Five overreactions from Thursday’s NFL preseason games

By Sid Saraf,

It’s the first full week of football (that still doesn’t count) and the prevailing theory is to take everything you see with a grain of salt. And while there isn’t much fun in that, it’s really the smart thing to do. So, let’s take five things that might get blown out of proportion from Thursday and bring them back down to Earth.

1. The Broncos are gonna run the Pistol formation all the time this season!

Check it out! Did you see it?


Peyton Manning and head coach John Fox are such generous guys! Look at them doing the rest of the NFL a favor and giving them a sneak preview of what they’re gonna run this season! I can’t WAIT until Week 1 when the Broncos unleash this at home against the Ravens!

Please, people. Peyton Manning has been playing this game for too many years. He has mastered the art of head games. You’ve seen him at the line scrimmage doing his various gyrations. While it may look like he’s making all kinds of changes, most of the time he’s just messing with a defense’s head.

Now he’s messing with you … and every head coach in the NFL. He probably just caused every defensive coordinator with Denver on his schedule to work a 120-hour week (instead of the usual 100) to prep for this formation before the game.

Who knows, maybe this will become a regular part of the Broncos offense (likely). Or maybe we’ll never see it again (just as likely). The point is, Manning and Fox are too smart to show the NFL too much at this point. Don’t read much into this.

2. The Ravens offense isn’t going to miss a beat!

After all, Baltimore put up 44 points against Tampa Bay, the most it has scored in a road game in franchise history!

Just hold on, OK? Take a look at the starters’ performance. Joe Flacco threw an interception on 7-of-9 passing in limited action. What’s more, Pro Football Talk pointed out that the Ravens’ starting receivers, Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, had just two catches between them.

The team is going to have to find guys who can catch the ball consistently, now that tight end Dennis Pitta is out for the season with an injury and Anquan Boldin left in free agency. Something tells me the Ravens won’t be able to rely on Matt Furstenberg and Tommy Streeter (three catches combined on Thursday night) once games start counting.

3. Chris Johnson is gonna have a HUUUUUUGE season for my fantasy team!

Yeah! Look at him rip off that 58-yard touchdown run! What a beast!!

OK, did you watch it? Watch it again, just for me. Notice anything? Check out the size of that hole. Sure, CJ2K made a nice cutback, but good lord, there was a TON of running room there. I think you or I could have gained at least 30 yards on that play. Now, I’m not being a hater because I’ve used high draft picks on Johnson only to have my dreams crushed (it still stings) in years past, but I need to see more.

No preseason game is going to do that for me, nor should it for you. Be smart on your draft day and don’t reach high for him just yet.

4. The Redskins should trade Kirk Cousins while he’s still hot!

The second-year signal-caller did an admirable job as the starter in Robert Griffin III’s absence on Thursday, leading Washington down the field and firing a touchdown pass to Fred Davis in the first quarter against the Titans. People on Twitter were buzzing:




Not so fast, guys. The smart move is for the Redskins to keep Cousins right where he is. Why? Because RG3 hasn’t proven that he can stay healthy. And until he does, Cousins could be in line for playing time if Griffin misses games here and there. He seems to be calm in the pocket and has confidence, which is something any NFL team would want.

I’m not saying that Cousins doesn’t have the talent to be a starter in this league, but right now he’s far too valuable for Washington to deal away.

And that TD celebration was just awful, Kirk. Clean it up, please. Children watch these games.

5. Norv Turner has worked his magic yet again!

The Browns brought in famed QB guru Norv Turner — fresh off his firing in San Diego — as their new offensive coordinator. And look at what happened to the giant question mark known as Brandon Weeden! He completed 10 of 13 throws with a TD toss as he led Cleveland on two scoring drives! Big things are coming!

Just stop.

Last time I checked Weeden and the Browns play in the AFC North. They have to face the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals two times each. Forgive me if I’m not doing jumping jacks. Let’s see how he does in Week 3, when Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins is bearing down on him. Or during a brutal November stretch when he has to play the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers in consecutive weeks.

If he can get through that and still have his head attached, I’ll be impressed.

Questions? Comments? Send them to and we might respond in our weekly mailbag!