Wasn’t it good to see a NFL lapse to an roughly full line-up of movement final night?
Actually, it was flattering good by preseason Week 1 standards: Baker Mayfield highlights, Saquon Barkley highlights, Lamar Jackson highlights, even some Cam Newton-Kelvin Benjamin warm-up drama. It was about 30 mins of movement packaged into about 36 hours of Garrett Gilbert, Nate Sudfeld and Brock Osweiler personification quarterback, that is about 20 some-more mins than we typically get in early August.
The disturb of a NFL’s lapse customarily fades usually mins after kickoff, when we all realize, oh yeah, it’s a initial preseason game, a genuine players are hardly personification and this is all we have for a rest of a month.
Now, a usually thing worse than a NFL’s prolonged preseason is a mainstay angry about how prolonged a preseason is. But don’t worry: This is not one of those columns. Instead of angry about a elements of a preseason that are broken, we’re here to offer genuine solutions for regulating them!
Problem: Too many preseason games
You know a drill: The preseason is too long, there are too many injuries, fans are forced to compensate full cost for tickets, a initial diversion descends into unwatchable disharmony by a second quarter, a fourth one is a saved examination for practice-squad linebackers.
The NFL kicks off any deteriorate by putting a misfortune probable chronicle of a product on arrangement and withdrawal it there for a plain month. But owners and broadcasters aren’t going to let preseason opportunities to sell tickets and commercials disappear. So what we need is a concede that satisfies owners, coaches, rights-holders, players and fans.
Solution: Replace dual preseason games with intersquad scrimmages
Get absolved of this weekend’s games. Replace them with scripted group vs. group padded practices full of situational drills and particular work. Keep a second and third preseason games a approach they are, though given a fourth diversion is usually a register tryout, yield it that approach and marketplace a undrafted tackle contra a use patrol edge-rusher in a one-on-one array cavalcade as a existence show.
In an intersquad struggle scenario, maestro quarterbacks could attend in seven-on-sevens and particular drills though damage risk. Even a rehabbing Carson Wentz or Deshaun Watson could see some action. We’ve immediately upgraded a fan knowledge and a football protein content.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
Now, about those quarterback competitions. Want to see Baker Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor any run a red-zone cavalcade or two-minute cavalcade with a first-team offense opposite a first-team defense? Sure sounds like some-more fun—and creates some-more football sense—than creation one of them play with backups opposite backups in catch-as-catch-can diversion situations.
The same unfolding can play out during other positions. Imagine a dozen one-on-ones between rookie receivers like Calvin Ridley or DJ Moore and maestro cornerbacks. Fans and coaches would see many some-more from such drills than from one or dual targets or receptions amid a preseason-game mayhem.
Tens of thousands of fans uncover adult for group intrasquad scrimmages, so box bureau isn’t a problem. Coaches mostly “keep score” during intrasquad practices, pitting offense opposite defense, so there’s a resource for dogmatic winners and losers of a scrimmage.
With this change, coaches would get a ton of evaluative reps, players would get some control over a volume of contact, inhabitant fans would get gobs of highlights to pore over, and a owners can sell drink and pretzels.
Now let’s use some control over when these scrimmages are held.
Problem: Drippy preseason schedules
Games now are widespread opposite Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There’s a Ravens-Colts diversion on Monday night subsequent week. And there are some Sunday games in dual weeks. At slightest a final spin of preseason games is on a Thursday night, so fans can suffer Labor Day weekend and college football while hundreds of NFL hopefuls get cut.
The hinky schedules are no large understanding for many fans (unless we are a deteriorate sheet hilt profitable for a Saturday 1 p.m. diversion in August), though they infrequently means credentials headaches for teams. The Colts, for example, follow adult their Monday nighter on Aug 20 with a Saturday afternoon diversion on Aug 25 and afterwards a Aug 30 finale. Why on earth should a group have to understanding with dual brief weeks in a preseason? The broken-up weeks outcome in mislaid or squandered use time for veterans perplexing to prepare, for border players unfortunate to make rosters and for coaches perplexing to tell a difference.
Solution: Thursday night preseason games. Period.
An unofficial, unscientific Twitter poll reveals that scarcely half of fans would rather watch preseason games on Thursday night than any other day of a week. That creates sense: Thursday night games leave summer weekends giveaway while providing usually adequate water-cooler provender to make Friday bearable.Michael Perez/Associated Press
So play preseason matchups on Thursday nights, no exceptions. Coaches and players get a uniform report for practices and travel, that is improved for both credentials and health and safety. Season sheet holders know they won’t have to compensate for a Saturday diversion they won’t attend. National fans get rip-roaring Thursday nights instead of a weekend-long drizzle of highlights and results.
With this, a newly bound report would go: Week 1 Thursday night scrimmages, Week 2 Thursday night games, Week 3 Thursday night dress rehearsals, Week 4 Thursday night Hunger Games scrimmages. It’s all killer, no filler and no pie-in-the-sky shorten-the-preseason pleading.
Now let’s make certain everybody knows who will be playing.
Problem: Coaches not announcing preseason quarterback plans
Remember when Coach used to announce that “Starter will play a initial series, afterwards Rookie will play a initial half and afterwards Reclamation Project and Rando will finish a game” dual or 3 days before any preseason game? Coaches are unexpected tight-lipped about their plans, as if they are disturbed about a rival advantage in games that don’t count.
Sometimes, a manager doesn’t wish a proclamation to spin into a story: suppose a brouhaha final week if John Harbaugh suggested that Lamar Jackson wouldn’t play until a third entertain of a Hall of Fame Game. But some-more often, this is usually one some-more square of information for coaches to withhold, since self-denial information is one of an NFL coach’s biggest joys.
Solution: Mandatory preseason quarterback announcements
NFL teams are compulsory to yield damage reports, report unchanging press conferences with a manager and quarterback and perform other simple public-relations tasks in a name of rival balance, open information and usually not branch into a garland of ultra-paranoid eremitic fort preppers. Preseason announcements of quarterback rotations should be combined to that imperative list.
Fans who have already paid full season-ticket cost for a Thursday night muster in 90-degree feverishness merit to know either they will see Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield play for any poignant apportionment of time or either they will compensate 50 bucks to park and watch zero though Matt McGloin and Brogan Roback.
Letting a inhabitant assembly know that Josh Rosen will play a full half or Mason Rudolph will finish a diversion will also drive courtesy toward a best games, that will assistance a NFL foster a product, that is something it is usually reckoning out it has to do.
Note that if a initial and fourth preseason games are transposed by scrimmages, this process will usually request to a second and third preseason games: a usually ones in that starting quarterbacks and high-interest rookies are expected to see any suggestive personification time, anyway.
Problem: “unofficial abyss charts”
Mike Rodak @mikerodak
The Bills are inventory AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman as co-starters during QB on their initial unaccepted abyss draft of a preseason, if you’re into that arrange of thing. https://t.co/heJrfxm4Di
Team open family departments recover them. We write about them. Fans conflict to a fact that a dear rookie using behind is listed as a fourth-stringer, that is substantially usually a motivational tactic. Teams and coaches afterwards shrug them off as “unofficial.” In Soviet Russia, unaccepted abyss charts recover you.
Solution: Media-generated unaccepted abyss charts
OK, colleagues, let’s hurl adult a sleeves and work together to solve this one.
Each team’s beat-writer brigade appoints a designated depth-chart builder. Once a pursuit is foisted on some bad eager-to-please newbie, that particular meticulously builds a charts formed on use reps. We nationally pool a charts and recover them on Twitter and a Pro Football Writers Association website on a day of a Hall of Fame Game or something and afterwards compensate those who gathered them with Dunkin’ Donuts present certificates and, we dunno, retweeting a few of their articles if we have to.
These abyss charts would be usually as unaccepted and incomprehensible as a team-sanctioned ones, though they would be formed on tangible observations, and a centralization/standardization will assistance anticipation football gamers establish if that out-of-town rookie using behind is holding any suggestive reps, that is unequivocally all anyone cares about when it comes to preseason abyss charts.
Depth charts are a teenager fact of a preseason, though they illustrate usually how old-fashioned a NFL’s stream indication has become. Preseason games date behind to when NFL owners indispensable them to drum adult internal sheet sales and coaches indispensable a month to figure and solemn adult players who hold offseason jobs. Now, teams roughly wish to pull eyeballs divided (the abyss charts and quarterback mysteries scream Stop seeking about a quarterback foe and rookie sensations!), and a games are some-more expected to mistreat players than get them into football shape.
The NFL needs to rethink a preseason. But then, it needs to rethink a lot of things. Last night was kinda fun. But it could be a whole lot better, both for a players and for us.
Mike Tanier covers a NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeTanier.