NFL Week 2 Preseason Observations: Brock Purdy, C.J. Stroud, Aaron Rodgers, and More

    With the majority of Week 2 of the NFL preseason in the books, what are the main takeaways, including Brock Purdy, C.J. Stroud, and Aaron Rodgers?

    Week 2 of the 2023 NFL preseason is almost in the books, and while it’s still only the preseason, there are still some tangible takeaways from the on-field action. Let’s take a look at the top takeaways from Week 2 of the NFL preseason.

    Week 2 NFL Preseason Takeaways: Brock Purdy Returns

    It was good to see Brock Purdy back for the 49ers. They wanted to get him 10 to 15 snaps. This was his first game since tearing the elbow in the NFC Championship Game, and, more importantly, took a hit. Normally you need that first hit to let everybody know everything’s gonna be OK.

    Purdy was reasonably efficient when on the field, completing four of five passes for 65 yards. He also added an eight-yard scramble, all of which are promising signs that the second-year QB is rebuilding that confidence on the field post-injury.

    Despite solid showings from both Trey Lance and Sam Darnold, this appearance puts Purdy on track to be the starter for the 49ers in Week 1.

    Jaxon Smith-Njigba Flashes Big-Play Ability for Seattle Seahawks

    Seattle Seahawks rookie wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is going to be a problem for opposing defenses. He had some flash plays against the Cowboys, including a 48-yard reception from Drew Lock in the second quarter. Smith-Njigba was also on the field for the first Cowboys’ punt of the game, suggesting he could have a special-teams role this season.

    More important than the performance itself is the math for opposing defenses this year. When you have DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett on the field, that means you’re going to have Smith-Njigba lined up many times against the third-best cornerback for opposing defenses. That’s a matchup that Geno Smith and Seattle’s offense can exploit.

    C.J. Stroud Shows Improvement in Week 2 of the Preseason

    After a tough first week under center for the Houston Texans, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud looked much better in the team’s second preseason game.

    Starting the game against the Miami Dolphins, he went 7 of 12 for 60 yards. Those numbers may not seem that great, but it’s much better than 2 for 4 with an interception and 13 yards that he had against the New England Patriots in Week 1.

    More important than the numbers, Stroud looked more comfortable on the field this week. Additionally, Davis Mills struggled after replacing him, going 10 for 22 for 94 yards. I fully expect Stroud to be named the Texans’ starter sooner rather than later.

    A Rare Preseason Aaron Rodgers Sighting

    While this isn’t an on-the-field observation from Week 2, it might be one of the most consequential things looking ahead. The New York Jets announced that Aaron Rodgers will play in the preseason Week 3 game against the New York Giants.

    Why is that significant? Rodgers hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2018. It’ll be his first preseason action in five years when he takes to the field this Saturday.

    The Jets just want to get him some reps and have him feel a little comfortable with the starting unit, especially an offensive line that has been much discussed in recent weeks.

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