The debut of Kevin White is our key game of the week as well as Tavon Austin in prime-time on Saturday night. Here is our NFL Preseason Week 1 preview.
Thursday, August 11
Bucs at Eagles 7:00 pm/ET
Thursday’s slate of games kicks off with to recent Mountaineer running backs going head-to-head. Maybe.
For the Eagles, rookie Wendell Smallwood is out with a quad injury. In Tampa, Charles Sims hurt his ankle in practice over the weekend but continued to practice. While it is not being labeled as a severe injury, head coach Dirk Koetter will not rush him into the lineup.
“We’ll have to see about Charles,” Koetter said. “Anybody who’s healthy will play, but if it’s close on a proven guy we’ll hold him out.”
Also expect to see veterans Najee Goode (Eagles) and Keith Tandy (Bucs) get healthy doses of playing time on defense.
Redskins at Falcons 7:30 pm/ET
We will get our first look of Washington free-agent acquisition Terence Garvin. He came over from Pittsburgh during free-agency. The team brought him in particularly as a special teams ace and will also provide depth on defense.
Panthers at Ravens 7:30 pm/ET
As we expected going into training camp, rookie Daryl Worley will get the first look as the Panthers starting right corner. Jared Barber should see snaps on defense for Carolina late in the game and possibly on special teams.
Jaguars at Jets 7:30 pm/ET
Geno Smith is likely to see significant playing time in the Jets first preseason game and throughout the preseason. It is highly unlikely he would unseat Ryan Fitzpatrick from the starting job. Going into the last year of his rookie contract, these four games could be Smith’s chance to audition for his next team.
Broncos at Bears 8:00 pm/ET
This is the NFL game that most WVU fans will want to tune in for this week. Will it be to see who the defending Super Bowl Champions roll out at quarterback? Nope. After a year in the making, we will finally get to see the debut of Kevin White in a Bears uniform.
However, Bears head coach John Fox says the starters will play one quarter on Thursday night. Will that include Kevin White, or will they continue to play him cautiously? From what I hear, he might play for one or two series.
Nick Kwiatkoski injured his hamstring during the opening weekend of training camp and his practice time has been limited. He hasn’t practiced this week, and although he is not listed on the Bears’ injury report, don’t get your hopes up for seeing him play in this one.
Dolphins at NY Giants 7:00 pm/ET
Will Johnson makes his debut as a member of the Giants. Look for him to assume a variety of roles, including lining up at fullback and tight end. You may also find him on special teams in kickoff coverage. J.T. Thomas is still on the Giants’ PUP list with a hamstring injury.
Vikings at Bengals 7:30 pm/ET
In a crowded field at receiver, second-year man Mario Alford looks to make his mark. In camp, he’s been described as just “OK” during his time on offense. A seventh-round pick last year, there is no guarantee that Alford will make the roster. One area where the speedster can make his case for earning a spot on the roster is on special teams. He will be given a chance to earn a job returning kicks (when Adam Pacman Jones isn’t handling those duties). Look for Alford to try to break one open in this game.
Will Clarke should see plenty of reps at defensive end for Cincinnati.
Browns at Packers 8:00 pm/ET
While he won’t start, look for Don Barclay to see a lot of playing time, possibly at multiple positions along the Packers offensive line.
Raiders at Cardinals 10:00 pm/ET NFL Network
In what is likely the second-most anticipated first week game for Mountaineer fans, we hope to see Raiders’ first-round pick Karl Joseph in action. However, the team isn’t in a hurry to rush Joseph into action, and would prefer to take caution with his surgically repaired ACL.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t play in the first preseason game or two,” Joseph said. “It’s nothing to worry about. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make sure I’m fully 100 percent ready to go for that first game.”
“The goal is to be ready for Sundays,” the projected starting safety said. “I definitely would like to get some preseason action, but it’s going to be a day-to-day thing to see how the knee’s feeling and everything.”
What we should see is the debut of Bruce Irvin lined up opposite of All-Pro LB/DE Khalil Mack. Irvin signed with Oakland in free-agency, reuniting him with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
Second-year man Shaq Riddick will back up at linebacker for Arizona.
Seahawks at Chiefs 4:30 pm/ET NFL Network
Going into his second season as a pro, Mark Glowinski has a golden opportunity to win the starting job at left guard in Seattle. He will start in this game. After the Seahawks’ starters leave the game, stick around and watch Curtis Feigt get playing time at right tackle for the Chiefs.
Colts at Bills 7:00 pm/ET
The “Boomstick” Pat McAfee returns to, well, boom kicks for Indy. Undrafted rookie OL Marquis Lucas should see some snaps for the Bills later in the game as he looks to stick on the team.
Chargers at Titans 8:00 pm/ET
Undrafted free-agent Quinton Spain started the last six games last season at left guard for the Titans. He’s held down that position thus far in camp, so look for him to start in this one. Dreamius Smith is also in his second season, but for San Diego. He’s broken some nice runs in training camp. Look for him to get carries during the second half. Shaq Petteway hopes to nail down one of the last OLB spots for the Chargers.
Cowboys at Rams 8pm/ET NFL Network
Tavon Austin in prime-time. In the regular season, that would be “Must-See TV.” In the preseason, look for Jeff Fisher’s offense to be as vanilla as the soft-serve at Dairy Queen.
Texans at 49ers 7:00 pm/ET NFL Network
K.J. Dillon is vying for a spot at safety for Houston. He’s had a good week of camp and has been noted for not shying away from contact down in the box. You’ll find him on special teams and on defense later in this game.