We’re still a few weeks away from the real deal, but there are already plenty of storylines to follow in the NFL’s preseason. As no position is more important than quarterback, many of these storylines revolve around the signal callers. Whether they’re fighting for a job or hoping to establish themselves in the league, here are the quarterbacks to keep an eye on in Week 2 of the preseason.
Trey Lance – San Francisco 49ers
After suffering a season-ending injury in Week 2 last year, the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft now finds himself fighting for his job with the 49ers. Lance had a decent night on paper to start the preseason, going 10/15 for 112 yards and a touchdown, but unfortunately, the tape tells a different story. The QB was sacked four times in the game and his touchdown throw went right through the arms of a defender before being caught for the score.
He’s currently fighting for depth chart positioning with veteran Sam Darnold. If he can’t elevate his play to the level San Francisco was expecting when they drafted him third overall, Lance may really be on the outside looking in and at risk of being let go. However, with such high potential, if he can show a few glimpses in the next few weeks, he may find himself back in a starting role at some point this season. With so much talent on San Francisco’s roster and more than a few question marks surrounding this year’s quarterbacks, Lance’s progression through the preseason is must-watch.
Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos
Last year was nothing short of a disaster for Wilson and the Broncos, but now it’s time to prove that 2022 was an anomaly. Unlike a lot of teams, Denver played their starters for the entire first half against Arizona in Week 1. Despite not going against Arizona’s top players on defence, the result was still underwhelming. Wilson went 7/13 for 93 yards and a score, but the touchdown came from a fourth down play that most likely would not have happened in the regular season.
Wilson and new coach Sean Payton have a ton of pressure on them to perform this year. If the Broncos can’t get more out of their big money QB in 2023, they may be looking to move on just two years after the franchise-altering trade with Seattle. With this in mind, anything Russ does on the field is worth checking in on, preseason or not.
C.J Stroud – Houston Texans
Houston’s rookie quarterback didn’t get much action in Week 1, but hopefully he’ll see a little more of the field this week against Miami after a shaky start. The Ohio State product threw just two completions on four attempts for 13 yards but was also intercepted and kept in control on the ground. The stats may not be great, but the sample size was simply too small in this one.
Although the tough plays are hardly worth worrying about just yet for Texans fans, I would have to assume they’ll want to watch a little more of Stroud in the coming weeks before the games go for real. It’s not just Houston fans that should want to pay attention though, as any quarterback taken with a top three pick of the last draft is certain to garner national attention. He hasn’t been named the starter just yet, but Stroud should see plenty of opportunities to win the spot before the preseason is finished.
Anthony Richardson – Indianapolis Colts
He was touted as a long-term project by many before the draft, but it looks like rookie Anthony Richardson will be thrown right into the fire by Indianapolis. Before being named the team’s starting QB, Richardson went 7/12 for 67 yards and an interception in Week 1 of the preseason. The stats don’t jump off the page, but he was able to showcase some of his incredible athleticism during the game.
Richardson is a freakishly gifted athlete that now holds the key to Indianapolis’ offence. We’ve seen this strategy work for some teams, but it can also permanently hurt the player’s career if things don’t get off to a good start. Obviously, any fan of the NFL should be interested in seeing how things play out for Richardson and the Colts.