The first full week of 2023 NFL preseason is in the books. Some teams, like the Bears and Saints, enjoyed explosive debuts. Others, like the Patriots and 49ers, found points harder to come by. But all 32 can take something away from the first round of exhibition action. Here's one thing we learned about every team in Week 1 of the preseason:
Colt McCoy is probably a safe bet to start Week 1. There'd been some buzz about rookie Clayton Tune handling QB1 duties for the rehabbing Kyler Murray, but he had a predictably uneven debut, whereas McCoy went 4 for 4 before exiting to rest. Don't rule out feisty reserve David Blough as a dark-horse candidate for early-season snaps, too.
The defense may actually be turning a corner. Primarily a sieve under Arthur Smith, the revamped unit made plays at every level against the Dolphins. Ryan Nielsen's entry as the defensive coordinator is something to monitor throughout the year.
Tyler Huntley is the clear No. 2 at QB. The local broadcast crew talked up all-time journeyman Josh Johnson as a candidate to become Lamar Jackson's top backup, but Huntley remains the superior athlete and QB even in a new system, finding a solid rhythm working against the Eagles' backups.
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There's no cause for concern with their offensive depth. Against the Colts, Matt Barkley stood out as Josh Allen's veteran backup, James Cook flashed his shiftiness alongside new sidekick Latavius Murray, and Andy Isabella stayed active competing for a rotational role out wide. This team is primed for another run.
Bryce Young needs reinforcements up front. The rookie QB did his part getting rid of the ball quickly against the Jets' pass rush, but getting Austin Corbett healthy would help shore things up. They've got good personnel in Ikem Ekwonu, Bradley Bozeman, etc., but they'll need better execution and depth moving forward.
Justin Fields' weapons are, indeed, better. Of course he still has to improve his decision-making over a full season, but the young QB needed just a few plays against the Titans to see how much D.J. Moore might open up their offense. Khalil Herbert also appears ready to emerge more fully from David Montgomery's shadow.
Their offensive line depth remains a concern. Joe Burrow's front has gotten better each year, but Jackson Carman's struggles at right tackle against the Packers are a reminder of their lack of insurance. Jonah Williams is set to open the year at RT, but pricey reserve La'el Collins is still recovering from injury.
Deshaun Watson might have a new backup. Joshua Dobbs has more NFL experience, but rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been , excelling as a dual threat in two different games. If he doesn't officially supplant Dobbs before Week 1, you wonder if Kevin Stefanski might incorporate him in other ways.
They already have their RB2. Remember all the talk about an unlikely Ezekiel Elliott return? Sixth-round rookie Deuce Vaughn made it clear in his ultra-shifty debut that he's more than capable of complementing Tony Pollard in Dallas' backfield.
The Russell Wilson reclamation project is still in the works. It's tough to truly assess his progress integrating to Sean Payton's system, but the longtime Seahawks star was occasionally sluggish and scattershot before a late touchdown drive vs. Arizona.
It's Teddy Bridgewater time (behind Jared Goff). Nate Sudfeld got lots of support from Lions coaches this offseason, but after Detroit added Bridgewater as a more experienced backup, Sudfeld threw two picks in a scoreless stretch against the Giants. It'd be an upset if Teddy doesn't open 2023 as the No. 2, even though he just arrived.
Green Bay Packers
The young QB room could be a lot better than expected. Jordan Love was always gonna enter 2023 as a high-upside unknown, but he showcased elite touch on a TD pass against the Bengals. Rookie reserve Sean Clifford was even more surprising, rebounding from two picks with athletic gunslinging against Cincinnati backups.
Tank Dell could be their go-to weapon. Rookie QB C.J. Stroud struggled in limited reps against the Patriots, but Dell's electricity out wide should offset some of the concern. He easily offers the most juice of anyone at his position on Houston's roster.
The Anthony Richardson roller coaster is confirmed. The Florida product entered as a raw passer with elite athletic traits, and that was very apparent against the Bills, with the rookie QB slinging an ugly pick but also showing off an effortlessly strong arm.
Nathan Rourke earned himself a job somewhere. The former CFL QB had maybe the highlight of the preseason, evading rushers to deliver an improbable TD against the Cowboys. Whether in Jacksonville or elsewhere, he'll surely find work.
It's Richie James season. The former Giants wideout was already an underrated addition to Kansas City's shuffled WR corps. His success downfield against the Saints proved he's got the tools to have a breakout alongside Patrick Mahomes in 2023.
Josh McDaniels might have sneakily found his QB of the future. OK, so that's premature, but fourth-round rookie Aidan O'Connell was practically perfect operating from the pocket against the 49ers, making a case he already belongs as the top reserve behind Jimmy Garoppolo. We know the Purdue product isn't a threat to run, but he spun the ball nicely all game.
Quentin Johnston is a work in progress. Continuing a reportedly up-and-down summer, the first-rounder out of TCU scored but also dropped a few balls against the Rams. It may take time for Justin Herbert to trust him as he does the other wideouts.
Los Angeles Rams
Stetson Bennett could be a keeper. And not just as a project. The rookie Georgia product got plenty of action against the Chargers and slung it like a veteran, making a case he belongs as Matthew Stafford's No. 2 going into the year.
Their lack of QB insurance is glaring. New backup Mike White failed repeatedly in the red zone against the Falcons, underscoring how much pressure the Dolphins are indirectly putting on Tua Tagovailoa to both grow and stay healthy in 2023.
Jordan Addison is that dude when it comes to route-running. Impressive in camp, the rookie first-rounder displayed veteran-level footwork on a sideline catch that should've been upheld. He's primed for a busy year opposite Justin Jefferson.
New England Patriots
They must find ways to get Malik Cunningham on the field. The undrafted Louisville QB was electric on the ground against the Texans, providing a welcome contrast to the more scripted styles of Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. Whether or not he actually makes noise under center in Bill O'Brien's return as offensive coordinator, the Pats need that kind of dynamism.
New Orleans Saints
Their offense could be dazzling if healthy. The "if" is the key word. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas have different availability concerns, but Derek Carr slinging it to them in his Saints debut against Kansas City was a pretty sight.
New York Giants
They still need pass rushers. The G-Men added more slot receivers than they can count this offseason, but what about help for Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux? The pressure off the edge was lacking against the Lions, and the depth chart isn't overly impressive beyond the projected starters.
New York Jets
Zach Wilson and Mekhi Becton appear to be settling in. The polarizing former first-rounders got prominent snaps against the Panthers and for the most part did their jobs, with Wilson controlling the ball and Becton upping his left-tackle duties. They still project as reserves for 2023, but at least the arrow is starting to point up.
Their key offseason additions look good. New running back D'Andre Swift showed off both shiftiness and power in early snaps against the Ravens. And first-round pick Jalen Carter needed barely any playing time to get after the opposing QB.
The WRs are ready to break out. George Pickens broke free for a nice TD against the Buccaneers and already profiled as a candidate to make a big leap. But Calvin Austin also scored while showing off deep speed. Throw in veterans Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson, and Kenny Pickett has the setup to do more damage through the air.
San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance remains in purgatory. Starting against the Raiders, the former first-rounder showed nice improvisation behind an iffy line but also put the ball in harm's way quite a bit, appearing more frenetic than Sam Darnold, his competition behind Brock Purdy. With Purdy all but locked into the QB1 gig, it remains to seen what the future has in store here.
They've got young building blocks. A year after unearthing gems in Kenneth Walker III and Tariq Woolen, Seattle got solid preseason debuts from rookies Zach Charbonnet, Jake Bobo and Jaxon Smith-Njigba against the Vikings.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baker Mayfield is pulling away in the QB competition. Kyle Trask has been given every opportunity to steal the job this offseason, but he struggled against the Steelers, whereas Mayfield smoothly guided a TD drive that ended with a nice touch pass. We all know Baker remains a mercurial option under center, but all signs point to him claiming the Week 1 gig.
Will Levis needs time. Not surprising, but the Kentucky product was more erratic than even 2022 third-rounder Malik Willis against the Bears, absorbing four sacks and throwing a pick in his debut. Willis should be the favorite to back up Ryan Tannehill.
The Sam Howell-Jahan Dotson connection is working. The young duo had chemistry in the summer, and it continued against the Browns. Terry McLaurin is the leader of Washington's WR corps, but Dotson is a prime candidate to break out.