Takeaways and schedule ahead of the 2023 NFL season

NFL NationESPNAugust 11, 2023, 01:10 a.m. ET6 minutes to read

CJ Stroud completed the first pass in the NFL

CJ Stroud connects with Nico Collins for his first NFL completion, and Collins puts a slick bunt on a defender.

Week 1 of the 2023 NFL pre-season kicked off Thursday night, with The New England Patriots host the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks to welcome the Minnesota Vikings.

No. 2 overall CJ Stroud earned his first NFL rep as a starter for the Texans. He went 2-for-4 with 13 yards and an interception before coach DeMeco Ryans turned over to current starter Davis Mills.

Mills went 9 of 12 for 99 yards and a touchdown before Case Keenum took over under center. While the Carolina Panthers named Bryce Young No. 1 overall at the start of training camp, Ryans did not name a player between Stroud and Mills.

On the flip side, Patriots fans will have to wait at least another week to see how quarterback Mack Jones adapts to Bill O’Brien’s new offense.

Watch as Seahawks Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith watches as backup Drew Lock. Seattle’s second first-round draft pick, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, got his first NFL action Thursday night, along with Vikings first baseman Jordan Addison.

Here are the top points from Thursday’s games, along with the rest of the Week 1 pre-season schedule.

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NFL preseason games on Thursday, August 10

Texas: CJ Stroud struggled in his first preseason start, which could allow his quarterback rivalry with Davis Mills to continue. Stroud played two series and went 2-for-4 for 13 yards with an interception. Mills went 9-for-12 for 99 yards with a touchdown. Stroud appeared to break away in the competition as coach DeMeco Ryans gave Stroud all first-team offensive reps in practice as he showed better control of offense. But on his first NFL action, he hesitated, grabbed a sack and threw an interception that led to a Patriots field goal. He was not well-protected, with 60% of pensioners under pressure. On the other hand, Mills led the Texans to their only score of the first half by throwing a touchdown to rookie receiver Tank Dell. – DJ Bayan Aima

Next match: vs. the Dolphins (4 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 19)

Patriots: On a night most of the rookies didn’t play, Keion White appeared in the second round for the first time. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Georgia Tech defensive end started on the edge and was annoying and always around the ball. He finished with three tackles, including a smothered running back Dare Ogunbowale in a loose exchange with quarterback Davis Mills that linebacker Calvin Monson recovered for a turnover. White’s performance, combined with Christian Gonzalez’s first-round selection from the corner kick, infuses the youngsters into an already solid defense that’s holding back every player except Devin McCourty. The Patriots lead the NFL in terms of defensive retention. – Mike Reese

Next match: at Packers (8 p.m. ET, Sat. Aug. 19)

Drew Lock completes a 19-yard TD pass to Jake Bobo

Jake Bobo scores a touchdown off a dime off of Drew Lock in the third quarter.

Seahawks: Drew Lock hasn’t quite put it all together over four seasons in the NFL, but he showed Thursday night why the Seahawks still believe he’s a starting-caliber quarterback. With Geno Smith and most of Seattle’s veteran first-team players, Locke started against Minnesota and played in the fourth quarter, in large part because the Seahawks want to get him as many reps as possible this season after he didn’t play a single snap in the regular season last year. . At times, it looked like it had been scraping off rust from nearly a calendar year on the seat. But he’s mostly shown the tools that made him a second-round pick that Seattle desperately wanted to get in a Russell Wilson trade. Lock completed 17 of 24 passes for 191 yards, two touchdown passes, and a hard-fought interception on a throw that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Brady Henderson

Vikings: Running back Ty Chandler took a prolonged look Thursday night as he battled for the No. 2 job behind rookie Alexander Mathison. Chandler played almost the entire first half, rushing for 41 yards on 11 carries, while also catching four passes for another 29 yards. Along the way, he has shown his ability to make the first defender miss. He did that in the first half, said coach Kevin O’Connell, on some plays that weren’t blocked well. With Ken Nwango sidelined by injury for most of camp and rookie Dewayne McBride struggling, Chandler has a clear path to the No. 2 job at this point. – Kevin Seifert

Next match: Against the Titans (8 p.m. ET, Sat. Aug. 19)

Next match: vs. the Cowboys (10 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 19)

NFL preseason games on Friday, August 11th

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network

New York Giants at Detroit Lions: 7 p.m. ET

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins: 7 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7 p.m. ET

Washington Leaders at Cleveland Browns: 7:30 p.m. ET

Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals: 10 p.m. EST, NFL Network

NFL preseason games on Saturday, August 12th

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills: 1 p.m. ET

Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears: 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers: 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys: 5 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams: 9 p.m. ET, NFL Network

NFL preseason games on Sunday, August 13th

Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints: 1 p.m. EST, NFL Network

San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders: 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network

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