I hear every year that week three of the preseason is the “dress rehearsal” for Week 1. Yeah, I guess. I don’t really understand why that is tho. Me, as a fan, understand that the point they are trying to convey is that the week three preseason game is the closest to what the regular season atmosphere will be like and that the coaching staff will play the starters a little longer into the 3rd quarter. But last night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Carolina Panthers in this fan’s opinion played the starters on the defensive side too long. Again, I am just a fan, I do not have the expertise, experience, training, etc that NFL coaches/staffs have but does Julius Peppers really need to be on the field in the 2nd half of a preseason game? He’s a 16 year vet in the league chasing history, let him stay healthy. Does KK Short need to be on the field in the 2nd half of a preseason game? He just got paid 16mil/year, is that a smart risk? Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis Sr (Davis did have a beautiful sack), do they need to be out there? It seems like the defense or Steve Wilks or both felt like they needed to prove something and thus they remained on the field. After every snap, I kept saying to myself “Okay, that’s it, surely the scrub unit is coming on now.” It felt like forever before that actually happened.
This is not a knock on the Panther’s Coaching staff or their decision making, this is very common through out the league, I just don't fully understand why. What are you going to learn in the 3rd quarter of a preseason game from veterans that you wouldn’t also find out Week 1 and then make the proper adjustments. Playing starters deep into preseason games seems like it’s all liability and no return on investment. Rookies or players coming off of injury are the only exceptions and for anyone else, I don’t see the value. Let the guys who are battling for jobs and roster spots beat their brains out in the exhibition games. Save the starters for the games that matter.
By Uncle Francis