Sunday, August 25, 2013

Top Five Nonsense Preseason Game Conversation Points

Die, Die, Die
Heard on, well, every single preseason Week 3 game...

5) "(Team That Employs Me) has a really hard schedule this year."

Why It's Nonsense: Predicting schedule strength is absurd. Which teams are going to have spectacularly bad injuries? Which ones are going to underperform due to coaching issues? What weather conditions will prevail in games against weaker teams in strong cold or warm-weather conditions? Which rookies are going to break through? No one knows. Other than counting the number of games where your team is going to face a club that's coming off a bye, or extreme division differences, this is all a waste of breath.

4) "(Coach X) has some hard decisions to make."

Why It's Nonsense: The number of guys who have been cut from preseason rosters that have gone on to become stars is, well, trivial. The vast majority of pro football players are done in four years or less, and you generally go to war with the guys who make the club, or at worst, the practice squad. Coaches live with these guys on a day-in, day-out basis, and have any number of extra eyes staring down the talent. Decisions may be distasteful if the coach is empathic to the players as human beings, but they are not, well, hard.

3) "(Player X) is just sick about that turnover. That's the kind of mistake that gets a guy cut."

Why It's Nonsense: Coaches always feel they can overcome physical mistakes; that's the hubris of coaching. Every talented RB with fumbling issues can have the Tiki Barber career, because you will never have a coach that thinks they aren't as good at this as Tom Coughlin. Young players make mistakes; every coach worth anything understands this. If a special teams guy coughs up a ball in a game, but hasn't been doing it in practice, they'll chalk it up to random chance. And they'll probably be right.

2) "(Coach X) has to be just sick about the first-team offense production."

Why It's Nonsense: Well, he's probably not thrilled about it, but if he's running a tenth of his playbook to prevent any scouting edge for the regular season, he's also probably not staying up nights over it. The Patriots got their heads kicked in by the Lions this week, and on some level, I have to think Bill Belichick is thrilled, because it means he's going to be able to treat his veterans like dirt for a week or more, and get better practices out of them. The only thing they really care about is...

1) "You never want to see a guy get hurt in preseason."

Unless, of course, the guy wasn't likely to make the team while healthy, but still has some skills or traits that makes the coach want to keep him around on the IR. Medical redshirts, assuming that they don't happen to key personnel, do not make a coach unhappy. They are kind of cutthroat that way.

Feel free to add your own, really...

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