Playing just 10 miles from Memorial Stadium, Jared Goff looked the part of the Cal quarterback whose big arm — and bigger offensive numbers — made him the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, rather than the timid rookie role he often ended up playing in his debut season. In Saturday’s preseason game against the Raiders, Goff seemed to confirm that last week’s good but short performance against the Cowboys was no mirage.
16 for 20 with 160 yards and a touchdown looks good enough on its own, but it’s doubly so with a look at some of Goff’s impressive rollout passes and beautiful touch on deep passes. He immediately started the game hot, competing each one of his passes in a five-minute touchdown drive that ended with a great deep ball on the run to rookie Cooper Kupp, who quickly became Goff’s favored target in the contest.
Two scoring drives followed soon after, so leading 17-14 at the end of the half and having completed 80 percent of his passes, Goff retired to the bench. Nothing can be truly concluded from preseason play, but while other bottom-tier 2016 starting quarterbacks (such as Blake Bortles and Brock Osweiler) have further embarrassed themselves with poor play in August, Goff is putting himself in excellent position to make a second-year leap.
Another Cal alum made a comeback statement in the same game, as Marshawn Lynch made his Raiders debut after coming out of retirement to further cement his place as a Bay Area icon.
He was the featured running back for the Raiders’ first drive, but a quick score meant he only played four snaps for the day before heading back to the bench. A veteran like Lynch doesn’t need to prove anything in preseason play, but he looked to still have the same combination of light-footed cutting and desire to bash through defenders that defined his time as a Seattle Seahawk. It’s foolhardy to predict big numbers from a 31-year-old running back, but with fresh legs, he doesn’t seem to have lost a step.
Bryce Treggs, going into his second year with the Philadelphia Eagles, was held out of Week 2’s action against the Bills, possibly missing the chance to keep the ball rolling after a big performance in Week 1. Seven receptions for 91 yards against the Packers put him on the path to ensuring a roster spot, but the more time he misses, the less security he has.
However, the 4.39 40-yard-dash time from his Pro Day will always make him a tantalizing roster option, and he showed of his speed against the Packers, running right past highly regarded rookie corner Kevin King from former Pac-12 foe Washington.
A week after Trevor Davis took a punt return to the house, a muffed catch in the Packer’s game against the Redskins this week has apparently put his job back on the line. He contributed to the passing attack with one reception after recording zero in Week 1, but his value stems mainly from special teams, and every mistake is hugely costly.
Chad Hansen didn’t have a particularly big day in the box score for the Jets Week 2 game against the Lions, finishing with just two catches and 13 yards, but he played the most snaps of any wide receiver. On a Jets offense that many expect to be historically poor, no volume of playing time is sure to mean any measurable output.
Khalfani Muhammad’s chances of making the Tennessee Titans roster after being drafted in the seventh round seem to be waning; on a team that’s already loaded in the backfield, undrafted rookie Akeem Judd took four carries to Muhammad’s one. Unless he gets a lot of action as a kick returner and receiving option in the next two weeks, it looks like Muhammad’s NFL prospects will be with another franchise.