Preseason of frustration, domination

Giant concerns on offense: During the Hall of Fame game, New York Giants starter Eli Manning looked OK throwing short passes. Over the past two weeks, he looks lost. He was 1-for-7 in Indianapolis on Saturday. Expect a tough week of practice to get things right as Eli heads into his final tune-up against the Jets on Friday.

Rookies are getting it done: Teddy Bridgewater did a nice job of sparking a come-from-behind victory for the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night, but Matt Cassel looked too efficient at the beginning of the game to lose the starting job. Cassel was 12-for-16 with a TD pass. ... Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick, exploded into the backfield on two rushes. The Texans might have indeed drafted the best player in the 2014 draft. ... Jets safety Calvin Pryor was impressive with his hits and playmaking ability on several plays Saturday night. ... Blake Bortles continues to look like the best rookie quarterback in the 2014 draft, but the Jacksonville Jaguars are wise to not start him early.

Question marks in Atlanta, Chicago: While the Atlanta Falcons have improved their toughness and ability to win battles at the line of scrimmage, they aren't particularly deep in the trenches. They can survive losing Sam Baker to a knee injury by possibly moving Jake Matthews from right tackle to left, but one more major injury along the line could set everything backward. ... Even though the Chicago Bears didn't game plan, they have to be concerned about a defense that gave up 75- and 41-yard scoring drives to Jacksonville's Chad Henne. ... Rams halfback Isaiah Pead became the 11th player to blow out an ACL since the start of training camp.

From the inbox

Q: I watched the Eagles-Patriots and Titans-Saints games, and the penalties were getting old. I know Jimmy Graham will not dunk in the regular season, but what about the other flags? I'm a Saints fan, and I know Seattle got away with a lot, but come on, man. This is football. At some point don't the refs have to let the guys win it on the field? I think the Who Dats can win it all, like Seattle did last year, with hard hitters in the back such as Rafael Bush, Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd. Are the refs really going to call every touch foul in the real season?

Willy in Shreveport, Louisiana

A: I agree about the abundance of penalties, but we knew this was going to be painful when we heard a month ago about this emphasis on throwing flags. The Saints game was the worst, and Sean Payton expressed his frustration afterward. The refs will ease things up once the regular season begins, but they aren't going to let defenders constantly grab and hold pass-catchers. As for the Saints, they are in great spot to get the No. 1 seed, but they have to make sure they don't hurt their chances with penalties and mistakes.

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