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NFL Weekend: Sorting Through Week 1 Preseason Dross...

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The first preseason game of the year for every NFL team is packed with overbuilt portent. You know it. I know it, and yet we all still tune in hoping to see things to build our hopes for the regular season to come. But let's face it: the first preseason game is just the first of four dress rehearsals before the big show hits the stage...

Across the entire NFL, teams are shaking off the off season cobwebs. The good news so far is this may be the lightest "training camp" injury year I've seen in quite a while. No marque players have had season ending injuries, with the possible exception of 2015 5th overall pick Dante Fowler, Jr., way back on May 8th. I mean, even Dallas' Sean Lee made it through the training camp grind, which isn't anything to sneeze at, eh?

The most over-blown headline of training camp had to be Marcus Mariota not throwing an interception, which he corrected quickly in his first start against Atlanta in the first quarter. Well, now that he has his faux-perfection monkey off his back - and added a fumble, while experiencing what an NFL pass rush is like first hand - I think he could wind up being special. You have to like his game time demeanor most of all; very Aaron Rodgers-esk...

Forgive me for saying Robert Griffin III looked like he was playing with desperation, but it seems undeniable. Cleveland's defense went after him, and hit him every chance they had, which - it being preseason and all - didn't look all that kosher to me. Yet, before anyone heaps an over-aggressive bill on the Browns players trying to make an NFL team, make sure to look at the highlights of the game. RGIII looked like a rookie trying to learn how to stay in the pocket?

Defenses around the league are going to be tough. If the preseason so far is any indication, by year's end we could see some new team names in the top 10 defensive ranks. It's bad news for offensive linemen across the NFL though, and as Yin must have its Yang, OL-s are struggling. St. Louis may be the standard-bearer in this regard, as they head into the regular season with rookies galore up front. The lone veteran lineman for the Rams - Rodger Saffold -came away from their game in Oakland banged up, which for Rams fans isn't all too shocking. It's quite possible Saffold may very well lead EVERY NFL player in a single category: injury time outs...

The rookie running backs out there are downright scary. Led so far by Detroit's Ameer Abdullah, who looked very Barry Sanders-esk. No, REALLY!  Have a look at this move... San Diego's Melvin Gordon had a learning curve day. He showed he can go north-south, and run tough between the tackles. We haven't seen St. Louis' Todd Gurley yet, and it looks like we won't until the regular season starts. But if this rookie running back class' performance so far is any indication, it could be a VERY special year to remember for ball carriers...

I often wonder what the week after the first preseason game is like for players, especially those who are experiencing their rookie year? They've had their initial baptism into the speed and ferocity in the way the game of football is played at the NFL level. Coaches are dissecting how they played, and parsing things they never knew they did while playing in college. It very well could be the singular time in a rookie player's life where he finds out if he can play in the NFL, or if he's in over his head...

Have a great weekend!