Week 1 of the NFL Preseason is over. The Dallas Cowboys went up to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and finished off the “New Look” Raiders 3-0 on Monday Night Football. It was the last of the firsts (so to speak) and both clubs will probably spin out the great defensive performances put forth by their players, but all in all there’s a lot of work that remains to be done by rookie GM Reggie McKenzie, and owner/GM’s Jerry & Stephen Jones.
Training Camp competition
Training Camp and Preseason is hyped with young players trying to make their first roster and old veterans trying to hold on. Every day I read across Twitter and other websites the play by play battles of this player vs that. Coaches end every practice with the obligatory sound bites and quotes stressing the importance of “continued development”, “great competition out there” and “picking up the level of play” when asked about particular players.
And why not? Just about anything could happen between now and Week 1 of the REGULAR season, so it’s imperative to maintain a high standard of performance throughout a club’s overall preparation headed into real games. Seriously, it’s the only way to keep your players forging ahead; creating opportunity and some level of hope that “The Turk” won’t come knocking in two weeks.
Roster cuts already made…
But guess what? A lot of cuts have already been made. GM’s and head coaches have stared at their magnetic depth chart boards and hypothetically pulled names off and moved names over. They’re closely combing the Waiver Wire to see if they can replace one of their bottom five or ten players with somebody else’s for a late peek. That’s not to say there aren’t actual fights for remaining roster spots going on. But after three weeks of Training Camp, previous OTA’s and Mini’s, NFL front office’s have a pretty good idea of where they’re going with their boards…names have already been pulled aside and pink slips being prepared. I promise you, they have.
Some last second additions and deletions will come as a result of some late minute surprises, they always do. But mostly that comes in the form of a veteran cap casualty. Which is why you see Capologists crunching their calculators after Week 1, as they add and subtract to various roster scenarios already being formulated like scientists in a chem lab.
NFL Preseason games anatomy
So you look at a game like Dallas vs Oakland and wonder what the heck you can ascertain from such a stinker? It’s the 3 quarters of battle that’s about all 15 or 20 players got to put forth to secure consideration for Practice Squad or perhaps, just perhaps another couple reps to show what potential they might bring to a 53 man squad. Week 2 will see most of your regular season starters play until halftime. Week 3 takes them to the end of the third quarter and is essentially the dress rehearsal for opening day. Week 4 is “cross your fingers” that nobody gets hurt.
Fans might be shocked to hear/know this, parents & family disappointed, GM’s in denial….but a lot is already clear. Though “The Turk” may not come knocking for a couple more weeks, opportunity already has for a good number of NFL hopefuls looking to make a roster.