Chris Horton (right) had an impressive NFL debut - photo by Greg Burmann

Chris Horton (right) had an impressive NFL debut - photo by Greg Burmann

OK its only the pre-season, with the likelihood of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison or Dwight Freeney even suiting up for the Hall of Fame Game the same as Elvis Presley doing the half-time show at the next Superbowl.

It doesn’t matter however as we have seen our first collective glimpse of the 2008 season, albeit an artificial one, with undrafted free agents, obscure rookies and third string quarterbacks steering their ships. 

I for one will eat my own Art Monk Hall of Fame commemorative hat (ordered directly from Canton) if Jared Lorenzen gets as many regular season snaps as an Indianapolis Colt as he did on Sunday.  

It may surprise all you non UK based blog readers that in England (and Scotland) we actually get to see about 7 or 8 NFL pre-season games live over here on satellite television (Sky Sports). Its only the second year that Sky Sports have shown these games, but to all UK fans it is a big bonus getting to see the rookies that were drafted in April try to prove themselves in what are essentially games that you want to get through without injury more than you actually want to win.

So what were my impressions of the Hall of Fame game between the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts….

1) Redskins rookie free safety Chris Horton managed to recover a fumbled onside kick, get two sacks on Jared ‘the human barrell’ Lorenzen and even register 5 tackles. The 23 year old from UCLA is fighting for a roster spot and in my eyes played his heart out. With Stuart Schweigert cut from the team today and Reed Doughty just not good enough to become a pro-bowler it is up to Horton to prove that this game was no fluke.

2) Redskins quarterbacks only managed two incompletions in the game, up until they bought on 4th stringer Derek Devine, who went 0-1. Skins head coach Jim Zorn must like Devine as he was a Seahawk in 2007, but with Jason Campbell looking confident tossing an early to to Antuwan Randl El, Todd Collins looking like a prototypical veteran backup and Colt Brennan and his bizarre side slinging action looking mightily impressive against the Colts backup db’s Devine may not be seeing a lot of action very soon.

3) The Colts are true poker players, like most of the NFL teams in the early pre-season they will not reveal their hand at such an early point in August. It was good to see Dominic Rhodes back in the blue and white uniform of Indy, and judging by his cameo appearance he will play an important role in 2008. As for any real analysis it’s bloody hard as 8 different Colts ran the ball and 13 Colts caught passes.

Above all we have NFL football back on our tv screens in England and America, and aside from the Brett Favre nonsense, I’m enjoying every minute of NFL pre-season action, even though it does not in any way reflect the potential of any of the 32 NFL teams.

Coach Zorn knows that this game means nothing, but he will have a small smile on his face this week knowing that the season is a month away and his team are already clicking.

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