NFL.com breaks down what you need to know from Week 1 of the 2023 NFL preseason. Catch up on each game's biggest takeaways using the links below:
- Texans WR Tank Dell should push for more playing time. The rookie receiver spun Patriots defensive backs into a tizzy time after time. The 5-foot-8 Houston product was a blur, using quick moves to gain separation and hitting another gear after the catch. In 17 routes run, Dell caught 5 of 8 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. Even when he wasn't targeted, the rookie was open often. Dell was a menace on short routes, getting open off the line, giving the QB an easy target. On three of his five receptions, the wideout generated 3-plus yards of separation, per Next Gen Stats. Dell capped off his night with an acrobatic touchdown grab. The ball initially slipped through his hands, but the rookie stayed with the play, pinning the ball to his leg for the score before sliding out of bounds. In a Texans receiver corps highlighted by Nico Collins, Robert Woods, John Metchie III and Noah Brown, Dell could push for snaps, particularly from the slot. Houston moved him around Thursday (14 wide, three slot). The big question was always Dell's size. If he proves he can get off press coverage when the competition ramps up, he should be a guy who improves as the year wears on.
- Patriots DE Keion White shines in preseason debut. The second-round rookie was all over the field early, discombobulating the Texans' offense. The 6-foot-5 defensive end used unique athleticism to overwhelm Houston's backup tackles, generating three tackles, two pressures and a QB hit. On a botched Texans pitch, White flew into the backfield, blasting running back Dare Ogunbowale so he couldn't retrieve the ball, allowing the Patriots to pounce on the pigskin. A physical specimen, White owns a high-level upside if he becomes consistent. The rookie's performance exemplifies the depth New England boasts upfront. Linebacker Anfernee Jennings was also a menace, and defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale made an excellent move for an early sack. Yes, they were facing a mess of a Texans O-line that was playing backups, but the young Pats reserves showed they could bring juice. It should be a dangerous crew in 2023.
- C.J. Stroud struggles. The No. 2 overall pick played just two series, throwing an interception on the opening drive. Stroud was under siege on his dropbacks and looked slow to pull the trigger. Davis Mills ran the offense with more rhythm. Stroud's first night under the NFL lights, as detailed here, was a rough one thanks in large part to White and the Pats' pass rush.
- Seahawks rookies look solid in preseason debut. Seattle's defense reminded us of last season's struggles, getting gashed up the gut repeatedly. It's a sign the depth on D isn't up to snuff, particularly at linebacker, but given starters didn't play, and it's Aug. 10, freaking out about it seems premature. Instead, let's highlight the young players flashing potential. First-round wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba wasn't prolific (three catches, 25 yards), but his 15-yard snag over the middle showed how he could feast alongside DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Running back Zach Charbonnet boasted a couple of angry runs, plowing over defenders, and flashed pass-catching ability. Fifth-round center Olu Oluwatimi looked solid and could push Evan Brown at the pivot. Second-round outside linebacker Derick Hall showed some pop as a rusher. Defensive end Mike Morris bullied his way for two QB pressures. Even undrafted wideout Jake Bobo stood out, leading the Seahawks with 55 yards and a touchdown. This was all without top draft pick Devon Witherspoon (hamstring) available. There's a long road ahead, but if Seattle gets production out of its rookies, it could be dangerous in a wide-open NFC.
- Vikings RB Ty Chandler gets heavy workload vying for RB2 role. Minnesota entered the first preseason game clearly planning to showcase Chandler. The 2022 fifth-round pick, who missed most of his rookie season due to a thumb injury, was heavily involved from the get-go. He played 78.4% of the first-half snaps, generating 70 scrimmage yards on 15 touches -- 11 carries for 41 yards, four catches for 29 yards. Behind solid blocking Chandler displayed the ability to get north/south, and patience following blocks serves well. Pass-catching ability will help earn more snaps in the regular season. With Alexander Mattison in line to take over the starting role following the departure of Dalvin Cook, the question entering the preseason was how the rest of the committee would shake out. Chandler stated his case emphatically in Seattle.