As the final week of NFL preseason wraps up, we check in on the most intriguing position battles around the league.
As we get closer to the start of the NFL regular season, teams are still making decisions about starters and rosters. Which rookies could be leading their offenses Week 1? Which veterans could be headed for the bench?
Let’s go around the league and take a gander at some interesting position battles:
Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer
Brian Hoyer has been named the official starter for the Cleveland Browns when they head to Heinz Field to take on Pittsburgh in Week 1, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk a little Johnny Football. Hoyer got the start against the Chicago Bears in the Browns’ final preseason game (and went 6 for 8 for 69 yards), but the Browns rookie QB came in during the first quarter and went 6 for 17 passing with 83 yards while rushing for 55 yards as well. He showed off some moves, escaping pressure to fire a dart to Nate Burleson.
Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr got the start over Matt Schaub in the preseason finale against Seattle, and he made it count. Carr went 11-for-13 for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns, two of which went to receiver Denarius Moore.
Jaguars rookie Blake Bortles got his first start against the Atlanta Falcons and went 4 for 8 for 86 yards and a bomb of a touchdown to USC alum and fellow rookie Marqise Lee. Bortles has been one of the best rookie quarterbacks throughout the preseason, showing good decision making in games against Tampa Bay, Chicago and Detroit.
However, first-year Jags head coach Gus Bradley has said all summer that Chad Henne would be the starting quarterback when the Jaguars start the season on the road against Philadelphia.
Michael Sam vs. Rams defensive line
Michael Sam led the Rams in tackles with six in St. Louis’ final preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, but he’s not assured a spot on the roster. Though coach Jeff Fisher voiced his support for Sam, defensive end and UDFA Ethan Westbrooks has looked solid in preseason games and in practice (check out this Turf Show Times post on why Westbrooks may have been overlooked) and could take a spot away from Sam on the final roster. However, Sam would likely have a good chance at making the Rams’ practice squad.
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