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    September 14, 2018 12:45 pm IST
    Welcome to the NFL [url=http://www.49erscheapstore.com/trent-taylor-jersey-cheap]Trent Taylor Jersey[/url] , Baker Mayfield.

    And welcome back to the league, Andrew Luck.

    While the opening preseason game for most teams carries little intrigue as players from the back end of the roster try to strut their stuff, several story lines will be worth following Thursday night.

    Start in the New Jersey Meadowlands and in Seattle.

    Top overall draft pick Mayfield will see some action against the Giants, who have their own prized rookie in second overall selection Saquon Barkley. The Browns might not be counting on too much from Mayfield early on as veteran Tyrod Taylor is Cleveland’s starter, but New York expects a huge boost for its offense from the Penn State running back.

    On the other coast, the Colts plan for their recently luckless quarterback to take some snaps against the Seahawks. Luck hurt the right shoulder in September 2015 against Tennessee, missed two games, then returned to make four more starts before sustaining a season-ending lacerated kidney. He played through shoulder pain in 2016, then had surgery that sidelined him for all of last season.

    It’s been roughly 600 days between starts for the Colts star.

    Elsewhere on the first full night of preseason games, it’s Carolina at Buffalo, Chicago at Cincinnati, New Orleans at Jacksonville, Tampa Bay at Miami [url=http://www.dolphinscheapstore.com/ryan-tannehill-jersey-cheap]Ryan Tannehill Jersey[/url] , Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore, Washington at New England, Tennessee at Green Bay, Houston at Kansas City, and Dallas at San Francisco.

    What to look for Thursday night around the league:

    BAKER AND BARKLEY

    Brimming with optimism coming off a 0-16 season, Cleveland’s plan is to have Mayfield sit and learn as a rookie behind Taylor, who will start at MetLife Stadium and play one or two series before giving way to Mayfield, who is expected to play two quarters.

    “When you get the energy level up, you’ve got to be able to execute, so that’s why I’m excited about Thursday as well,” Mayfield said. “You get people hyped up, you actually get some contact in and you can focus in and do your job when there are distractions around.”

    New Giants coach Pat Shurmur [url=http://www.patriotscheapstore.com/stephon-gilmore-jersey-cheap]Stephon Gilmore Jersey[/url] , who led the Browns in 2011-12, hasn’t indicated how much Barkley will play.

    “I am hoping I am good to go for that game,” Barkley said. “I am more than capable to playing now. I am just happy inside to play in my first NFL game. Hopefully I can maximize every rep.”

    LUCKY COLTS

    Luck is expected to play most of the first quarter, likely one or two series playing in a revamped offense with an overhauled offensive line.

    “I’ll be excited and a little nervous,” Luck said. “There were one or two moments where I wondered if, ‘Am I ever going to be able to do this again?'”

    Seattle is also revamped. The names Sherman, Avril, Bennett and Chancellor that used to don the backs of jerseys are no longer around. It’ll be the first look at an overhauled defense where the big questions center on the secondary — star safety Earl Thomas is holding out — and what kind of pass rush can be generated.

    VRABEL’S DEBUT

    Mike Vrabel says he really hasn’t spent much time thinking of any pregame speech in his debut as Titans coach.

    “Never really got a great motivational speech as a professional athlete,” Vrabel said. “Just had a job to do, was prepared, knew the game plan and went out and played.”

    Another man with Patriots ties, cornerback Malcolm Butler, plays his first game for Tennessee. He most memorably was benched on defense for the Super Bowl in February even as New England’s secondary was torn apart by Philadelphia.

    A season-ending knee injury to Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan left a hole in the run defense. Third-round pick Oren Burks will get the first chance at replacing Ryan in the base defense.

    FLORIDA MATCHUP

    Miami’s eyes will be on Ryan Tannehill [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/amara-darboh-jersey-cheap]Amara Darboh Jersey[/url] , who like Luck sat out last season when injured. He’ll make a brief appearance against Tampa Bay, which won’t have top draftee DT Vita Vea (calf injury).

    PENNSYLVANIA MATCHUP

    Two teams with Super Bowl possibilities, though the regulars barely will get on the field.

    Pittsburgh, of course, is without outstanding running back Le’Veon Bell, who is holding out. All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown and QB Ben Roethlisberger will sit.

    With Carson Wentz still not cleared for contact and Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, sidelined by muscle spasms in his shoulder and neck, third-year pro QB Nate Sudfeld starts.

    CALIFORNIA MATCHUP

    No, the Cowboys don’t call California home. They do spend a few weeks there in the summer, and now they’ll visit the 49ers.

    Dallas is searching for leadership with tight end Jason Witten gone to ESPN and WR Dez Bryant cut.

    San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, 7-0 as a starter in his four-year career, will be taking his first snaps in a game since signing a five-year [url=http://www.49erscheapstore.com/roger-craig-jersey-cheap]Roger Craig Jersey[/url] , $137.5 million contract. He’s looked good during training camp.

    POUNDING THE ROCK

    New Orleans and Jacksonville expect to get a brief look at their revamped ground games.

    Saints running back Terrance West is trying to prove he’s the guy to fill in for Pro Bowl starter Mark Ingram, who will serve a four-game suspension to start the regular season.

    Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette dropped more than 15 pounds since the start of last season and will have a retooled line with All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell.

    “I feel healthier,” said Fournette, down to 223 pounds thanks partly to 50 push-ups a night. “I want to be great. That is my w The Houston Texans have signed four unrestricted free agents led by cornerback Aaron Colvin and re-signed seven of their own free agents, including veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph.

    Houston also signed center Zach Fulton, tackle Seantrel Henderson and guard Senio Kelemete and re-signed defensive end Angelo Blackson, receiver Bruce Ellington, outside linebacker Ufomba Kamalu, punter Shane Lechler, safety Corey Moore and inside linebacker Brian Peters.

    Colvin played for the Jaguars the past four seasons where he had 164 tackles, 14 passes defended and 12 tackles for losses. A fourth-round pick in 2014, Colvin appeared in every game for the Jaguars last season and had his first career interception in Jacksonville's playoff game against the Bills.

    Fulton has started 46 games over the past four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and Henderson started at right tackle in 26 games combined for the Buffalo Bills over the past four seasons. Kelemete started eight regular-season games for New Orleans last season and appeared in both of the team's playoff games.

    Joseph is a 12-year veteran who has spent the past seven seasons in Houston. He has started 103 games for the Texans and has 14 interceptions and 329 tackles.

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