The NFL preseason will officially conclude this evening, but realistically, it is already over.
Many will keep an eye on the New York Jets car crash tonight (just got to slow down and look). Others will see if this is Patriots backup Tim Tebow's final NFL game before final cuts. There might be some interest in Terrelle Pryor’s quest to secure Oakland’s starting quarterback position. Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brian Banks, who spent almost 10 years away from football after being wrongfully convicted of rape, should receive plenty of playing time.
Outside of that, there are not many compelling reasons to watch the multitude of “Bubble Bowl” games this evening.
We all know the preseason is not an accurate barometer of regular season success or failure. Detroit finished 4-0 in the preseason before the Lions’ infamous 0-16 season. With that disclaimer in place, here are eight things we learned from the preseason:
Best team: Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys’ first-team defense did not allow a touchdown this preseason, plus forced nine turnovers through four games. What? Is Jerry Jones serving Kool-Aid at AT&T Stadium?
Worst team: Oakland Raiders
Pryor has shown signs of progress, but against base defenses. We will not know how good he is until teams start game-planning against him. Oakland has a head start in the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes.
Preseason MVP: Christine Michael, Seattle
He had 122 all-purpose yards, including a 43-yard touchdown run, against the Green Bay Packers. Nobody is saying Marshawn Lynch’s job is in jeopardy, but Michael’s future looks bright.
Rookie of the preseason: Kenbrell Thompkins, New England
This Patriots rookie has taken advantage of his opportunities, compiling 13 receptions for 142 yards. Another undrafted prospect proves the draft experts wrong.
Best Highlight: David Wilson’s 84-year touchdown run
Any notion of a running back competition between Andre Brown and Wilson officially ended against the New York Jets. Wilson hit the outside corner, then switched gears, en route a spectacular run. Honorable mention goes to Reggie Wayne and LeGarrette Blount.
Best decision: Sitting Aaron Rodgers
Packers coach Mike McCarthy did not take any chances with Rodgers this preseason. McCarthy benched Rodgers after one series in Week 3, which was a great move to preserve his franchise quarterback.
Worst decision: Anything Rex Ryan related
Whether it was playing Mark Sanchez late in a preseason game, or battling the New York media, Ryan has gained attention for everything except coaching a potential playoff team.
Back from the dead: Vince Young, Green Bay
Remember when Vince Young was just a first-round bust? Okay, he still is, but Young has gone from unemployed to possibly making Green Bay’s roster as a backup within only a few weeks.