Many rookie Tar Heels in the NFL had big coming out parties in their NFL debuts, most notably T.J. Logan, Mack Hollins, and, of course, Mitch Trubisky.
The hope was that they could ride that momentum into further weeks, and their former teammates who didn’t turn as many heads could join them. Unfortunately, that wasn’t really the case this weekend, as only Trubisky got to really shine as the Bears’ third-string quarterback (yes, he’s still behind Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez).
Part of this is due to the normal order of the preseason, wherein the first- and second-string players play more in the second game than they do in the third. Injuries also played a part, as Logan and Ryan Switzer (for the second straight week) were inactive due to injury.
Switzer’s wide receiver counterparts did play, but didn’t do much. Hollins was targeted five times in the Eagles’ win against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. None of those targets were from Carson Wentz, so he was only able to turn one into a reception, and gained just six yards from it.
He is still very much in the conversation for the Eagles’ 53-man roster, though he may have lost some ground after Marcus Johnson’s big day with the starters.
In Indianapolis’ game against Dallas, Bug Howard caught his only target for seven yards, and is currently buried on the Colts’ depth chart. With rumors that they are open to trading Phillip Dorsett through, he may have more of an opportunity to impress in the near future.
Running back Elijah Hood was a little more visible for the Oakland Raiders in their loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He had five carries, and while most of them were stuffed at or near the line, the one time he got daylight, he turned it into a nine-yard run for a first down on third down.
Raiders fans seem to like what they’ve seen from Hood, and being behind Marshawn Lynch can only do good things for his development. Hood was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for injury, but fortunately, it seems that nothing is seriously wrong.
Most eyes, though, were on Trubisky. For the second straight week, he looked like the best quarterback on the Bears’ roster. It only took him four passes for his first incompletion this time around, but he played a clean game, completing 6/8 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. He had a few more rookie moments in this game, taking two sacks and nearly getting intercepted. In the end there was much more good than bad.
Glennon, for comparison, completed 13/18 passes for 89 yards, a score, and an interception. Two more of his passes could have been intercepted, but the defenders were unable to make the plays. Trubisky had an excellent passer rating of 135.4, while Glennon had a poor 75.2. Questions about how long it will take Trubisky to start are only getting louder.
Looking ahead, the third week of the preseason is usually thought of as the closest to regular season action that the preseason has to offer. The rookies’ playing time, and who they get snaps with will likely give us a lot of information as to their chances of making their team. Hopefully, the former Heels can bounce back and show their coaches and the country exactly how good they are.