Preseason football: Why not to get too high, too low, or dismiss it out of hand (1 Viewer)

Sniper Wolf

Banned
Joined
Nov 7, 2003
Messages
10,518
Reaction score
6,713
Age
41
Offline
Talk about how much wins and losses and other assorted preseason football issues are cropping up more and more 'round here. With that in mind, maybe it's time to take a bit more in depth look at what preseason football is really all about.

First on the list is the question of whether wins or losses count and how much so. The first bit there is quite simply that NFL players by nature are highly competitive creatures on the football field. If they weren't they would never have reached the professional level. If you manage to catch a player in an unguarded moment, I imagine all of them will confess to wanting to win every game that he steps foot on the field for, including preseason games. People like winning after all. Leaves a nice warm feeling in the cockles of the heart.

The flip side of that is that teams do not approach a preseason game in nearly the same way as they do any other game. There is usually no gameplanning, no studying of opponent strength and weakness, no tailoring of a scripted few early offensive and defensive plays to probe the other team. In short, it's atypical for a coaching staff to give a flip about preparing the team to win. Preseason to coaches is the perfect time to evaluate both individual players and components of their schemes. Bullets are flying but the final result won't count against them later. Coaches spend most of their time getting ready for a game deciding who plays when and with what other players and what kinds of plays they're gonna call to see what the players and squads are gonna do right. Things that are normally not as huge a component of normal gameplans, which is kinda what we saw with the Saints running the ball more often, are brought front and center for the express purpose of later pouring over the films and see what's going right and what's going wrong. All with the intent of preparing for the regular season. Now, to be fair, some coaches do prepare their guys to win preseason football games sometimes. It's done in a coaching attempt to set a good tone before it becomes real.

So, to sum all that up, preseason football wins and losses do not matter all that much, unless the coach has been drilling it into the team to get a win. As a fan, don't get too caught up in it, unless you really don't like the team the Saints are facing.

Now, that's not to say that just because the wins and losses are ultimately meaningless that preseason games don't matter at all. Above are listed all the reasons that players and coaches do the whole exercise, but that doesn't give fans anything to watch. There are reasons for fans to pay some attention to preseason football.

Preseason is a time of players knocking off rust and getting into football shape. I know the second part doesn't sound much more than a catchy buzz term, so here's what that means. Since Jan or Feb, NFL players haven't been getting hit. Football shape means just that, getting your body readjusted to and ready for getting hit. O and D linemen spend all game knocking each other around. Having a body prepared for that is something you can only do by hitting and getting hit. Same with offensive skill positions and defensive backfields. Ask any boxer, martial artist, MMA fighter, or even pro wrestler if hitting and getting hit doesn't take constant work to get ready for. With that in mind, fans should watch how well their team is hitting and getting hit. Guys getting the snot nailed out of them late in the preseason is a not great thing to see. Watching how well the lines progress through the preseason at controlling the LOS can be a good indicator on how well they're gonna come out of the gate.

Timing and rhythm is another thing to watch. Skill positions, QB's especially, rely on timing and rhythm to be effective. Every time a QB drops back to pass, nearly everything he does is based on timing. How long he takes to make the reads, the pocket timer before it's time to get rid of the ball, and the timing of when receivers make their cuts. All those are big things to watch. Timing on running backs to cutback into holes and even timing on when the holes appear and how long they are there for are also something.

The rhythm angle is a little different but along the same lines. The biggest thing here is how well a teams starters look per drives. A team driving down the field with few yellow hankies on the field is what a fan wants to see. A nice long drive that goes the distance with a few third down conversions is ideal. Rhythm also refers to QB's and their WR's. Preseason is a time for QB's to find a rhythm with and trust in WR's that they haven't spent a lot of time throwing to and to restablish the same with their veteran options. Saints fans can see this hopefully devloping between Brees and Meach. Timing and rhythm between the two means that passes from Brees to Meach will be crisper and thrown on time and the more Brees trusts Meach is the more Brees will look towards him in critical situations. Saints fans have only to look at Brees and his comments on how much he trusts Lance Moore to see what that trust can bring about.

Hopefully, this has been a help as far as what to make of preseason games. Watch the games and have fun. Personally, I love watching the third and fourth string players that are out fighting for jobs in the NFL. To me, that makes it worth it. Whatever reason though, don't get too high or too low with the wins or losses. Ultimatly they don't matter and aren't the point of it all. Pay attention to some of the above things and you can walk away with a fairly reasonable expectation of what to look for in Week 1, when it really does count.
 
OP
OP
Sniper Wolf

Sniper Wolf

Banned
Joined
Nov 7, 2003
Messages
10,518
Reaction score
6,713
Age
41
Offline
Only thing I add is: Last year Lions were 4-0 in preseason.
Well then I suggest they might have had better luck last season not participating in NFL games where teams spend the week of a regular season preparing for their opponent. Perhaps they might have tried going around the country playing pickup games and had more success.

Also, since they were 4-0, I'd say that it kinda helps the whole "it's ultimately meaningless," bit. Sure as heck didn't help them.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)



Headlines

Top Bottom