NFL Notebook: Lance will get a chance

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August 13th, 2021

If you’ve read my stuff regularly, you know I do an MLB notebook every week with a roundup of some of the top stories from around the league. With the National Football League season just around the corner, I’ll be doing a similar rundown for gridiron news and notes as well, and this is the first installment in that series. Let’s dive in!

New England, Pittsburgh win Thursday night

Preseason games are what they are, but the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers got into the win column Thursday with wins over the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles.

Patriots rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson found the end zone twice in his team’s 22-13 victory, while the Steelers rallied from a 13-0 deficit to top their in-state rivals 24-16.

New Orleans installs new COVID-19 policies

This will be the second straight NFL season played during the global pandemic, and the New Orleans Saints aren’t messing around. The franchise announced this week that fans must show proof of either a vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend games at the Superdome.

This is part of a mandate issued throughout the city of New Orleans, and attendance at Saints games will not be capped.

And speaking of the Saints…

Who’ll be starting under center following Drew Brees’s retirement? Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are competing for the job, and ESPN reports neither signal-caller has separated himself from the other at this point in the preseason.

Brees obviously makes for a very tough act to follow, and whichever QB tops the depth chart will need to play at least part of the season without injured wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Lance to get a chance

The San Francisco 49ers have an interesting situation brewing at quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo led the team to the NFC title two seasons ago but missed most of the 2020 campaign due to injury. He’ll play the first series of Saturday’s preseason lid-lifter against the Chiefs, but most of the first-half work will go to rookie Trey Lance, who was picked third in this year’s draft.

Garoppolo is in the penultimate year of a lucrative contract that pays him more than $24 million in both 2021 and 2022, and it will be fascinating to see how all of this plays out.