After a full slate of games, there’s a lot of work to be done for players and teams around the NFL heading into preseason Week 2.

This time of year is a pressure cooker for everyone. But some players in particular find themselves in need of a big-time breakthrough. We’ll be focusing on that group for the purposes of this list.

These 21 players all need to step up in a big way heading into preseason Week 2.

AJ McCarron, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

McCarron wasn’t bad Thursday night during his team’s first exhibition game of the summer. The issue he’s facing now is that his main competition for the starting job — Nathan Peterman — had a very strong outing, especially on the game’s opening drive dishing to the team’s top receiver, Kelvin Benjamin.

This has been the big issue for McCarron since joining Buffalo. He’s just simply done nothing that screams “Start me!” If he has any hope of earning the starting job, then the former Cincinnati Bengals backup needs to step up in a big way and prove it in the coming weeks.

Duke Riley, linebacker, Atlanta Falcons

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