Now that the second week of the NFL Preseason has concluded, it's time to scan over everyone's performances and try to read as much out of them as we can. While it is only preseason, no team wants to see their players struggle, since that often times transitions into the regular season. Some Yellow Jackets have shaken off their rust and played quite well through the first two weeks, while others are still trying to adjust. Here's some meaningless awards for Week 2 of the preseason, so enjoy them, but remember, it is only preseason.
This was a tough decision because a few players really played well, but at the end of the day, I have to go with a premium position player. Towards the end of the 2012 season, something clicked with Derrick Morgan and he started playing like a first round DE. He's continued that trend through the first two games of the preseason and the Titans are hoping this version is here to stay. Against the Bengals on Saturday, Morgan recorded 2 tackles, 1 sack, a TFL and a QB hit. He was all over the field and consistently got to the passer. Will he be able to keep up this pace? Who knows. But as of right now, he's playing some of the best football he's ever played and he sure deserves the credit.
During the Steelers' Monday Night Football game against the Redskins, LeVeon Bell suffered a Lisfranc injury. By most accounts, he was the leading candidate for the Steelers' starting RB position. Now that he will be sidelined for at least the next two months, the path is clear for Jonathan Dwyer to step up and finally own the starting position. Dwyer had some impressive performances in spot duty last year, but he still needed to take the starting job and quiet any of his doubters. He sure did that against the Redskins. Against their intimidating defense, Dwyer ran for 68 yards on 14 carries, caught 2 passes for 12 yards and recorded 2 tackles. He performed well when it mattered and hopefully this game was a sign of things to come for Dwyer and the Steelers. Dwyer did have a lost fumble, however, which is the main reason why he didn't win best performance.
With the state of the New York Jets offense, someone is going to need to step up. Many people, including myself, expect Stephen Hill to be that guy. He started the game against the Jaguars off great with an impressive catch in traffic for 11 yards. After that though? Absolutely nothing. He had one other target the rest of the game and he dropped it on an out pattern. There are many factors in why a player gets a certain number of targets, so I don't want to be too critical of him, but the Jaguars have a secondary loaded with young players (many of whom are rookies), and he should have been able to exploit them. Hill's performance will be under a microscope in Week 3 as Jets fans are getting increasingly nervous about their team's passing attack.
Daryl Smith finished out his contract in Jacksonville by missing 14 games with a groin injury. Had he been healthy last season, he would have signed a multi year deal worth 8 figures this past offseason. Now he has a lot to prove with the Ravens, and he seems to be making the best of his opportunity. In Week 2, Smith had 6 tackles and a pass deflection while showing up all over the field. He looked like the Daryl Smith of old, which should make Ravens fans pretty happy. He landed in a fantastic position with the Ravens, and getting to play with names like Ngata, Suggs, and Dumervil every week should only help him as the season goes along.
Since Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos, Demaryius Thomas has been a different player. It seemed like Thomas posted a 100 yard receiving game every week last season, and he has kept that up so far to date. In his minimal playing time, he caught 3 balls for 52 yards. I don't see Thomas' targets changing much with the addition of Wes Welker, so he should have a very nice season as he continues to develop. This may be the year where Megatron and Thomas are one and two in receiving yards.
While punters are consistently made fun of, no position is less influential on a football game more than the long snapper. Therefore, long snappers are relied on to be a crucial part of special teams if they want to make the roster. Andrew Economos, who plays for the Buccaneers, made his mark when he got the chance. He does a great job with his usual snapping duties, but he proved his versatility in Week 2. Against New England, Economos recorded 2 special teams tackles and his effort was very apparent. Everybody loves those teammates who give everything they have for the team, and that's why Economos gets the Best Teammate award.
If you watched the NFL Draft in April, you know how poor this year's Georgia Tech rookie class is. The NFL didn't see much in our graduating seniors and now they're left fighting to make NFL rosters. TJ Barnes has shown some promise in Jacksonville and looks destined for their practice squad. The same goes for Rod Sweeting in New Orleans. Izaan Cross may share the same fate, but he made the most of his opportunity in Week 2, and he gets the Top Rookie award this week. Although it was against third stringers, Cross came in for Buffalo and got some good pressure up the middle. He recorded one pass deflection and he showed good technique by keeping his eyes up. Tech's NFL rookies only have one more opportunity in Week 4 to make their presence known, so we'll be checking back in on them in two weeks.
Tashard Choice turned 12 carries against the Vikings into 54 yards rushing. While his minutes were against backups, it's a good sign that he's making the most out of his playing time.
Anthony Allen and Morgan Burnett both saw playing time but had minimal effects on their games. Burnett, however, should start to show up when the seasons rolls around.
After signing a large contract with the Dolphins over the offseason, Phillip Wheeler failed to have an impact on their game against the Texans. He's surrounded by a pretty imposing defense, so this shouldn't be too worrisome, but it does make you scratch your head.
Dawan Landry had the most impressive performance out of anyone who didn't receive an award. He posted 8 tackles for the Jets against his former team, and was all over the field.
Calvin Johnson (like how I saved this for last?) will most likely take the rest of the preseason off to avoid further irritating his knee. He should play in the season opener, which is good news for the Lions.