hand on the ball and Howard Jones ran it in 28 yards for the touchdown and a 16-13 Steelers lead in the fourth quarter.

Dri Archer, the Steelers’ third-round draft pick in May, provided his team’s highlight of the night when he turned a short pass from Ben Roethlisberger into a 46-yard gain in the first quarter.

Fourth-round pick Martavis Bryant wasn’t as impressive. He muffed a punt, which he recovered, and dropped a fourth-down reception in the fourth quarter that killed the Steelers’ final drive.

The Steelers next play Saturday at 7:30 p.m., against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field.

Dolphins vs Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins match is up later today at late evening 7:00 PM EST. It is at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida. The match will be an important one as we will properly analyze the Falcons against an NFL opponent, as they have been just sitting for the past six months and practicing.

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How to watch the Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins match:

Date and Time: August 10th, 2017 7:00 PM EST

Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

TV: CBS (US Regional)

Online Stream: CBS ALL ACCESS (US) – (Subscription required click here to start your free 7-day-trial and watch this event live, you can cancel at any time.)

Atlanta Falcons Team News

Atlanta Falcons are to face an NFL team in over six months now. The Miami Dolphins will be the team that helps analyze the potential of each athlete who will be playing. Coach Dan Quinn has a lot of excitement about these matches. It gives him and others the chance to perform evaluations of his players against live competition.

As Atlanta Falcons are starting their preseason against a stiff competitor, fans are ready to be excited about a strong face-off. The Falcons lost in the Super Bowl 51. And this will also be a chance for them to show that they can fight back. Not to mention, get their position back as a strong NFL team. However, the lineup is different now. Now, many key players won’t be playing. Kelvin Taylor (running back), Margin Ifedi (defensive end), Kevin Graf (backup tackle), Julio Jones (receiver), and Taylor Gabriel (receiver) won’t be active.

Miami Dolphins Team News

Miami looks forward to controlling the damage from its loss of quarterback player Ryan Tannehill (knee injury that might get him out of the whole season). They have a replacement in Jay Cutler. Cutler was signed up with a one-year contract amounting to $10 million. However, professionals don’t think that he will be able to fill in the gap that is left behind. The rest is up for grabs. Only after seeing the kind of performance the team delivers can any estimate be made.

Against a team made mostly of rookies, the chances of the Miami Dolphins are good. However, if the practice performance of the Falcons translates into actual gameplay, things can quickly become hard for the Dolphins.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Green Bay Packers

The Pre-Season finally kicks off for the Eagles Thursday, as the boy’s travel to Green Bay to face the Packers for the first of four exhibition games.

Philadelphia Eagles at the Green Bay Packers

When: Thursday, August 10th @ 8pm

The Philadelphia Eagles come into this years pre-season with their quarterback position cemented and a roster positioned to compete for a division title.

Keeping Wentz and the starters healthy will be most important aspect of the pre=season all while kicking off some rust and looking crisp on the field. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said “Wentz will play in Thursday’s preseason opener”, Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Look for Wentz and most of the starters to be on the field for one or two drives.

What to watch for on Offense

All eyes will be on Wentz. The Philadelphia Eagles signal caller will hope to score during the one or two series he plays in. When Wentz comes out, watch to see if Nick Foles comes in. Foles hasnt practiced in almost three weeks due to his elbow soreness.

Don’t expect prize free agent Alshon Jeffery to suit up Thursday, Jeffery hasn’t competed in full-team 11-on-11 drills since the first padded practice where he sprained his shoulder.

The Eagles have a lot of wide receivers in camp this year, there have plenty of talk about whats going to happen with Jordan Mathews. If Mathews plays a significant amount of time this game one would wonder if they are show casing him for a trade.

Who to watch on Offense

Rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins has generated some serious buzz in camp thus far. With Alshon and Torrey Smith occupying two starting spots the other receivers in camp will want to impress this pre-season. Hollins, Gibson, Agholor, Mathews, Treggs, Marcus Johnson, Greg Ward and Paul Turner all are competing for roster spots on this team, whomever makes some plays versus the Packers will have the early lead.

What to watch on Defense

There are many questions about the Eagles secondary. Corey Graham was brought in a week abo but has only been mentioned to play with the safeties.

The corner back position may be up for the taking, like the receiver position, there are a lot of bodies battling for roster spots. Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson look to be the front-runners to start but fans should keep an eye on the rookie Rasul Douglas, Ron Brooks, Mitchell White and Aaron Grymes as some of these players will make the team and will contribute to this Eagles roster moving forward.

Who to watch on Defense

First round pick Derek Barnett should play versus the Packers. The defensive end was drafted as a player the Eagles will expect production from, and early. Barnett will be lining up against reserve offensive tackles and Eagles coaches will hope to see Barnett in the back field on more than just a couple of occasions.

Thursday will be the 16th time the Packers and the Eagles will have met during the preseason with the Eagles leading the preseason series, 9-6.

Laying odds

Packers -1 (105)    O/U 39

The Packers come into this match-up favored by 1 with a total of 39. With the Packers playing at home and back up quarterback Brett Hundley looking like a quarterback that could start for other NFL teams I will take the Packers -1.

Last season the Packers were 10-8-1 against the spread and with Nick Foles status up in the air, I think the Packers reserves will out perform the Eagles back ups. As of now there is a 40% chance of a thunderstorm tomorrow night in Green Bay with a 6 MPH wind. First pre-season games are usually sloppy, have a lot of flags and really no flow. With that said I will take the under of 39 total points.

Fantasy Spin

Fantasy drafts are around the corner. The first pre-season game may not give too much information to change your draft boards but I have my eye on Wendell Smallwood and Jordan Mathews. Both these players could go from un-draft-able to Smallwood being a flex play and Mathews potentially being a WR3.

New Orleans Saints vs Cleveland Browns

Chris Pokorny of Dawgs By Nature answered five of my questions regarding a few areas in anticipation for Thursday’s preseason bout between the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns. Like the Saints, the Browns are looking to turn the tides on their losing ways, and both teams arguably have reasons why they can.

Brock Osweiler is being toted as the team’s starting quarterback against the Saints. What do you make of his realistic chances to keep that title once the season rolls around?

It’s been quite the quick change of demeanor when it comes to Brock Osweiler and the Cleveland Browns. When the team first acquired him during the draft, the front office was pretty blunt about the fact that they only absorbed Osweiler’s $16 million salary so they could have an extra second-round pick. Most Browns fans appreciated the creativity of the move and believed it was a foregone conclusion that he would be cut or traded before training camp even came around.

During the offseason programs, I think the Browns’ coaching staff started to see what fans have picked up on over the past week: even if Osweiler isn’t performing like a high-caliber quarterback, right now, he’s definitely the guy who gives Cleveland the best chance to win and push the ball down the field. Cody Kessler, who was No. 1 on the depth chart until this past Monday, was supposed to work on his arm strength this offseason. And although early offseason reports said that it had improved, when fans saw him in practice, he was much of the same: an accurate, short-range passer who defenses can learn to sit on. I don’t think there is any going back to Kessler as a starter right now, so it comes down to Osweiler or DeShone Kizer for Week 1 of the regular season. My money would be on Osweiler making that start. For that to change, Osweiler would have to make more then a handful of bone-headed throws over the next two weeks, at which point head coach Hue Jackson could be compelled to let the rookie Kizer learn on the fly.

The Browns upgraded their offensive line, and Isaiah Crowell looks to have a big year because of it. What’s the assessment of both the offensive line and Crowell thus far?

The offensive line is by far the best unit on the Browns, and should probably be regarded as a Top 3 unit in the entire NFL. At left tackle, Joe Thomas is a future Hall of Famer and continues to play at such a level in his 10th year. Left guard Joel Bitonio has had injury issues the past two years, but when healthy is an above average lineman. Center J.C. Tretter was signed this offseason from the Green Bay Packers. Although he’s new to the club, it’s expected that he’ll bring a sense of stability at the position, something that was sorely lacking in 2016 with former first-round pick Cameron Erving starting there. Right guard Kevin Zeitler has been darn-near a Pro Bowl caliber player the past several years for Cincinnati, and signed a lucrative deal with Cleveland. The only competition is at right tackle between Erving and second-year man Shon Coleman. Coleman is the favorite to win, but we’ll be using this preseason to determine how competent he can play the position.

Although Isaiah Crowell has never actually cracked 1,000 yards rushing in a single season, the impression is that he is in store for a breakout season to where he could be a Top 5 running back in the NFL when it comes to rushing yards. He is dangerous when he reaches the second level and is tough to bring down, leading to a lot of big plays last year. The issue the past two years for him has been the fact that, to no fault of his own, the offensive line has been lacking in personnel or injured, leading to penetration in the backfield before he even got the football handed off to him. That problem should go away, and I think a lot of fantasy owners are going to be rushing to get Crowell as a must-start back before long.

How much do you expect the starters to play on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball? Who are some of the players to watch after that?

I expect the starters to be given the full first quarter of play, as that is what Hue Jackson did last year. Some veteran players, like left tackle Joe Thomas, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, and cornerback Joe Haden, might see only a series of action because they really don’t have anything to prove at this point of their careers. After the starters exit, here are three players for fans to watch: (1) RB Matthew Dayes, (2) WR Jordan Leslie, and (3) FS Kai Nacua. Dayes was a 7th round pick, but the feeling is that Cleveland is largely converting RB Duke Johnson to a slot receiver this year, paving the way for Dayes to be the guy who spells Crowell on running plays. Leslie has had a lot of receptions in camp on the second-team offense, so the good thing is that he’s doing something to get open. Cleveland’s depth chart at receiver is very unproven, so anyone who steps up their game, like Leslie has been doing, has a shot to move up the depth chart. Nacua is an undrafted free agent safety who had a great reputation in college for making play after play on the football. He’s been buried a bit on the depth chart in camp, but it’ll be fun to see if his ball-hawk skills are on display in the second half.

Myles Garrett will obviously be a focal point of the Browns defense in 2017, how has he looked in training camp and what are some realistic expectations out of him against the Saints?

I did an article earlier this week on 5 players whose stock has risen since the start of camp. That type of article is typically meant to highlight lower-profile players, which makes Garrett an atypical choice to include. However, his inclusion is indicative of just how dominant of a camp he’s had to date. Coming off of a foot injury earlier this offseason, Garrett returned to training camp looking 100% from the get-go, bringing a confidence, charisma, work ethic, and the results one could only dream of from a first overall pick. Every practice, he’s beating rookie offensive tackle Rod Johnson for touch sacks. His one day against veteran left tackle Joe Thomas was quite the spectacle, and Thomas is praising him as already being one of the game’s best. And then at last Friday’s stadium scrimmage, Garrett logged four touch sacks in what was an abbreviated type of game. I don’t want to set expectations super high on him for the Saints game, because he has mostly been going against second-team left tackles in practice…but the quickness and bend he’s shown have been eager to see how he fares against first-teamers.

Hue Jackson’s first season was forgettable with the Browns. What big changes in personnel and players do you feel are the biggest additions for this year’s team?

I’ve already mentioned the offensive line being upgraded, and that’ll lead to a much greater commitment to the running game from a playcalling perspective. Other than that, the big difference is the addition of Gregg Williams to Cleveland. The team changed from a 3-4 to a 4-3, although they’ll be in the nickel for much of the game. A playmaker was either added or re-inforced at all three units — Myles Garrett on the defensive line (first-round pick), Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey at linebacker (both received extended contracts), and Jabrill Peppers in the secondary (first-round pick). It brings a whole new attitude and playmaking mentality to the defense that was sorely lacking on a group that I often referred to last year as being “historically bad”.

Denver Broncos vs Chicago Bears

It’s finally here! Tomorrow marks the unofficial coming of Fall. The Bears will be playing football and we got you covered!

The first match-up of the preseason is a showdown with John Fox’s former team, the Denver Broncos. This is actually a really good measuring stick for this Bears team. Bears fans, myself included, are very curious about what we will see with this new look offense.

For the first time since 2008, there will be a new starting quarterback for the Bears, Mike Glennon. Additionally, this is the first look at second-round pick, Mitchell Trubisky. While it may take some time to come together, there are some exciting weapons on offense that I will be anxious to get my first look at.

After a bevy of off-season moves, there will be a lot of new faces for many fans to get their first look at. In fact, 46 of the 90-man roster are new from last season. That is an incredible amount of turnover for one year, so make sure to print out a copy of the Bears roster. If you are watching locally, the team of Sam Rosen and Jim Miller are not the best with names, so you might want to have some additional information on hand.

But as always, keep in mind that this is a preseason game, the first preseason game. Take everything you see with a grain of salt.

In lieu of keys to the game, since this is preseason and all, I am going to give you match-ups and players to watch for.

How to watch Preseason Game 1

Who: Chicago Bears vs. Denver Broncos

Time: Thursday, August 10, 8 p.m. EST

Place: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

TV: NFL Network and locally on FOX

Announcers: NFLN – TBA, FOX – Sam Rosen and Jim Miller

Online: NFL.com

What to Watch For

On offense, be sure to watch how the team gets in and out of the huddle. This is a new offense for all 3 quarterbacks, so there is a learning curve for everyone. Additionally, I am going to be looking for efficiency. I am not concerned with scoring a bunch of points with the first team. My focus is going to be on moving the ball and getting into a little bit of a rhythm.

Defensively, I am going to watch for two things. First, how does the front look against the run. This was a weak spot last year and so far in camp, they have looked really good. I want to see that continue against another team. Secondly, I want to see what this secondary looks like. Are they making plays on the ball or giving up a ton of underneath passes as they have in the past.

Who to Watch

Mitchell Trubisky (#10): This is, of course, the most obvious choice. Why wouldn’t we want to watch our shiny new toy? Well as stated above, there is a lot of new information being thrown at Trubisky right now and I want to see how he reacts to it. Are there any snap issues? Can he get in-and-out of the huddle? Can he handle the speed of a live NFL game?

Tarik Cohen (#29): Well have all heard about Cohen’s speed and elusiveness. The real question is can he hold up to the pounding that NFL defenders heap on opposing players? Does the speed translate to games? Does he have the ability to avoid big hits, like the successful small players that have come before him?

Jonathan Bullard (#90): Bullard had a disappointing rookie season in 2016. The fans and team expected a lot out of him. He seems to have put that behind him as he bulked-up for the 2017 season and seems to be having a great camp. Is he pushing the pocket and/or holding his ground versus the run? Is he getting pressure in the pass game? Most importantly, do you notice him out there in a positive way?

Eddie Jackson (#39): The rookie free safety appears poised to grab hold of the starting spot next to Quintin Demps. First and foremost for me is can Jackson tackle? This was an issue in college. Next, I want to see how he moves and reacts to plays. He looks like he reads the play well in camp. Does he make plays and is he around the ball tomorrow night?

Who are and what are you all looking for from tomorrow night’s first preseason game? I am very glad to have Bears football back in my life, so I will definitely be tuning in.