Sam Darnold turned the ball over 22 times this past season. Josh Allen completed 56 percent of his passes. Baker Mayfield was tackled by a police officer after trying to run from law enforcement.
But when NFL teams look at those quarterbacks, they see problems that can be fixed. On-field decision-making and accuracy and off-field discipline that can be taught and monitored.
Bleacher Report spent the past month doing our own investigation into the investigation, so to speak, asking scouts, coaches and executives what conclusions they’ve reached. We also channeled our inner Rosen, asking those NFL decision-makers: Why does this question matter so much, and what does it even mean?
You try to talk to [the player] about the nuances of the position, one scout said when asked how and why he attempts to determine if a prospect loves football. Does he want to work at it? Not just during the season, but what’s he going to do all offseason?
In other words, teams want a player, and especially a quarterback, to be personally invested enough that they know he’ll do what it takes to better himself as a professional.
The opener, in Oakland, will take place between Aug. 9-12. The trip to Tampa Bay will be the third preseason game for both teams. Commonly considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season, the contest will nationally televised, airing on CBS at 8 p.m. on Aug. 24.
Detroit’s two home opponents will be the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. The Giants come to Ford Field between Aug. 16-19, while the Browns will be in town for the finale on either Aug. 30 or 31. This will be the 47th time the two franchises have met in the preseason.
Noticeably absent from the Lions’ list of preseason opponents are the Buffalo Bills. The two teams had gone head-to-head every year since 2002. They are scheduled to meet in Buffalo during the regular season later this year.