Quarterback Baker Mayfield is out for the Browns first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars down south. Head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that the star quarterback will not play in the game.
Yes, I totally get not playing the starters on Saturday night. There’s always a chance Mayfield could drop back, take a shot from a Jaguars defender, get injured and not play for the regular season games that actually count. That would “suck” with a few more swear words added.
However, there is the saying, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Sure, the team has tons of practice time before the season starts. Even so, nothing substitutes actual in-game action. It simply can’t be replaced.
That’s why seeing starters play in the preseason is good in a way. It gets the players ready for the regular season with real action. Simple as that…
Then, there’s the money argument. Fans pay to attend these games, watch and listen to these games and buy that beer and hotdog in the stadium, too. The NFL makes a ton of money on the preseason even though it doesn’t actually count in the standings…
So, every single coach is conflicted with this conundrum of playing or not playing the starters. Moreover, the backups that play instead are still human, could still sustain an injury and it could impact the team in some way. After all, the backups do play in regular-season games in some capacity.
The NFL did cut the preseason from four games to three and that does show the league is taking note of this idea. Three games are still three games and plenty of opportunity for something bad to happen…
My solution would be to just get rid of the preseason. Now, the NFL won’t do that because of the aforementioned money problem.
If every team did not have a preseason, isn’t the advantage taken away? All of the teams would start the season Week 1 with no experience. That makes it fair and level for everyone. The first game may be a little sloppy…but figure it out!