The 4th preseason game is the hardest of any game to draw any information out of it, from a team standpoint. It’s by far the most meaningless game in terms of a win or loss. So few starter caliber players play that it’s difficult to even evaluate position groups as obviously some groups play, impact others.
We’ll assign grades to the groups but in this week’s report card we’ll focus more on the position battles. Some of these battles may have been won or lost already. But every year there’s at least 1 guy I would guess that wins or loses a job on the 53 man roster in the 4th preseason game. If nothing else, players can cement their spot with a great game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick of course did not play. Case Keenum started and played the first quarter along with some series late in the 2nd quarter. Part of the 2nd quarter also belonged to Tom Savage. Throughout the preseason Keenum has been up and down. Savage had played well although in limited opportunities.
Against the 49ers neither was good. Keenum 8-for-17 for 70 yards and an interception. Savage was 8-for-12 but struggled to move the ball and also threw an interception. For Savage it’s a learning experience and to some extent expected at some point for Keenum it was more disappointing and did nothing to instill any confidence in the team’s backup QBs. Although both still make this team at this point.
Running Backs: D+
As a group the running game was not good. Jonathan Grimes was the one bright spot with 33 yards on 8 carries. For Alfred Blue, who will be the other backup RB, there were no holes to run through and he ended with -3 yards, although almost none of the offensive line starters played. Blue did catch 2 balls for 26 yards.
Ronnie Brown did nothing to make a case for being kept. It will be interesting to see if he has done enough and has enough versatility to intrigue the team enough.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D+
Along with the poor QB play, the receivers were uninspiring as well. DeVier Posey (4 for 24 yards) and Keshawn Martin (3 for 24 yards) were the only ones that showed much early in the game. Players on the bubble Travis Labhart and EZ Nwachukwu did not succeed in improving their chances, so their fate comes down to the numbers kept in the wide receiver group and what they’ve done to this point.
The tight ends also did not flash in this game. Top 3 are still set as Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin. Among the bubble players Anthony Denham who got the bubble with an outstanding special teams might have offset that when he let Kassim Osgood come untouched for a blocked punt that netted a safety.
Offensive Line: C-
Again few starters played at all. The O-line did very little in the run game, although they did only give up 1 sack. Bubble player Alex Kupper’s play has improved and may be in position to claim the 8th Offensive line spot. It remains to be seen if anyone else has done enough to make the 53-man roster, or more likely the practice squad.
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