Jobs Won and Lost After NFL Preseason Week 2

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We begin our look around the NFL with the curious case of the Indianapolis Colts, who named rookie Anthony Richardson their starting quarterback, then sat him for Week 2 of the preseason.

The main knock against him is experience, so one would think that every rep he can get at game speed would be valuable. The Colts thought otherwise, and instead started Gardner Minshew. He was good in the starting role, as was third-stringer Sam Ehlinger, who led a fourth quarter comeback. But the job is Richardson’s, small sample size and all.

And when Richardson does take the field in Week 1 against the Jaguars, he may or may not have running back Jonathan Taylor in the backfield. Indianapolis has given him permission to seek a trade in this, the final year of his rookie contract.

Reports are that the Colts are hoping to get something in the ballpark of what the 49ers paid for Christian McCaffrey last year, which included a second-round pick, a third-round pick, and a fourth-round pick.

At that price, the Colts are unlikely to have very many potential trade partners.

Commanders Quarterback Job Given to Sam Howell

Second-year quarterback Sam Howell was named the regular season starter in Washington before the Commanders game with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, and then he went out and looked like a player worthy of the promotion. 

Howell was 19-of-25 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Commanders to points on three of his four first-half possessions. And even better for the Commanders, they won the game on a 49-yard field goal with 3:48 left on the clock. Washington got the win, and the Ravens — for the first time since 2015 — lost in the preseason. Their NFL-record 24-game winning streak is over.

BetUS.com has the over/under on regular season wins for the Ravens at 10. For the Commanders the line is 6.5.

Josh Jacobs Will Play in Week 1

Josh Jacobs won the rushing title with the Las Vegas Raiders last year, but he didn’t get the contract extension this off-season that he wanted, and he has been missing camp in a holdout. But that holdout will end before the Raiders kick off the season in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.

Jacobs has been missing from the Raiders facility since he was slapped with the franchise tag back in March, so just how much he will be able to play early in the season remains to be seen. In his absence, second-year back Zamir White has received the majority of the first team carries.

Head coach Josh McDaniels said of the Jacobs holdout, “I would say that I think it’s important for every player [to get practice]. It’s the National Football League, so it’s not easy to go out there and just play games and do it at the speed and level that you want to do it at.”

In two preseason games as the Raiders starting running back, White has 23 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown.

The over/under on regular season wins for the Raiders is 6.5.

Steelers Running Back Battle

Najee Harris is the incumbent running back in Pittsburgh, and as far as the current depth charts say, he’s still the Steelers’ starter. But the offense has looked great through two preseason games, and it’s in no small part thanks to the play of Jaylen Warren.

Warren broke a 62-yard touchdown run in a Week 2 win over the Bills, giving him the highlight of the preseason in Pittsburgh. For Harris, he has just six yards on three carries, and wasn’t terribly excited to compliment his teammate. Instead, when asked about the touchdown run by Warren, Harris complimented the downfield blocking by the wide receivers.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada tried to shut down any talk of a controversy, telling reporters, “Najee Harris is unequivocally going to be the Steelers RB1 heading into the season.”

Harris has averaged just 3.9 yards in his two NFL seasons, while in his rookie year last season, Warren averaged 4.9 yards on 77 carries. Warren was also a more efficient pass catcher in 2022.

BetUS.com has the over/under on Harris’s regular season rushing yards at 950.5. In each of his previous two seasons, Harris has more than 1,000 yards.

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