The NFL preseason is a major drag.
It’s become four games of watching players who will likely be cut from NFL teams or placed on practice squads never to be seen again playing meaningless football games in the guise of fans seeing teams “tune up” for the regular season.
Never has this been more visible that in Thursday night’s Eagles-Dolphins game. In the slot of the third preseason game teams typically play their starters at least a half, if not for three quarters.
Carson Wentz and the first team offense got one quarter, and Wentz’ total through three preseason games is 23 pass attempts — less than he’ll have in an actual reguar season game. He will not play in the fourth game against the Jets next week.
“That is preseason football,” Wentz said, having thrown for 129 yards and two touchdowns in his brief appearance in a 38-31 win. “I got a lot of work in over camp, honestly. With 16 games last year, I was healthy. I got good work in in the preseason. I don’t think it was overkill. But it was a good number, and I feel confident going forward.”
The Eagles had two extended, joint practices this week with Miami and during those sessions the first team offenses and first team defenses clashed for the majority of the time at the NovaCare Complex. It appears that the team felt as though those work outs were more beneficial than a preseason game could have been — further discrediting the virtue of having four preseason games to play every summer.
“The biggest thing is that practice is more important than any preseason game for me,” Torrey Smith, who caught a 50-yard touchdown strike from Wentz, said. “Everything is so vanilla, the defense is pretty vanilla for the most part, but it’s just practice. I’ve been playing for years. Carson is obviously a young guy and he’s had his reps, but, like I said, we haven’t played 50 plays maybe all together, but we had 50 plays in practice the other day together. So it’s important that we’re executing it.”
With the NFL’s latest collective bargaining agreement not set to expire until 2021, there appear to be no changes in sight for the current system — so the drag through late summer will continue as fans waste their time watching Matt McGloin play for three quarters and Corey Clement lead the Eagles in carries.
“I feel like all preseason games are is just a srimmage,” Lane Johnson said. “A lot of people get carried away with preseason but you can go 0-4 in preseason but have a great season.”