All those articles you read over the past month with a title resembling, “What we learned from the Pats’ faceplant” are now completely irrelevant. We may have learned a lot of information about some individuals, and sure, some teams are already doomed, but by and large, the preseason doesn’t tell us much about the big picture.
Teams like the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns ran through the preseason with three wins in four games. Other teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons failed to score a single win, but we won’t see either of those teams stressing out over their lack of a victory.
The preseason is and always will be a way for coaches and personnel executives to evaluate individual players. Coaches use it as a way to tune their teams for the regular season, but despite what the media at large would have you believe, getting a win isn’t a big deal.
The Detroit Lions nearly always win three or four preseason games, but they rarely do well in the regular season. Do you think the Patriots would rather win preseason matchups or get to the regular season as healthy as possible?
The Buffalo Bills drive my point home even further. They tried to resolve their quarterback battle in the preseason, and because they weren’t able to protect those players, they could be starting an undrafted free agent at the most important position in football, something that’s never happened in the common draft era.
The Jets are another great example of how to mess up a season before it even gets off the ground. Their rookie quarterback, Geno Smith, has been ineffective at best this preseason, and Mark Sanchez is banged up due to ill-advised playing time late in a preseason game.
For most of us, preseason football is the transition between the offseason and real football. For many teams, especially ones that expect to be competitive, it’s a time to simply survive as intact as possible. The games aren’t meaningless affairs, but you won’t hear us talking about how much the preseason meant once we get to the latter half of the year. Take it for what it’s worth to individual players, but leave out the big picture predictions based on preseason action.