What Pre-season games CAN and CAN’T show us

Tonight we finally get to see some football- kind of. The pre-season is here and for football starved fans it’s certainly better than a training camp practice video.

The problem with ps games is it very hard to gauge performances- especially when some players may be matched up frequently with a 3rd or 4th stringer from the other team that has no chance to be much more than maybe a practice squad player.

PS games can often make us think a particular player is better than they really. Cowboys Training camp history is littered with guys that were “having a great camp” that never played a meaningful down for us.

BUT….Here are some things that pre-season games can and cannot show us about young players:

What it CAN show:

  • If a particular player has athleticism, quickness, power, and some general football IQ.
  • Over the 3 ps games we play, if a particular player is showing improvement, it means they are adjusting to the NFL game and NFL coaching.
  • Look for the guys who get the most playing time- they are usually the “bubble players” who are on the cusp of making the team but haven’t proved it yet.
  • Young guys/rookies who may not play much in the regular season but may become good ST players.

What it CANNOT show:

  • The team’s overall readiness. Most starters won’t play much and several may not play at all.
  • There is no game planning…so…New wrinkles in the playbook or new formations, etc. that will be used in the season are usually never shown.
  • It usually cannot show how ready a rookie is for the NFL regular season. If they have been matched up against backups and guys who won’t even be in the league by Sept, it can be fool’s gold sometime to think what you see in PS will translate in the regular season.

Watching preseason games can be fun, even if the quality of play is not that great. So I say enjoy the action. Just be aware that PS games are not always an accurate measure of how prepped many young players are for the regular season.

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