Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We talkin bout practice?

I lust for preseason football more than most. Finally, we start hearing less about baseball, NASCAR, and other "sports" and more about what really matters: football. But here's the thing: Unless you read individual practice reports such as this one, preaseason football doesn't offer much to the casual fan. However, if that four hour baseball game can't hold your interest, here are a few things to know about preseason football:

1. If you catch any preseason games, know when the starters are playing against starters. NFL players shrink from 2400 to 15oo before the season starts. Everyone looks good against guys who will be selling cell phones in a few weeks.

2. Holdouts matter. Rookies don't care because they want to get paid but NFL schemes and responsibilities are so complicated that even rookies who report to training camps on time struggle to learn everything. Cutting "class" time and conditioning in half means that rookie holdouts are both less effective in their first year and more likely to get injured. Chris "Beanie" Wells can now ask his agent to "Show me the knee brace!"

3. Pray for your favorite players. Every year, coaches face the age old dilemma: If they don't force their players to hit each other, they won't be ready for the regular season violence. If they do force them to "go to the ground," friendly fire casualties become inevitable. Stewart Bradley, one of my favorite players, is already out for the season.

4. Preseason interviews are worthless. I tend to think most football interviews are worthless but never moreso than in the preseason. What's to say? "Guys looked good in practice but they have more to learn?" "As a team we are not focused on what happened last year?" "We are really coming together as a team?" Everyone's undefeated in August.

5. The fourth quarter is still the most exciting. You won't see any of your old favorites playing in the fourth quarter of a preaseason game but you may find some new ones. This is where Joe the Undrafted Football Player literally has his 15 minutes to earn his way onto an NFL roster. As head coach Raheem Morris might put it, "30 dogs, eight bones."

1 comment:

GnightMoon said...

Agreed on holdouts - stock dropping, Roddy White.