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NFL preseason Week 2: Top 7 takeaways

Vincent Frank

Week 2 of the NFL preseason saw reserves take center stage as teams rested their starters in preparation for the regular season.

This doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot to look at. The Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback competition took another turn with Drew Lock sidelined and Geno Smith struggling.

Over in the AFC, Davis Mills and the Houston Texans’ first-team offense looked good against the defending champion Los Angeles Rams. Meanwhile, a studly rookie stood out on special teams for the Dallas Cowboys.

These are among the top takeaways from Week 2 of the NFL preseason.

Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL preseason power rankings

Seattle Seahawks QB situation now completely up in the air

nfl preseason; seattle seahawks qb situation
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Lock was slated to start Thursday evening against the Chicago Bears before testing positive for COVID-19. Acquired in the Russell Wilson blockbuster trade, Lock was seemingly looking better than Geno Smith during the summer. It’s unfortunate that he had to miss this NFL preseason game.

With Lock out of action, Smith didn’t do much for his Seahawks. The veteran completed 10-of-18 passes for 112 yards. Seattle gained a total of 121 yards on the seven possessions Smith led in the first half. It was just atrocious.

Now that Lock is back in the fold, it will be interesting to see what head coach Pete Carroll and Co. do ahead of Seattle’s exhibition finale against the Dallas Cowboys on Friday. The two quarterbacks split first-team reps on Sunday, indicating that the Seahawks are not close to making a decision.

Davis Mills might be on to something

nfl preseason: davis mills, houston texans
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This second-year quarterback made waves recently by projecting confidence that the downtrodden Houston Texans will surprise the masses in 2022. While we will fall short of proclaiming that the truth, Davis Mills and his Texans are playing much better than expected during the NFL preseason.

Mills completed 10-of-17 passes for 96 yards against the Los Angeles Rams Friday evening, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to impressive young receiver Nico Collins.

A second-year player out of Michigan, Collins was one of the few bright spots for Houston as a rookie. He has extended that to the preseason, catching 4-of-6 targets for 48 yards against the Rams. Even if these Texans finish in last place this season, they at least have something brewing in the post-Deshaun Watson era. Mills’ ability to progress as a sophomore will play a vital role in that.

Related: Winners and losers from Saturday’s NFL preseason action

Romeo Doubs could answer Green Bay Packers question marks at wide receiver

nfl preseason: romeo doubs, green bay packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It was this past week that two-time reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers made news by calling out his young receivers after the Packers’ preseason opener. Rodgers was just acting the part of a team leader and needs these youngsters to be ready Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.

If what we saw from rookie fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs during his second exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints this week is any indication, the Nevada product might be ready to fill in immediately.

That’s just an insane touchdown catch from Doubs on a pass that was errant coming out of the hand of backup quarterback Jordan Love. It was supposed to be a back-shoulder throw. Instead, Dobbs had to adjust and make a play on the ball. That represented the second touchdown in as many games for Doubs this summer.

Related: Green Bay Packers’ Romeo Doubs opening eyes during NFL preseason

Matt Corral suffers unfortunate injury in second NFL preseason game

nfl preseason: carolina panthers qb matt corrall
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we saw New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson go down with that seemed to be a serious injury. Luckily, he avoided that outcome and could potentially return for Week 1. The same thing can’t be said for Carolina Panthers rookie third-round pick Matt Corral. The quarterback went down with a foot injury during their game against the New England Patriots. Almost immediately, Carolina pretty much ruled him out for the remainder of his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury.

“I hate it for him. I hate it any time one of our guys is hurt. And I thought he was playing well too. I left him in that situation backed up, because I wanted him to have that, hey here’s the crowd, here’s the noise.”

Carolina Panthers head coach matt Rhule on Matt Corral injury

Corral likely wouldn’t have seen the field during the regular season with Baker Mayfield QB1 in Carolina and Sam Darnold backing him up. With that said, it’s always unfortunate when a rookie loses his initial season due to an injury during the summer.

Related: NFL preseason defensive rankings

San Francisco 49ers defensive line is going to be a force

nfl preseason: javon kinlaw
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Even without stars Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead on the field against Minnesota Saturday, San Francisco’s offensive line absolutely dominated the Minnesota Vikings. Former first-round pick Javon Kinlaw looks to be a force after undergoing ACL surgery last October. He recorded a sack of Kellen Mond against Minnesota.

Rookie second-round pick Drake Jackson also seems to be one of the biggest steals of the 2022 NFL Draft. He recorded four pressures on 22 snaps, continuing what has been a stellar summer from the former USC standout.

“Drake has been improving, I’m happy with where Drake is. The things that we saw him do in college he’s showing those things in the practice field, he’s showing them in the game. He’s heading in the right direction and I’m pleased with him.”

49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans on Drake jackson

Not only does San Francisco have one of the top starting defensive lines in the NFL, it boasts a tremendous amount of depth. That includes veterans Kerry Hyder Jr. (8.5 sacks with San Francisco in 2020) and Kemoko Turay (5.5 sacks with Indianapolis last season).

Dallas Cowboys find a gem in KaVontae Turpin

NFL: Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Chargers Joint Practice
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What a crazy ride it has been for this former TCU standout. The reigning USFL MVP (that’s a thing) started his professional career in the European League of Football (also a thing) before playing for the Fan Controlled Footballl League and joining the USFL’s New Jersey Generals.

This was enough for the speedy wide receiver to be given a chance by the Cowboys. Turpin, 26, did not disappoint Saturday evening against the Los Angeles Chargers. That included an electric 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and an 86-yard punt return for a score. The dude was absolutely electric.

Turpin will be Dallas’ top return guy in 2022. But given his performance during the NFL preseason and the Cowboys’ injuries at wide receiver, he could also make an impact on offense. The kid is legit.

Related: NFL playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Gardner Minshew and Josh Dobbs on display

nfl preseason: gardner minshew
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It’s pretty obvious that the Philadelphia Eagles were showcasing Gardner Minshew during their NFL preseason game against the Cleveland Browns this past weekend. He played well into the third quarter, completing 14-of-17 passes for 142 yards in the process.

A former sixth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minshew has proven to be a starter-caliber signal caller during his career. He just has not been given the opportunity. It won’t happen in Philadelphia with Jalen Hurts doing his thing. Perhaps, another team could offer Minshew a better opportunity to be QB1.

As for Dobbs, he got the start for Cleveland with Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett not suiting up in this one. The former Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick played well, completing 14-of-20 passes for 141 yards while adding 47 rushing yards and a score on the ground. Even with Watson suspended the first 11 games of the season, Dobbs might be on his way out. Perhaps, the Browns can find a trade partner for the veteran.