Jordan Love looks as good in the Season 1 prequel thriller as the Packers starter
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Jordan Love looks as good in the Season 1 prequel thriller as the Packers starter

It’s not like we haven’t seen Jordan Love play a lot in the preseason before. However, this preset is much different.

There’s a lot of pressure for Love to perform as the 2020 first-round pick takes over the Green Bay Packers’ starting job from Aaron Rodgers. The Packers don’t usually play rookies in the preseason, but they will this year, mostly to get Love as comfortable as possible before the season opener.

The first look at favorite Love as the Packers’ Starter wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn good.

Love led a short touchdown drive against the Cincinnati Bengals, culminated in a nice play pass to Romeo Doubs in the end zone. Love played two strings and sat down. He finished 7 of 10 for 46 yards and that touchdown to Dobbs.

Most of Love’s attempts were short, quick throws, but he did manage to get the ball to his playmakers. His only deep shot was to Christian Watson, and it may have been a late mark as Bengals safety Dax Hill was able to drift and break it up.

Love also badly missed rookie tight end Luke Musgrave on a third down pass on Green Bay’s first possession, which couldn’t happen in the regular season. It will be a teaching moment.

The rest of the love outing was positive. He seemed in control, making quick decisions on his short passes. The Packers used a lot of theatrical moves, and Love seemed comfortable on those plays. His touchdown of Doubs was a great touch, lifting the pass to Doubs against men’s coverage. You’d love to see more yards per attempt than Love, but overall it’s been a good pre-season performance.

Reports about Love in training camp and combined practice against the Bengals were mostly positive. He’s mostly unknown as he takes over the Packers’ quarterback job from a legend. If he plays like he did in his short stroll in Cincinnati, the Packers transmission might not be so bad.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love threw a touchdown against the Bengals in a preseason game Friday.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love threw a touchdown against the Bengals in a preseason game Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Steelers had to be thrilled with the way the first-team offense looked to start their preseason opener.

On the offense’s first drive, sophomore quarterback Kenny Pickett was sharp. He was 6 of 7 for 70 yards and a touchdown. He looked good rolling left and hitting Deontay Johnson for the first time. He made a nice throw to George Pickens, who broke through the defense and ran the rest of the way on a 33-yard touchdown. Such was the case for Beckett on Friday.

It’s a busy year for Beckett, who has mostly struggled as a rookie but also had some very good moments. The Steelers want to see him look more comfortable and be more consistent this season. Having Pickens, a highlight reel receiver, and other higher targets should help. The first glimpse of Pickett in the pre-season was promising. If this is a sign of things to come, Beckett may be in for a very nice growing season.

Mayfield is battling for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting job, and although his first preseason game didn’t go great, it ended very well.

Mayfield was content to keep everything short and safe early on, sometimes due to pressure from the Pittsburgh Steelers. It worked on a touchdown attempt that ended with a terrific pass from Mayfield to Trey Palmer in the back of the end zone. Palmer got to his feet brilliantly scoring, a nice statement for Mayfield in his rivalry with Kyle Trask.

Mayfield looked a little more confident after the touchdown pass, perhaps more confidently after throwing a TD. A 19-yard gain was returned to Palmer due to offensive pass interference. Then Mayfield hit a Kylon Geiger for a 20-yard touchdown. The night ended with Mayfield completing 8 of 9 passes for 63 yards. Mayfield may not have won the quarterback competition with his performance on Friday, but it was a good first step for him.

other games

Washington Leaders Cleveland Browns: The start of the match was delayed over an hour due to bad weather. Both teams planned to use starters to start the game.

New York Giants at Detroit Lions: Jahmyr Gibbs appeared in Round 1 and made his pre-season debut for the Lions. Gibbs played in the first quarter and had 19 yards on six carries, and also made a good catch on an 18-yard gain. Overall, it was a solid preseason appearance for pick 12 of the draft.

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins: Perhaps the most interesting player in Friday’s game was Dolphins freshman running back Devon Ashan, who received a lot of camp buzz. He didn’t do anything to move up in the depth chart on Friday, with 20 yards on eight carries in the first half and a carry-losing yard on third and two near the goal line. He made a catch of 11 yards. The Dolphins haven’t invested much at running back and Achane could emerge in a big role, and he has two more preseason games to make an impression.

Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals: The Broncos were expected to use their starts, which is the opposite of what Nathaniel Hackett did prior to last season. The Cardinals planned to use some starters, and new head coach Jonathan Gannon was hoping for a win, saying “Every time you connect the white lines, you want to win the game, so that’s always the No. 1 goal,” Gannon said, via Cards Wire.

Final thoughts

• The Dolphins didn’t play anyone special in Friday’s season opener.

It was thought that perhaps the Dolphins would get some starters some time in their first preseason game, especially on defense due to the scheme change with new coordinator Vic Fangio, but Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel sat his players out as he did in the season opener last year.

• The Bengals need some running back depth after Joe Mixon, and Chris Evans did explosive action against the Packers. Evans kicked 33 yards in the second quarter. Evans is in his third season and has been used mostly as a pass pro, but if he can establish himself as a capable runner, he could have a great role behind Mixon.

• The Packers haven’t invested much in the backup quarterback position since Jordan Love. Fifth-round rookie Shaun Clifford is the presumptive leader for the No. 2 job. Clifford was an up-and-down first half in relief of love, leading a touchdown drive but then throwing a dreadful six-heel to safety Taisen Anderson in the second quarter. Clifford threw another interception, again to Anderson, on a pass thrown slightly behind his receiver over the middle. The players could run into some trouble if Love misses time, though, as Clifford rebounded from his second interception for a touchdown just before halftime.

• A couple of Lions rookie defenders looked in good shape. Lenny Packer Jack Campbell, first round pick, made four tackles and a pass defended in the first half. And second-round safety Brian Branch hit a bunt on a short pass.

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