The second week of preseason is in the books, and in a lot of cases around the league it was our first chance to see starters. Most teams took a conservative approach with their top talent in Week 1, as is customary — so we began to get a better look at how teams are shaping up with the majority of their roster taking part.
This always comes with the provision of “it’s early,” but here’s who stood out in Week 2.
No. 1: Sam Eguavon, LB, Miami Dolphins
7 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 safety
Preseason games were made for guys like Sam Eguavon, and his performance this week is easily the best story of preseason so far. It was a hugely emotional week for Eguavon, who missed practice two days — normally something that precipates the end of an NFL dream when you’re a fringe guy on the roster. It’s no fair, but being unable to practice can often be the end. Instead, the 28-year-old had his shot against the Falcons, and nailed it.
Playing 38 snaps on Saturday, Eguavon was an absolute force on the field. Seemingly involved in every big play on the field, he eclipsed his career NFL sack total in one game. Yes, it’s preseason. No, I don’t care. When he was asked after the game when he last had a game like that he laughed as said “Last time I had four sacks? My dream last night.”
It was a statement game from a player who went undrafted in 2015 and spent three years in the Canadian Football League. One preseason game might not be enough to lock a spot on the roster, but it’s one heck of a start.
No. 2: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Buffalo Bills
20-of-28, 221 yards, 1 TD
This was the Trubisky revenge game, and hoo boy did he decide to go off. This gets the very slight edge for best performance this week for two key reasons: Firstly, the narrative of the revenge game actually paying off is fun, and I like rewarding fun. Secondly, who expected anything out of Trubisky against the Bears starters? Seriously.
Look, obviously he always had the potential — but that really was never realized in Chicago. What we saw in Trubisky with the Buffalo offense was such a stark difference. He behaved like the leader he never really was with the Bears, and played accurate, mistake-free football while also being unafraid to take big shots downfield when they presented themselves.
Obviously there’s zero chance he’ll challenge for a starting job with Josh Allen on the roster, but this will be a fascinating story to watch. Trubisky is only on a one-year deal, and could become a very major player in free agency next spring.
No. 3.: Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
9-of-11, 128 yards, 2 TD
Jets fans really, really needed this. Wilson didn’t play in the Jets’ first preseason game, and he reportedly underwhelmed in practice up to this point with some inconsistent play. So, to see him in an actual game under live fire and thriving has to cause a slight sigh of relief.
One of the most important steps a young quarterback to take is to develop a rapport with a No. 1 receiver. Wilson has found that with Corey Davis, who caught four passes for 70 yards. The lack of a true top receiver has been a huge issue for New York for years, and albeit early, it looks like they’ve now found one.
If this hookup between Wilson and Davis continues into the season we could see a really successful rookie campaign.
No. 4: Jacoby Brissett, QB, Miami Dolphins
8-of-8, 99 yards, 1 TD
I’m a sucker for perfection, and this wasn’t some dink-and-dunk stuff either. When you average 12.4 yards-per-attempt you’re having an elite game — and finding perfection while doing that is just special.
Brissett is on the road to becoming the next Ryan Fitzpatrick, I’m convinced of it. He’s going to be better than a handful of starters every single year, but they’ll gets shots because of getting drafted. So he’ll always be a threat, come out and have a handful of amazing games, then sign with the next team in need of a veteran to help out.
It’s the smartest job in the NFL, and Brissett is going to take over.
No. 5: J.J. Taylor, RB, New England Patriots
12 carries, 93 yards, 1 TD — 3 receptions, 18 yards
While everyone is focused on the QB battle between Cam Newton and Mac Jones, the most interesting Patriots’ offensive contest is happening with the running backs. New England has always had this stable approach to the position without lacking a true elite back, and this year they have a whole logjam of equally-skilled guys trying to make a mark.
Last week it was Rhamondre Stevenson who went off for over 100 yards on 12.7 yard per carry, and this week Taylor had himself a game too. The interesting part of this is not only are the Patriots running the ball well, but their offensive line has been really, really good so far. So, while we might not know who comes out of top of this camp battle, either way the Pariots look a lot better offensively than they did a year ago at this time.
New England is averaging 193 rushing yards a game this preseason, and only allowed one sack. Watch this space for sure.