NFL preseason Week 3 winners and losers: Mitchell Trubisky, Baker Mayfield and rookie QBs advance – CBS Sports

NFL preseason Week 3 winners and losers: Mitchell Trubisky, Baker Mayfield and rookie QBs advance - CBS Sports

The 2022 NFL preseason is officially in the books. That means real football is just around the corner. Before rosters are finalized and preparations for Week 1 begin, which players and teams took big steps forward (or back) in Week 3 of the exhibition schedule? Here’s a look at some of the top winners and losers from the preseason finals:

Winner: Veterans in QB competitions

Baker Mayfield

SATISFACTION

Baker Mayfield was already locked in the Panthers‘ top quarterback job, but he looked sharp on his 15 throws, putting zip on the ball and leading a couple of scoring drives. He also won’t have to worry about Sam Darnold looming in the background for the time being, after the latter suffered a high-ankle sprain on his own touchdown run. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Mitch Trubisky showed a steady touch behind a lackluster line starting against the Lions, likely keeping him just ahead of rookie Kenny Pickett in the race for QB1 duty. And Geno Smith’s solid, albeit unspectacular, performance for Seattle earned him the Seahawks job.

Speaking of QB competitions, the ex-Broncos sharpshooter basically threw himself out of a job during Seattle’s tight loss to the cowboys. His arm was active, sure, but at least two of his three picks were head-scratchers, and Geno Smith again proved more reliable, if unexciting, which is why Pete Carroll crowned the former Jets starter his Week 1 guy.

Winner: Mobile rookie QBs

Malik Willis

SATISFACTION

Who doesn’t love a young QB with legs? The Titans got more predictable but chain-moving juice from Malik Willis, who again overshadowed an unpolished passing game with big runs, including a 50-yard scramble for a near score against the. Cardinals. The Commanders let Sam Howell handle all the QB work against the Crows, and his grain made him the leading tourist of the equipment. Baltimore, in the same game, saw undrafted Anthony Brown Jr. to fill the highlight reel with his athleticism, potentially securing a spot as the No. 3 behind fellow dual threats Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley.

Loser: The Patriots offense

They’ve been losing all offseason, frankly, so their failure against the raiders in a 23-6 loss was not necessarily a surprise. Again, Las Vegas mostly deployed backups, so there is a real concern here. Mac Jones threw a bad pick, and the unit just couldn’t get into a rhythm. Maybe don’t have old defensive and special teams coaches develop your QB!

Winner: AFC South rookies

Dameon Pierce

SATISFACTION

Specifically, Dameon Pierce and Treylon Burks, who could have Week 1 starting roles for the Texans and titans, respectively. Pierce averaged over six yards per carry as the most consistently explosive man in a crowded Houston field against the 49ers, while Burks entered the end zone after returning from an in-game injury against Arizona. The latter is probably more important to his team as a whole, but both youngsters could make or break their teams’ offenses.

Loser: The saints‘ offensive line

Not because they are porous like the Steelers‘transitional unit, but because rookie left tackle Trevor Penning, specifically drafted to replace veteran Terron Armstead, went down with a bad injury that will require surgery and keep him out indefinitely. Now there is even more pressure on Jameis Winston to stay upright as he recovers from his own injury.

Denzel Mims

SATISFACTION

If you’re going to ask for a trade days before final cuts, entering your third season as an overlooked former second baseman, you’d better at least show up in the preseason. He did, hauling in 102 yards and a big score on seven catches against the Giants. Now it’s about Jets brass to determine if he actually belongs on the roster, with a real role, at large.

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