August is a weird time for sports fans. For 7 months now, we have been without the game that we all love. Try as hard as you want, it was nearly impossible to find football on TV. (No, the CFL doesn’t count)
But starting later tonight, football will be nearly impossible to escape. The NFL preseason starts tonight (no, the Hall of Fame Game doesn’t count) in Carolina when the Panthers host the Texans. There’s an even bigger slate of seven games on Thursday night. And, it’s at this moment the NFL Network truly shines. From Thursday on, the network’s schedule will be mostly wall-to-wall coverage of new, but not necessarily live, football. The NFL brags that they are the only network where you can watch all 65 preseason games.
So, with that much football on TV, it’s only natural that you fall into a late night binge of football. It happens to the best of us. So the question arises, while you’re watching those random games, who should you root for? This guide is here to help. Below you’ll find a quick guide of some familiar names on NFL rosters that used to wear the crimson and grey on Saturdays that are now looking to make their team’s regular season roster.
Deone Bucannon - Arizona Cardinals - Linebacker/Safety
The hard-hitting safety had a rough end to his 2016 campaign. He suffered an ankle injury and, in May, underwent surgery. At the time, there was talk that Bucannon may miss the start of the 2017 season, but with training camp underway, the Cards are expecting him to be ready for week one... But not the preseason.
Xavier Cooper - Cleveland Browns - Defensive Line
The 2015 draft pick played in 13 games for the Browns last year, recording 20 total tackles in his sophomore season. This year, Cooper’s spot on the team may be in danger. On the first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, 2nd year undrafted free agent Trevon Coley jumped over Cooper for the 2nd spot at tackle. Cooper will need a good performance this summer to solidify his spot in Cleveland.
Joe Dahl - Detroit Lions - Offensive Line
Dahl had a great rookie year with the Lions in 2016 and his stock seems to only be getting higher in 2017. Last season he saw limited time at guard, but in camp this year, he’s been taking starting reps at both guard and tackle due to injuries to the teams starters. Expect Dahl to see plenty of the field in the preseason as he looks to win a spot in the starting rotation.
John Fullington - New Orleans Saints - Offensive Line
Since graduating in 2014, Fullington has spent time on the practice squad with four different NFL teams. Now, he’s in New Orleans hoping to fight his way onto the main roster this fall. He was also in camp with the Saints last year, narrowly missing the final cut. And so far in camp, Fullington has been impressing with his play at left guard.
Shalom Luani - Oakland Raiders - Safety
The Raiders picked up the 2017 grad in the 7th round of the NFL Draft. Thanks to a rash of injuries, Luani was one of just four Raiders draft picks on the field Tuesday. The injuries will likely give the under-the-radar talent a chance to shine in preseason action, especially on the special teams side.
Gabe Marks and Marquess Wilson - New York Jets - Receivers
Wilson missed most of last season with the Bears after breaking his foot. He signed with the Jets this offseason. Meanwhile, undrafted free agent Gabe Marks has been impressing coaches and media alike since the start of camp. Just last week, Steve Smith pointed out Marks as a player to watch in camp.
And, earlier this week, the role of both players may have gotten even bigger. On Monday, the Jets announced that their top receiver Quincy Enunwa, will miss the season with a neck injury. But they have their work cut out for them. The team has 13 receivers on roster right now and their top choices at quarterback include Christian Hackenberg and Josh McCown.
Vince Mayle - Baltimore Ravens - Tight End
Drafted by the Browns in the 4th round in 2015, Mayle has bounced around to his fair share of teams. Cleveland cut the receiver at the end of training camp his rookie year before he found a home on the Cowboys where he was shuttled between the active roster and practice squad for two seasons. Last December he found a new home with the Ravens and, this year, Baltimore is going to try something different by shifting the 3rd year player to tight end. (Note: the team’s official roster still lists him as a receiver, but a couple of media reports from practice refer to Mayle as a tight end.)
Kache Palacio - Seattle Seahawks - Linebacker
Palacio spent training camp with the Hawks in 2016 and played well enough in preseason action to earn a spot on the team’s practice squad for most of the season. The Seahawks have brought the linebacker back from another shot at breaking camp with Seattle and seems to be on the bubble one more time for a spot on the depth chart in a hotly contested linebacker spot for Seattle.
Destiny Vaeao - Philadelphia Eagles - Defensive Line
Vaeao came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and saw some time on the field his rookie year, playing in all 16 games for Philly, recording 15 tackles and 2 sacks. So far this training camp for Vaeao, the prospects are looking good. The Eagles are dealing with injury issues on the defensive line and the 2nd year player has been working with the starters during the first few practices. He’ll have a lot to play for when he takes the field this preseason.
For a full list of NFL preseason schedules, check out the NFL website here.
Yes, That’s Cody O’Connell being interviewed during an ice bath. Why? Who cares.
WSU fall camp notes: Cougars’ O-line shuffle continues; Tavares Martin shows off his jets | The Seattle Times
On a brighter note, the first team offensive line has pretty much pulled away from the pack and has "done some good things," Mike Leach says.
Washington State football sees different Isaiah Johnson-Mack this season | The Spokesman-Review
Coaches and teammates all agree: The Isaiah Johnson-Mack that left Pullman in June isn’t the same Isaiah Johnson-Mack that returned to campus in August.
How WSU discovered Kyle Sweet’s secret punting skills and Jamire Calvin’s elusive return ability | The Seattle Times
Kyle Sweet never really set out to be a punter, he always just sort of fallen into that role. Meanwhile, on punt return, the Cougars are hoping to get some production out of a couple of freshmen.
Cougars may call on Belle Glade Bookends at wide receiver | The News Tribune
Tavares Martin, Isaiah Johnson-Mack, who both hail from the same corner of Florida, might both end up starting for the Washington State Cougars at wide receiver.