Preseason is what we all know it to be, a money grabbing ploy by the NFL to extend the season by circumventing the players union. If the NFL could extend the season it would. It has been in discussion for a few seasons now, but the season (which could never honestly be too long) wears down on the athletes as it is. It is the most physically demanding professional sport. The preseason does, however, provide one much-needed test for the professional players. One, in very short game time, first and second string players are able to ‘ease’ into the season by getting into the game time atmosphere. Second, it provides second stringers and others a chance to display their potential and make the roster or push for a starting position. What about pros like Aaron Rodgers? What do the preseason games mean for him?
Starters and Preseason Games
Starters are not huge fans of the preseason games. There is no benefit for them playing in such games. These games do not matter to the team or the individual. They are P-R-E-S-E-A-S-O-N. The only thing that matters at this point in the year is that the starters are healthy and ready to go. Healthy being the key word. Preseason games are only a chance for starting players to get injured and potentially ruin their and their team’s season. Green Bay Packers fans do not need to look too far back in preseason history to remember Favre’s fractured thumb. For those who forget, or like the torture, Brett fractured his thumb on a pass rusher during a preseason game. It would be an injury that affected the quarterback for the entire season. Could you imagine the anger if this happened to Rodgers? As such, preseason is not a time for starters to get significant game time action.
Aaron Rodgers has made it emphatically known that he does not need to play in preseason games. The guy exudes confidence and excellence on the gridiron. He is arguably a top five quarterback in the history in the NFL. While these types of claims are arbitrary and subjective, he is no doubt in discussion as one of the all-time greats. His strong arm, confidence, and ability to extend plays is extraordinary. Given this understanding, what could be the benefit of risking injury in the preseason? Timing? Rhythm? Game speed? These aspects of the game, when coming out of the offseason, are crucial, but a pro such as Rodgers does not necessarily need the added snaps during the preseason. In conclusion, number 12 will most likely play on series (which will probably end in a touchdown) and then hang up the helmet for week one.
Preseason and The Rest of The Team
Preseason can be beneficial for a variety of other reasons. It is the best time to gauge how a team’s rookies have developed during practice and how their draft selections might play out. This is a critical time for roster bubble players to show up and blow up. These players have a limited number of snaps to show that they are worth a roster spot. It is this drive and hunger from players that makes it more sensible to rest starters. There is no point in letting an overzealous rookie take out one of your star players are they play through the whistle and injure a team’s critical puzzle piece. What preseason has showed Packers fans is the backup quarterback Brett Hundley is a great developmental prospect. What the Pack hopes for this year is that second round DB’s Josh Jones and Kevin King can fill crucial roster spots and make an impact day one of the 2017 season.