Rock and A Hard PlaceAugust 29, 2011
by Jonathan Reynolds
The preseason, to play or not to play? That is the question that I ask. Every season this is one of the toughest decisions facing head coaches around the league. How much is too much playing time? I don’t want to get my starters injured. How much is not enough? I need to make sure my rookies get some time and that my veterans get enough reps to knock the rust off. I have to admit it is a tough decision. How many of the veterans actually need extended reps? The QBs and WRs definitely need to be on the same page but every snap is one snap closer to a potential season ending injury.
Arian Foster came up a little gimpy with a hamstring against the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend. Wes Welker injured his neck against the Detroit Lions on Saturday. Both of these injuries seem to be insignificant, but I think both teams would agree that they were too close for comfort. The success of the Patriots and Texans seasons largely hinges on having these two key players. And while both will most likely be ready for week 1 there must have been an enormous lump in the throats of Pats and Texans fans everywhere. Broncos LB D.J. Williams dislocated his elbow agains the Seattle Seahawks and will likely miss 3-4 weeks. Williams is the Broncos leading tackler and and a budding star in the NFL and now he will miss the first few games of the season. While losing a LB may not be as significant as losing Welker or Foster the Broncos will no doubt miss his leadership and sure tackling. I guess the good news is that the majority of NFL teams got through week three unscathed. Week 3 is the most perilous because that is the game where the starters get the majority of the snaps. I hope I’m not speaking too soon and that the Giants and the Jets make it through Monday night’s game without any serious incident.
The funny part is the people who are maybe more nervous about the preseason than anyone else are the Fantasy geeks all over the world. I have to admit I fall into that category; I am the geekiest of all fantasy geeks. Every year I tell myself to only play in one league and every year I end up playing in 3 or 4…sad I know. I have learned my lesson though. All of my leagues draft after week three is over. I am sure, somewhere there were fantasy nerds that drafted Arian Foster and saw him pull up lame against the 9ers and immediately began screaming at the television and breaking their precious Joe Montana action figures and Pro Football Hall of Fame commemorative mugs. Come on people. You have to draft after week 3! I can’t say I feel sorry for you if you don’t adhere to this simple maxim.
There is a real simple answer to this quandary. Cut the Preseason to 2 games. Easy right? I mean it gives you enough snaps to be able to evaluate new talent and lets your vets get back in the flow of things. But you know as well as I do that there is no way in hell the NFL will every give up 2 games where every team can charge regular season prices. Yes folks, it unfortunately is all about money. I just hope there is a voice of reason on there that doesn’t allow the regular season to go to an 18 or more game schedule. This is the greatest game in the world. It is perfect. Please don’t change it!