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Before you know it, we'll all be sitting back and watching the NFL. In fact, the preseason is right around the corner with the Hall of Fame Game set for Aug. 1 and the rest of the preseason set to kick off on Thursday, Aug. 8 with a doubleheader featuring the Panthers vs. Patriots and the Lions vs. Giants

On Friday, the NFL released its full preseason schedule, which naturally had us chomping at the bit for our football fix. It also got us thinking -- What are we most excited about when the exhibition season rolls around? Of course, excitement can only run so high for games that don't count, but there are a handful of storylines that'll be worth your attention when we get there. 

Here's a look at the five things we're most looking forward to this preseason. 

1. First in-game look at new kickoff rule 

In case you missed it, games are going to look quite a bit different this season after the league agreed to change the kickoff rules for the 2024 campaign. The kicker will be in his normal spot, but the rest of the 21 players on the field will be in the receiving team's territory. The 10 players on the kicking team will line up on the receiving team's 40-yard line, while the receiving team can have up to two players as returners and the rest will line up in the setup zone, which is a 5-yard area that runs from the receiving team's 30 to its 35-yard line. 

It's going to be a drastic change for both teams and fans, so seeing it play out during the preseason will be fascinating to watch unfold, from how teams will deploy their returners to whether or not it makes for a more exciting play. 

2. Rookie QBs pushing to start Week 1

One of the big storylines surrounding every preseason is young quarterbacks -- largely drafted in the first round -- pushing for QB1 status to begin the year. We already know that Caleb Williams is set to start out of the gate for the Chicago Bears, but it'll be interesting to see whether or not Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy will be able to claw their way atop the depth chart during the summer. Of course, it's only a matter of time until they all take the reins as the starter, but a strong preseason could have each of them land that job sooner rather than later. On the flip side, if they struggle, it'll certainly set off some alarm bells. 

3. Michael Penix Jr. vs. Kirk Cousins

This sort of falls in line with what we were talking about above, but the situation in Atlanta deserves its own category. When the club signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million deal at the start of free agency it seemed like they had solved their quarterback problem for the foreseeable future. Then, the Falcons had the NFL's jaw hit the floor when they selected Washington's Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick, a decision that Cousins apparently didn't know about until moments before. This now creates a fascinating -- and possibly awkward -- situation for the team. 

While Cousins is looked at as the clear-cut starter at the moment, he is 35 years old and coming off a season-ending Achilles tear. What if he struggles to get back into the swing of things? What if Penix looks awesome in training camp and that transfers in the preseason? That would certainly create one heck of a quarterback controversy. 

4. Justin Fields vs. Russell Wilson

The Pittsburgh Steelers overhauled its quarterback room this offseason by trading away former first-round pick Kenny Pickett and bringing in both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Those two veterans will now duke it out throughout training camp and the preseason to determine who'll be the team's starter in Week 1. Wilson is a former Super Bowl champion, but had fallen on hard times in recent seasons with his tenure with the Broncos being largely underwhelming. Meanwhile, Fields was ousted from Chicago after the Bears secured the No. 1 overall pick which landed it Caleb Williams. Given his age, Fields has the better long-term upside. If he outright wins the job, it will be interesting to see if Wilson would stick around as the backup or possibly part ways with the organization to seek out a starting job elsewhere. 

5. New eras in New England and Seattle

Coaching turnover is commonplace in the NFL, but not for the Patriots and Seahawks -- two franchises that had stability at the head-coaching position for decades. That was, however, until this offseason when New England parted ways with Bill Belichick after 24 seasons with the franchise and Seattle had a mutual agreement for Pete Carroll to step down after 14 seasons. 

The Patriots have since promoted Jerod Mayo to be their new head coach and the Seahawks hired former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to run their club. How each of these first-year coaches operate from the sideline will be worth monitoring and, particularly in the case of Mayo who coached under Belichick, how they are different from their predecessors.