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It’s not only the players who need preseason reps, and in week 2 I am already fighting to catch up thanks to a very busy week at work. Still, I have managed to get all of week 1 watched and caught up with episode two of Hard Knocks as well as the Bengals second game.

The Rams got off to a rocky start in LA, given that on the opening kick-off they gave up a one hundred and one yard touchdown return, which the fans must have been hoping was not a predictor or things to come. In fact, the Rams had a slow first half with them going into half time 24-7 down.

The thing that would be worrying me if I was a Rams fan, was that the defence was not looking that solid despite arguably being the stronger half of the team, with the young Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott looking very good, and you would imagine some Cowboys fans will be already feeling a little better about their backup quarterback situation going into the season after the disasters of last year.

It was also a frustrating evening for Jared Goff who started off looking like a rookie, threw a couple of incomplete passes and got sacked to give him the sore shoulder which cost him some snaps. It is too early to take anything significant from his performance, but as a first round pick the attention is going to be focussed on him all through the preseason, and will continue if the Rams don’t win or if Case Keenum starts to struggle.

If the defence didn’t set the world alight, neither did the offence, and whilst there was some flash from Tavon Austin, and Goff finally threw a couple of pass to Tyler Higbee to demonstrate that a tight end is often a young quarterback’s best option, they will need to improve.

However, in the second half the Rams did manage to drag themselves back into the game and ultimately won it, and whilst preseasons records don’t matter, for a team trying to get back to a winning record this season, this could be an important habit to get into. If there is an area of strength for the Rams on offence it looks to be running backs, with several players looking good in Gurley’s absence and late on receiver Nelson Spruce made a number of catches to push his case to make the team.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the next game and how things progress with this team and watching the games alongside Hard Knocks.

After asking for suggestions, and taking into account the story lines following their Super Bowl win, Dan and I settled on the Denver Broncos as the third team for this year’s preseason, and in their opening game they got off to a good start with a shutout win over the Chicago Bears.

The strength of the Broncos team was defence last year, and they looked good again despite a number of players moving away, as they gave the Bears protection issues all game, racking up a number of sacks to go along with their shut out.

However, the big question for the Broncos after Peyton Manning’s retirement and Brock Ossweiler’s move to the Houston Texans is who is going to play quarterback for them this season. They opened the game with Mark Sanchez, who looked good initially but just as I was beginning to think they might be okay Sanchez threw into coverage and was intercepted. This pretty much seems to sum up Sanchez’s career. Next up they had Trevor Sjemian who looked okay as he ran the team and definitely demonstrated some promise. However, even Paxton Lynch was able to demonstrate some solid play for a rookie, and my big worry for this team would be that if they have a pair of quarterbacks fighting it out for a starting spot for too long, then they might not end up with a true starter going into the season.

Still, with a blocked punt giving them a touchdown, and a safety, the Broncos found multiple ways to score and whilst you can never truly to tell from preseason, it looks like the Broncos are set to make a strong defence of their title.

Finally, I can move into the second week of the preseason, with the Bengals running out to a solid win in Detroit against the Lions.

The offence seemed to move the ball well for the Bengals, although another tackle has picked up an injury which is not a great sign. However, the Bengals depth seems to be holding for the moment and neither Cedric Ogbuehi nor Jake Fisher’s injuries are long term. The more positive news is despite the losses of Jones and Sanu in the offseason, plus free-agent signing Brandon LaFell fighting a hand injury and not catching a ball yet, the Bengals’ receivers are still showing up well. I am particularly impressed with rookie Tyler Boyd who caught another touchdown this week and seems to have settled into the top of the rotation with surprising ease whilst Brandon Tate caught passes with the first team again.

The defence gave up yards to the Lions, but were able to restrict them to field goals until the fourth quarter. The early signs to me is that Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are going to be good pairing for Matthew Stafford, and the offence looked to protect him pretty well against  the Bengal’s pass rush. However, the Bengals defence got enough pressure to win the game and it does seem that they will be competitive again this year.

Things are beginning to heat up as cuts loom on the horizon, and I’m hoping for a smoother week so I can really dig in as we get closer and closer to the regular season, but with people playing for jobs, there’s plenty of competitive football for us to watch already.

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