This weekend the long “offseason” comes to an end as the Hall of Fame game ushers in another NFL season. While the weekend is a time to celebrate the history of the NFL its greatest players and builders, for the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts it is an opportunity to take the first “live” looks at the future of those two teams. For players the preseason is a time to either prove you belong in the NFL, or a time to prove you deserve to stay in the league.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me when I say I love football. I mean I LOVE FOOTBALL! Casual fans maybe can’t be bothered with preseason games but to me the preseason is an amazing time. First off, all 32 teams are undefeated and still dreaming their Super Bowl Dreams. Fans everywhere around the world are hoping that this is their year. Yes, this is the year it all comes together and their team goes to the Super Bowl. Players on every roster are competing to be a part of the most exclusive fraternity in the world of the National Football League. Most have dreamt about being an NFL player since they were small boys.
For the two QBs in the game preseason opener it will be little more than an opportunity to play maybe a series or two, hopefully complete a few passes, move the offense, then head to the sideline put on your baseball cap and let the backups show their stuff. Neither Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers has anything to prove in preseason. I am certain that Indy Head Coach Chuck Pagano and Packers boss Mike McCarthy won’t exhale until their starters are out and safely standing next to them on the sidelines.
Training Camps in 2016 have seen a number of injuries already to significant players and the toughest decision coaches have to make is just how much contact do you want your players to get. With the veterans who are locked into positions the key thing is to get enough work to be sharp for the opener but limit the amount of exposure to injury during preseason games that are meaningless in terms of the NFL standings. Vets trying to hang on to a roster spot or lower round draft choices and free agents will be “begging” for reps in the preseason because they know that the coaches are evaluating everything especially how a player plays “when the lights go on”. We have a saying in Pro Football during training camp “Don’t count your Reps make your Reps count” and today the Reps really do count. Every year there is a guy who comes “out of nowhere” to explode on the NFL scene.
Last year one of my former players here in Hamilton, Delvin Breaux went from an unknown CB in the Canadian Football League with no college experience, to the best CB the New Orleans Saints had. Delvin is an amazing story, a kid who broke his neck in a high school game, never played a college game at LSU and then we found him after a high school coach friend of mine called me. After dominating in a free agent workout camp Breaux started two years here and parlayed his time in the CFL into an opportunity to play for his home town team The Saints. Hollywood would have a hard time writing this story and while Delvin is an outstanding football player I am even happier for him because he is an outstanding person.
Tune into the preseason and watch the drama unfold. Who bursts onto the scene like Delvin Breaux and who flames out like Trent Richardson? Which of the three elite QBs drafted last year makes an instant impact on their team? How does your team’s draft class look now that you get the chance to see them play this preseason?
We will “surf” this wave called the 2016 NFL Season together here.
Mahalo for joining us and enjoy the ride!