Teams worth watching in first full week of NFL preseason

August 10, 2017

Real football is around the corner, but for now it is time for the preseason.

This week we will get to see some of our favorite players and teams play a little of the game we love.

We will take a look at some of the reserves as they try to maintain and fill a final roster spot. There are a few teams I will be most interested in.

One team I am looking forward to seeing is the Carolina Panthers. They played the Houston Texans Aug. 9.

With the speculation about Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton and his off-season surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on his right shoulder, it will be interesting to see what the team looks like.

Though he may not be playing in the first game, we can definitely expect to see him by at least game three of the preseason. There have been reports that he is not throwing right now.

I am not too alarmed by that news just yet, but if he does not start back throwing the ball soon, it will be cause for concern. Until Newton is available, I will settle for taking a close look at their first round draft pick, running back Christian McCaffrey from Stanford, to see just how well he fits in with this team and how much of a threat he can be in the future.

Another team I will be watching this week is the loser of Super Bowl 50, the Atlanta Falcons. With news coming out about the suspension of third-year cornerback Jalen Collins, will the “Brotherhood” allow this to be a distraction or will they continue with the next man up mentality?

Fortunately their first preseason game is against the Miami Dolphins, who are making their way through the media for other reasons. Miami’s starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill injured his knee last week on a non-contact play so the team signed retired quarterback Jay Cutler.

The Falcons have so much depth on their defense now that they can afford to cut Collins and allow another player to step into that role. Now that his spot is open for at least 10 weeks, it will be interesting to see who the Falcons use to fill that void.

I will be looking closely at this defense and the comradery of the Falcons’ Brotherhood in the midst of this controversy. Though we may not see their star players until later in the preseason, they have quite a few exciting players to watch.

Their star cornerback Desmond Trufant is back after he injured his shoulder last season. The battle for their starting right guard position between Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer will be one to watch. We know what their offense is about and this division is full of star quarterbacks, probably the toughest quarterback division in the league.

The last team I am looking forward to watching is the Oakland Raiders. This is an interesting team. The hometown guy, Marshawn Lynch, is back and quarterback Derek Carr is also back after his late-season leg injury last season.

Like many other teams, the Raiders have difficulties of their own which makes the team interesting to me. With their Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn continuing to holdout, it’s had a surprising effect on the Raiders depth chart.

With the holdout, the Raiders have moved Marshall Newhouse, who signed as a free agent this offseason, to left tackle and moved second-year player Vadal Alexander to right tackle. Those moves have also forced them to use rookies from the seventh round, Jylan Ware, and the fourth round, David Sharpe, on the second team at left tackle and right tackle.

The Raiders have a lot to get together, but I will enjoy watching them do it. With the holdout and injuries, they still have enough pieces in place to make me want to watch.

Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at

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