With the start of the full slate of NFL preseason games, I think that it’s instructive to offer a guide about how to watch your favorite team’s first preseason game. In Buzzfeed listicle form:
(if you’re single)
Step 1: Find a nice restaurant, treat yourself and miss the first quarter.
Step 1A: make sure you re-watch the first quarter another time. I recommend DVR/TIVO to record the full game. Skip to Step 2.
(if you’re not)
Step 1: Find a nice restaurant and earn some brownie points by making a show of taking him/her out the night of the first preseason game. Time it out so you miss the first quarter.
Step 1A: make sure you re-watch the first quarter another time. I recommend DVR/TIVO to record the full game.
Step 2: Offer a goat sacrifice to Tiamat-the Lord of Chaos-for no injuries to major players.
Step 3: Only watch for repetative negative themes. If the same play is working against your team all night long, or they can’t do a certain thing well(like run outside, pass the ball deep, protect the QB for 7 seconds, etc), this is what you should be worried about.
Step 4: When you have to start googling your own team’s players on the field, stop watching. You’re not going to see anything worth your time anymore.
Step 5: If you neglect to turn off the TV in Step 4: don’t fall in love with the “Legion of Awesome” aka ‘random undrafted/late round picks that show mild talent or ability in one area or against a Wal-Mart greeter’ players. If the LoA players are as good as they seem, they can look good against starters. If they can only show anything against low talent guys, just don’t bother to get excited for them.
Step 6: Seriously, don’t read too much into anything you see. You’re not going to see much of the real offense or defense.
Step 7: That being said, I would read a lot more into high pick rookies and seeing how they look if they’re playing with the starters. However, it's a zero sum analysis: if they struggle, I wouldn’t panic. If they play well, then I would be excited(to varying degrees).