The Reason For The (Pre) Season
There is nothing fans hate more than being charged regular season priced tickets for preseason games. The starters get little playing time and people zone out as they watch the battle of the back ups. While fans care about the players battling to make the team, they would rather the regular season just begin. So how important is the preseason?
Preseason football is massively important for those responsible for making the roster. The team has to make successive cuts from 90 to the final 53 man roster. For many of these players the preseason is their best opportunity to make the team. Training camp can only show so much about a player. Preseason football provides the coaching staff a chance to see that player in a real game, with real game situations. The games don’t have to matter to you; don’t make the mistake of thinking the games don’t matter.
The biggest thing that preseason football does is help determine positional battles. The Ravens for example have an interesting battle for the nickel back job. The preseason performance of Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson and Dominique Franks will go a long way in deciding who gets the job and what order the corners will be on the depth chart.
The preseason is important for the starters as well, though they do not get the bulk of the work. Actually getting into the rhythm of playing football and taking some game hits is necessary. As the preseason progresses the starting units should build confidence. In the first game, starters typically play a drive or two and get out. In the second game you might see the starters play the whole first quarter. The third preseason game serves a dress rehearsal for the season opener. The starting units play the entire first half and then one drive in the second half. The starters do not typically see any time in the fourth and final preseason game.
The preseason does not captivate us like the regular season. It is not thrilling. The result of the game does not matter (even though the process does). Cutting a 90 man roster to 53 players is a difficult thing to do. With out the preseason games it would be an even more daunting task.