Daily Six-Pack: NFL preseason rewind

Here are six quick-hit thoughts on some of Week 1’s preseason NFL action.

1. Stafford was impressive.
While it was only the first preseason game of his young career, Matthew Stafford was awfully impressive Saturday against the Falcons. In his debut, Stafford completed 7 of 14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. And if Keary Colbert didn’t have hands made of concrete, Stafford’s numbers would have been more impressive. Granted, he was playing against Atlanta’s backups, Detroit kept their starting offensive line largely intact and he did throw an interception that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown. But the key was that Stafford looked comfortable in the pocket, showed confidence in his throws and for a rookie, displayed great footwork and overall mechanics. He still has much to prove, but if he continues to play this well throughout the preseason, it might be hard for the Lions to keep the rookie off the field in his first year.

2. The Bears secondary looked shaky.
If Saturday’s preseason loss to the Bills was any indication of how Chicago’s secondary will play in the regular season, then the Bears are in trouble. Lee Evans abused cornerback Nathan Vasher repeatedly, while Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick completed over 88 percent of their passes. Granted, it was only one preseason game and rookie sixth round pick Al Afalava was impressive against the run. But the Bears look awfully thin in the secondary and if the starters perform as poorly as they did last night for the remainder of the preseason, then trouble could be on the horizon.

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Russell solid in preseason debut

Reports coming out of Raiders training camp surrounding JaMarcus Russell have been mostly negative as the third-year quarterback continues to struggle with consistency and trying to get his timing down with his receivers.

But in Oakland’s 31-10 win over Dallas in the Raiders’ preseason opener on Thursday night, Russell showed the poise that once made him the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. He completed six of his nine pass attempts for 50 yards and while his average pass only went for a messily 5.6 yards, it was a promising start for a player who is expected to turn the corner this year as a quarterback.

Granted, one preseason game in which he only threw for 50 yards isn’t going to tell us whether or not Russell is finally developing. But he has looked so poorly at times during his short career that it’s worth mentioning when he resembles a NFL quarterback.

Of course, Russell wasn’t the key performer in Oakland’s first preseason win and neither was former first round pick Darren McFadden, although he did rush four times for 63 yards (15.8 average).

That distinction goes out to former seventh round pick Chaz Shilens, who hauled in five passes for 52 yards. Shilens, who has a nice blend of size, speed and hands, is starting to emerge as a nice go-to receiver for Russell in the passing game and could turn out to be the Raiders’ best playmaker this season.

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