2022 NFL Hall of Fame Game Preview

The Jaguars and Raiders square off in the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame game
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Finally. Finally, football fans can wake up with the realization that it is gameday. The long offseason has come to a close, and NFL fans can watch some live football again. The Hall of Fame Game is notoriously uneventful, but it still brings excitement as the first NFL game in nearly seven months. Here are some things to watch for tonight.

Hall of Fame Game Info:

Teams: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Time: 8PM E.T.

Venue: Tom Henson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio

Broadcast: NBC

Live stream options: fuboTV, Sling, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV

New Signings

Neither of these two teams were afraid to spend money this offseason, so there will be a ton of new faces wearing new colors for the first time on Thursday night. None of these starting-caliber players will see the field much, if at all, but it will be exciting to watch them on their new teams for the first time.

On the Raiders side of the ball, the most notable new guy is obviously Devante Adams. The Raiders traded for Adams this offseason, in exchange for their first and second round picks. Adams is arguably the best receiver in the league, and it will be interesting to watch him take the field with his old college teammate, Derek Carr. Chandler Jones will also be making his Raider debut on Thursday, and we’ll get to see him attack the passer opposite Maxx Crosby for the first time as well.

Jacksonville was far from shy on the free agent market themselves. The Jaguars made a ton of signings early in free agency, and were one of the most active teams in the league. Their receiving core was completely revamped, and Jaguars’ fans will get to watch Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram take the field for the first time. Their new star guard Brandon Sherff will be on display as well.

New Draft Picks

This is exactly what preseason games are meant for. The starters don’t get much action, if at all, yet the rookies are thrown straight into the fire. Jacksonville obviously had the better draft class, but both teams have some exciting rookies ready to take an NFL field for the first time.

Starting with Jacksonville, they’ve got a handful of new draft picks to be excited about. First, we have the first overall draft pick, Travon Walker. The edge rusher out of Georgia has a boatload of potential, and he should get some extended time Thursday night. Next is Devin Lloyd. The Jaguars traded up to the 20th overall pick to nab Lloyd, who is one of the most intelligent players in the entire class. Luke Fortner and Chad Muma are two more exciting young players to watch for.

As for Las Vegas, their draft class wasn’t as impressive, yet there’s still some guys to watch for. Their top pick, Dylan Parham should get a good amount of reps on the offensive line. Vegas also picked up a new running back, Zamir White out of Georgia. White was one of the better running backs in college last year, and it should be interesting to see how Josh McDaniels utilizes him.

Ultimately, it’s just good to have football back. NFL fans can finally kick back, relax and watch two exciting young teams play. With this just being a preseason game, there shouldn’t be much stock taken with how good these players do, especially the young guys. Here’s to a fun game, and most importantly, welcome back football!

Pittsburgh Steelers Preseason Cuts: First Round

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won their first two preseason games. But they must make their first round of preseason cuts by Tuesday? Who will be the first players cut?

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Under the most recent CBA, NFL teams must trim their rosters down from 90 to 85 after the first week of preseason games. Luckily, since they played in the Hall of Fame Game, the Pittsburgh Steelers earned another week to evaluate players at the back end of their roster. Nevertheless, come Tuesday, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin will need to remove at least five players from their roster. Therefore, let’s investigate who could be among the first of the Steelers preseason cuts.

One note before we begin: as of press time, there are currently 91 players listed on the Steelers’ active roster. This is because defensive end Calvin Taylor was waived and sent to the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement. With that explained, let’s take a look at some of the most likely cut candidates.

T.J. Carter, DE

Despite the injuries suffered by two other defensive linemen (the aforementioned Taylor and DeMarcus Christmas), T.J. Carter should be one of the first cuts made by the Steelers on Tuesday. In two games, Carter has taken only seven snaps each on defense and on special teams. He has been particularly absent from the stat line in both, recording only one assisted tackle. On an already crowded defensive line, Carter needs to be making more of an impact to stay on the roster. He has been absent from training camp reports, indicating he is not making an impact in practice either. With the third preseason game approaching, in which at least a few of the starters might see playing time, Carter would most likely not see the field, thus making his spot on the roster expendable.

Peter Guerriero, RB

Unfortunately, the Peter Guerriero Experience may only be in town for one week. The Steelers signed Guerriero last week after the Hall of Fame Game and he got into the contest against the Eagles late. He struggled a bit early but found his speed as he got more carries. He finished with seven carries for 20 yards and helped the Steelers close out the game late in the fourth quarter. However, with Benny Snell on the mend and several players locked in a heated battle for RB4, Guerriero’s presence on the team is no longer required.

Tyler Simmons, WR

Tyler Simmons encapsulates the fleeting nature of preseason success. Last week against the Cowboys, he reeled in his one target for a five-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. This past week against the Eagles, Simmons earned no targets. Furthermore, he is seeing very little duty on special teams as a gunner; furthermore, he is also missing out on punt returning opportunities to players like Isaiah McKoy and Matthew Sexton. With players like Sexton adding punt returning and McKoy providing more intrigue as a deep threat, Simmons seems to be on the outside looking in. If Tomlin and special teams coach Danny Smith want to see more of what McKoy and Sexton can do, removing Simmons from the equation is probably the solution.

Brandon Walton, OT

Of these predicted Steelers preseason cuts, this would be the one I feel most unsure of. Brandon Walton has played 53 snaps over the course of two games, all at left guard. He performed better this past week against the Eagles; however, his snaps came very late in the game and he was not asked to pass block nearly as much. The Steelers also brought in Malcolm Pridgeon, another player that will compete for playing time at guard. Walton could be on the chopping block this week mostly due to the starters seeing some playing time against the Lions. The coaching staff could view him as expendable depth, especially with other players displaying more positional versatility.

Jamar Watson, LB

Sometimes in life, you just get beat fair and square. That is what happened to Jamar Watson this preseason, with regards to Jamir Jones. Watson is an outside linebacker from Kentucky that the Steelers picked up as a UDFA. Unfortunately, he is simply being outperformed by Jamir Jones. While Watson has only recorded two pressures, Jones has made two tackles and pressured the QB six times, including four QB hits and one sack. Jones is also earning special teams snaps over Watson and performing well there. There was some consideration that Watson could play inside linebacker as well. But will the addition of Joe Schobert, pushing several players down the depth chart, Watson’s fate could be sealed.

Other Possible Steelers Preseason Cuts

Two more players I could seeing being released this week are tight end Marcus Baugh and linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz. Baugh has primarily played late in the last two games. But he has struggled as a receiver and as a blocker; he dropped his one target of the preseason and has been abysmal as a pass blocker (albeit in limited opportunities). The Steelers only have four other tight ends on the roster and some are still nursing injuries. But Baugh’s uninspiring performances so far could earn him his walking papers.

The final player that could be cut this week in Christian Kuntz. Kuntz has been able to stick on the offseason rosters due to the fact that he offers depth at two special teams positions: linebacker and long snapper. Obviously, if something were to happen to current long snapper Cameron Kanaday, Kuntz would be the first man up. But he does not offer much upside as a special teamer; additionally, the coaching staff might want to focus on developing chemistry between Kanaday and Pressley Harvin III as the potential starters at their respective positions. However, given the lack of long snappers with NFL experience, Kuntz could make it through the whole preseason as well.

Keep your eye out on Tuesday for the announcement of which players make the cut for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Additionally, check out Around the Block’s Pittsburgh Steelers’ podcast, Around the Burgh, hosted by myself and Shayne Kubas, for all your Steelers opinions, takes, and information.

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