The NFL season has officially begun….in a way.
The Bears and Ravens faced off in the first game of the NFL’s preseason at the Hall of Fame game Thursday. This was the first chance anyone got to see Lamar Jackson in an NFL offense.
It was also Ray Lewis’ first chance to speak during his Hall of Fame weekend.
It just so happened both occurrences happened at the same time. That leads off our three takeaways.
Three takeaways from the Hall of Fame game
1. Lamar Jackson’s debut featured…Ray Lewis?: The undisputed most anticipated moment of the NFL’s Hall of Fame game Thursday was Lamar Jackson’s debut in an NFL offense. Fans waited an entire half to see Jackson play for the Ravens and when he made his way out onto the field there were certainly some fans on the edge of their seat to not only see Jackson play, but to hear some comments on his performance.
What they got was Ray Lewis talking for two minutes and six seconds and not a word about Jackson’s debut.
Throughout the night, NBC took the time to speak to each man being inducted into the Hall of Fame and they decided to interview Lewis to start the second half. It probably wasn’t the wisest decision as Lewis predictably went too long and Jackson, possibly unpredictably, went too short as his opening series resulted in a three and out.
It’s not hyperbole to call the moment unsatisfying.
2. Gear up for the new helmet rule: The NFL’s new helmet rule which penalizes any player for lowering his head when making a hit on an opponent was in full effect Thursday, as it took the referees all of one series to throw a flag on just that penalty.
It even impacted a touchdown as on a Lamar Jackson pass intended for Hayden Hurst on a 3rd down in the red zone in the second half. A defender was called for the foul on a play which was questionable the safety even made contact with the helmet, much less lowered it.
Something tells us we’re going to be begging for the NFL’s controversial catch rule problems we had over the last few years over this penalty in the first few weeks.
3. An interesting preview for Matt Nagy: While this was Game 1 for new Bears coach Matt Nagy, it wasn’t exactly a clean slate for the man’s offense as Chase Daniel started the game for the Bears after he has been on offenses involving Nagy with both the Eagles and the Chiefs.
While the receivers may have had a limited route tree, it would be hard to believe Daniel had a limited playbook because he knows the man’s offense. Despite that knowledge though he still threw two interceptions and the offense didn’t exactly go along without a hitch.
Some of that looked like it had to do with some confusion on option routes, but still, it didn’t look like a QB running an offense he knows. It just goes to show that it will take some time for the Bears and Nagy to hit their stride.