In case you missed it, the Cleveland Browns opened the NFL preseason with a 21-16 win over the New York Jets in Canton, Ohio.
5 Takeaways from HOF Game:
- The Cleveland Browns should have no issue scoring in 2023. Teams averaged 22 points per game in 2023, and the Browns ended the game with 21 points with nothing but backups playing.
- Zach Wilson looked improved in his first game action since 2022. He was considered a major project for the Jets after getting benched last season, but he appears to have some promise still. Two seasons sitting behind future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers should help Wilson’s game tremendously.
- Aaron Rodgers seems much happier in New York than he did during the end of his time in Green Bay. Rodgers was gifted a No. 8 chain (his jersey number with the Jets) from cornerback Sauce Gardner after he sat courtside at New York Knicks games and New York Rangers games, and he went to Taylor Swift concerts. Rodgers also says he is excited to mentor and teach Zach Wilson. Overall, the split between Rodgers and the Packers seems to have been needed on both sides.
- The New York Jets have a bunch of former Packers on their roster. Like…a lot of former Packers, nine to be exact: Rodgers and quarterback Tim Boyle; wide receivers Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Malik Taylor; offensive linemen Billy Turner and Adam Pankey, safety Adrian Amos, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur had an interesting name for the Jets today in an interview with Tom Pelissero: Green Bay East.
- Demarcus Ware can actually sing? It appears so, as he sang the National Anthem prior to the Hall of Fame Game. His reasoning: He and his late teammate Demaryius Thomas would sing it during their time in Denver, and to honor his memory, Ware chose to sing the anthem before the game.
NFL Hall of Fame Game Preview
The NFL season is here! The Hall of Fame Game will kick off the 2023 preseason, and even though both teams, the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, have plenty of Alabama Crimson Tide players on their rosters, fans may not see too many of them on the field for this exhibition.Regardless, here are five things to look for:
- It’s football. Exactly 171 days after Super Bowl LVII, the Jets and the Browns will kick off the 2023 preseason with the Hall of Fame game. Many stars on both sides won’t play, with Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and Nick Chubb already confirmed to be sitting out. Still, fans should be interested in the first taste of the return of the biggest sport in the United States after a football drought.
- Key matchups: The Browns offensive line vs. the Jets defensive line. The Browns are rated as the NFL’s fifth-best offensive line according to Warren Sharp’s Football Analysis, which includes former Alabama Crimson Tide standout Jedrick Wills Jr, who plays left tackle. On the Jets defensive line, Quinnen Williams has been a game-wrecker since he entered the league. While he would not line up against Wills, Williams would have a big matchup against the interior of the Browns offensive line. Realistically though, neither player will probably play much, if at all.
- Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper will more than likely not play as well.
- Dalvin Tomlinson, a recent addition to the Browns defensive line, might get some playing time since he signed with Cleveland during free agency. Tomlinson was a second-round pick by the New York Giants in the 2017 NFL draft and finished out his rookie contract with the Giants in 2020. Following his time with the Giants, Tomlinson signed with the Vikings in 2021, where he spent two seasons in Minnesota. He signed with Cleveland in March 2022. His best season came in 2019 with the Giants, where he had 49 total tackles, three-and-a-half sacks, and one forced fumble.
- Zach Wilson was benched in 2022, whether due to injury or poor play, is not confirmed. He is slated to start the Hall of Fame Game for the Jets. After spending an offseason learning behind four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, could we see some new tricks and techniques from Zach Wilson?
How to Watch the NFL Hall of Fame Game
New York Jets vs. Cleveland Browns (Canton, Ohio), 7:00 p.m., CT, NBC