Does preseason football mean anything?
I have been hearing since last Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, that preseason games don’t mean anything. We all have heard and some have even said, “it’s only the first preseason game, it doesn’t mean anything.” In some respects that is true, for example, it doesn’t really matter what the final score is. Whoever wins or loses, it does not have bearing on their season and if they make the playoffs or not. Remember the the 2008 Lions? Any sort of performance records, however unlikely that are to be sent in a preseason game, don’t count either. So all of us hope that the Vikings can make it through the 4 game grind without injuries. Some feel it is just a way for the NFL to get more of our hard earned money and it should be cut down to 2 games, especially to reduce the risk, right?
There is a lot that takes place in those games that does count, and it generally has to do with performance by the players. It can be the players on the first string, second string, third string and any mix-and-match combinations thereof. What they do, does mean something. It means a chance of gelling if you are the offensive line. It means putting your body through contact, and I mean full contact, the take to the ground type, that gets a player into “football shape.” This is all part of the psychological toughening for giving and taking hits, along with performing as one unit instead of just 11 players. This is also meaningful for players to test their skills against live opponents. That goes same for the coaches who are working on their communication and game calling to build some sort of rhythm for the upcoming season. But mostly, it is a foremost opportunity for players to exceed and show their talents on the big stage, and on film. The 10 year veteran may be secure in his own legacy and may not care or even skip games, but all the young players, old players in danger of losing their spot, and new acquisitions very much do care.
We do here at the Daily Norseman too.
Our friends over it Pro Football Focus published their top 5 player grades for the game, and the names on this list were very good and in some cases surprising to see. Their top five grades went to:
EDGE Tashawn Bower, 90.7 overall grade
LB Eric Wilson, 85.0 overall grade
S Jayron Kearse, 84.6 overall grade
DI Jaleel Johnson, 83.4 overall grade
WR Stacy Coley, 80.5 overall grade
PFF gave their game ball to Tashawn Bower.
Tashawn Bower and Eric Wilson were the two biggest surprises for me. Bower, being a targeted undrafted free-agent signing, showed a tremendous amount of explosiveness and raw talent that can be molded into another stud at defensive end to go in the Viking stable. The question will be, if he continues to play like this, will the Vikings risk trying to slip him onto the practice squad, or make a choice to keep another defensive end? Wilson reminded me very much of Audie Cole in the fact that he seemed to be always around the football. I love linebackers that can do that.
Which were your favorite performances of the game?