NFL Week 2 Preseason Winners & Losers: Running Backs, Rookie QBs Among Top Performers

Week 2 of the NFL preseason is almost over, with only Monday night’s Falcons-Jets game remaining. That means we are well over halfway through the entire exhibition, and about a week away from the final cuts to the roster. The real games are just around the corner. But which players and teams have taken clear steps in the right (or wrong) direction this week?

Here are our biggest winners and losers from the second week of the 2022 preseason promotion:

KaVontae Turpin


The Cowboys already had first-rate offensive weapons in CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz and Tony Pollard. But they may have to find a way to include Turpin as well, after the minor league veteran and recent USFL star logged not one but two return touchdowns in Dallas’ win over the Chargers. If only as a kick or punt return, he’s probably secured a spot on the roster.

Speaking of offensive weapons in the NFC East, Gibson really seems to be losing his grip on the commanders’ main running back job. The rookie’s former luminary, now entering Year 3, recently switched with the second and third team units in training. Against the Chiefs, he was on the sidelines as rookie Brian Robinson Jr. started in the backfield, then made only two runs in total while being relegated to kick-return duties.

Kenny Pickett


The Pittsburgh product would always be the fan favorite in the Steelers QB league, but he was decisive and unfazed in limited action against the Jaguars, making the case with a seamless up-tempo scoring drive that deserves genuine attention as the Week 1 starter about Mitchell Trubisky, who is more experienced, but maybe not more talented.

Not all young AFC North QBs had a good weekend, and Rosen will be the first to admit it after just seven of 20 throws against the Eagles’ third-stringers. He flopped in each of his career stops, his chance to claim No. 3 QB jobs for the Browns behind Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett is all but shot after Joshua Dobbs showed both an efficient arm and a play-extension mobility to keep Cleveland competitive.

Winner: The Racing Game

James Cook


If you’ve been playing preseason fantasy football with second and third tier running backs this week, congratulations. The Bills rolled over the Broncos by deploying every member of their deep backfield: Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, James Cook and Duke Johnson. The Eagles got a steady outburst from Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell with Miles Sanders absent. The Lions trio of Justin Jackson, Craig Reynolds and Godwin Igwebbuike combined for over 100 yards against the Colts. Who says the ground game is dead?

Getting injured isn’t necessarily his fault, but the star Saints player is trying to return to the field for the first time since 2020, and two days after sitting out his second game in a row, he missed training with a hamstring problem. As first-round rookie Chris Olave moves higher and higher, approaching 2022 as New Orleans’ most likely No. 1 target.

Malik Willis, right?


No one expects the third-round rookie to be a polished passer at this point in his career, so just seeing his electricity as a scrambler and the occasional side-armed pitcher should be enough to thrill Titans fans. seduce those who grow impatient with Ryan Tannehill in the middle. No, Willis isn’t about to take over at QB, but you can see, after his mobility and arm angles against the Buccaneers, why Tennessee held up its fall on the draft.

Loser: Kliff Kingsbury

Just kidding. Or are we? The Cardinals coach has jokingly allowed his QB, Kyler Murray, to experiment with play-calling this summer since Murray made it difficult for him to pull off the attack. But when Murray took over the headset against the Ravens late in the Arizona preseason, the Cards’ offense was decidedly more effective, even threatening a comeback after an option touchdown run by backup Trace McSorley. Now let’s see if Kliff abdicates responsibility when it matters.

Winner: Isaiah Probably

Isaiah probably


Looking for a sleeper that’s likely to have a bigger impact on the Ravens’ offense this year than expected? A man who probably justifies some of Lamar Jackson’s red zone goals? And maybe even share Snaps with Mark Andrews? We Can’t Get Enough Probably After The rookie fourth-rounder took off with eight catches for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, consistently finding or creating space against the Arizona defense.

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