By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — There is only one rule when watching preseason games: Don’t overreact.
Anyone prone to making sweeping conclusions about the fates of any players or teams based on the initial exhibition action should take a chill pill.
With that said, here are the major winners and losers in Week One of the NFL preseason:
WINNER: QB Justin Fields
It’s always a good day for a quarterback when he can throw for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 3-of-3 passing while barely doing anything on his own. Running back Khalil Herbert did the work taking a short pass 56 yards for a score. The Bears ranked last in the NFL in yards after the catch in 2022 (1,147), and WR DJ Moore’s addition alone should provide a major lift. With that kind of help, Fields should be better positioned to make quicker decisions one year after he tied for the league high in sacks taken (55) and routinely held onto the ball too long.
WINNER: QB Baker Mayfield
Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles and new offensive coordinator Dave Canales have placed a premium on sound decision-making and avoiding turnovers. Mayfield’s recent rash of interceptions in training camp then, sounded an alarm for the player who has thrown the most picks (64) since his entrance into the NFL in 2018. Friday’s outing against the Pittsburgh Steelers put Mayfield back on track, as he exhibited a discerning temperament in completing 8 of 9 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
LOSER: QB Trey Lance
With Brock Purdy having made a speedy return from elbow surgery, any path for Lance to reclaim his former starting gig is now closed. Now, there might be a serious battle for the former No. 3 overall pick not to be relegated to the backup’s backup.
Lance looked out of sorts Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, taking four sacks and sending the offense to three-and-outs on the first three series. His development is clearly lagging.