What you need to know, actually, is probably nothing. After all, it is the preseason. But here's a rundown of semi-noteworthy happenings from last weekend's preseason action.
Quarterback Curtis Painter(notes) said he wasn't worried about being booed by Colts fans, and then he went out and proved it. He played some of the most boo-worthy football you'll ever see, even for the preseason. The 49ers' reserves were the heroes of the day, with David Carr(notes) going 9-of-11 (!) and rookie running back Anthony Dixon(notes) hitting the 100-yard mark in his debut.
Despite being clobbered on the scoreboard and having a ton of penalties, the Lions actually had a lot of positives here. Matthew Stafford was sharp, Jahvid Best was impressive, and their starting defensive front owned the Steelers starting offensive line. That's one of the reasons -- another being the possibility that Dennis Dixon(notes) is a better player than Byron Leftwich(notes) -- that Dixon had a strong game and Leftwich struggled.
If you wanted to see the Cardinals offense continue to light it up with Matt Leinart(notes) under center instead of Kurt Warner(notes), you were probably disappointed here. Leinart played into the second quarter, and despite three opportunities, didn't lead the Cardinals to a point. Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub were in mid-season form for the Texans, but they lost rookie running back Ben Tate for the season. It's a sad and substantial blow. Larry Fitzgerald(notes) hurt a knee, too, but he's going to be fine.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Starting quarterback David Garrard(notes) didn't have a good night, and backup Luke McCown(notes) did, but this gentleman asks that you don't rush to any "McCown should start!" conclusions. Come on man, that's what preseason is for. It's also for Jack Del Rio being sad about his own defense. Kevin Kolb(notes) was OK for the Eagles -- not spectacular, not terrible. Here's a great breakdown of his performance.
In the brief look we got at the first-teamers running Mike Martz's offense in Chicago, there was some reason for encouragement. Johnny Knox(notes) found some holes, and Jay Cutler(notes) was able to hit him. For the Chargers, rookie runner Ryan Mathews was a breath of fresh air at running back.
Brandon Marshall(notes) had a severe case of the dropsies in his Dolphins debut. In his defense, the early portion of the game was played in a monsoon, but water does not render football uncatchable. The Dolphins offense didn't get much else done in the muck. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, though, was very good. I find him to be one of the truly interesting players of 2010. Well-paid rookie Gerald McCoy found a way to make an impact.
The good news for the Rams? Sam Bradford gave a quality performance in his debut. The bad news for the Rams? He did so while being battered as if he was Marc Bulger(notes). I sense that becoming a theme, and I wonder if the Rams would consider leaving Bradford on the bench, just so his career isn't shortened by a brutal, season-long beating. Sage Rosenfels was magnificent in relief of Tarvaris Jackson(notes), who played just one series for the Vikings. I wasn't aware that Tarvaris had progressed to the point where he no longer needs preseason work.
The Bengals first-team offense was a well-oiled machine, with Carson Palmer(notes) completing 12 of his 15 throws. Terrell Owens(notes) was actually his main target, catching four balls. Chad Ochocinco(notes) only got one. In Denver quarterbacking news, Kyle Orton was very solid, Brady Quinn(notes) was horrific, and Tim Tebow(notes) was somewhere in-between. Quinn did get the No. 2 QB snaps, though.
Two shocking things came out of this game: First, the Cleveland Browns got a performance from a quarterback that wasn't horrifying. Second, Jake Delhomme(notes) played a game of football that didn't leave you concerned about his long-term mental health. Alertly keeping Browns fans' optimism in check, though, Colt McCoy was awful, and also hurt himself. Aaron Rodgers(notes) was dazzling for the Packers, despite the fact that the Browns blitzed the bejeezus out of him. We are concerned about that defense, though. After all, Jake Delhomme had a good night.
The wait for Todd Haley's offensive brilliance to surface continues. The Kansas City offense, quite sadly, looked like it did last year, although Jamaal Charles(notes) and Dexter McCluster(notes) provided some significant glimmers of hope. The Falcons defense looked pretty strong, perhaps mostly because it was playing the Chiefs, and Michael Turner could be primed to wreak all sorts of havoc.
Remember that whole thing where Albert Haynesworth(notes) was upset about having to play a 3-4 defense? No? Neither does Albert Haynesworth. He played well in limited action, and says he loves the defense now. Let me be the first to thank you, Big Al, for all that drama and agitation you produced in what might be the least productive holdout in NFL history. As for the Bills, they're still the Bills. Trent Edwards was inconsistent, and both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson went down with injuries.
Seahawks fans got some confirmation that Charlie Whitehurst might be well worth the price they paid for him. He got a lot of snaps for the Seahawks, and made few missteps. They still couldn't run the ball, though. The Titans got some quality play early on from Vince Young, but then, of course, there was the stomach-wrenching Stafon Johnson incident.