1. Marcus Mariota is going to be very, very good.
Mariota has been fantastic so far. Anyone that tells you otherwise is wrong. Marcus has shown a great understanding for Whisenhunt's notoriously complex playbook. He's been comfortable from day one. If he's this far along already, imagine where he will be in three years.
2. The offensive line is still a big problem.
The new combination of Lewan, Bell, Schwenke, Warmack, Poutasi was a definite improvement. The game against the Rams was a sign of encouragement, but they failed to back it up the next week. I'm not sure that they can consistently run the ball, which will be a big issue in season.
3. Brian Orakpo will be a major difference maker.
Orakpo displayed burst and explosion off of the edge this preseason. He was a consistent performer, impacting both the run and the pass. If he can stay healthy, he and Derrick Morgan should form a nice duo. Throw in Jurrell Casey and you have the makings of a legitimate pass rush. Everything depends on Orakpo's health, however.
4. Inside linebacker is a weak spot on the roster.
Zach Brown and Avery Williamson had their rough spots this preseason. Both struggled in zone coverage, especially back in Atlanta. Brown in particular missed several tackles against the Vikings. This is a real area of need and could be addressed on the waiver wire in the coming days.
5. Dorial Green-Beckham has a shot to be very good, very early.
I'll be honest -- I was expecting more rust from DGB. He's come in and made his impact early and often, developing from his Missouri days as a route runner. He's learning on the fly and has shown us flashes of brilliance early on. His athletic ability and 6-5, 230 pound frame will make him a must play in the redzone. I'm interested to see how much he plays early on.
6. Justin Hunter is a lost cause.
I used to think he had a role on the team. Now, I've lost hope. The coaches even tried making positive comments to encourage him along, but it just didn't translate on the field. We kept hearing about how he was having a great camp, but he still can't catch contested footballs. It's time to move on.
7. Ken Whisenhunt may have gotten a bad rap last year.
We all loved to rip on Whisenhunt last season, but that may have been unfair. Some of it -- like his running back usage -- was justified, but he's shown some adaptation this season. He's thrown some wrinkles into the offense for Mariota that have made it easier on him. He's been great as a play-caller this preseason, allowing Marcus to get in a rhythm and stay in one. We'll see what the full bag of tricks holds, but the preview has been great so far.
8. No running back stepped up and owned the number one role.
This was one of the more disappointing spots of the roster. Bishop Sankey flashed against the Rams, but did nothing else. David Cobb was banged up and Antonio Andrews didn't get much work with the first team. Dexter McCluster did some nice things, but he is a role player at best. They are going to roll with Sankey predominantly, but I'm not sure of anyone that feels great about that. The run game is going to be a struggle once again this season, it appears.