Summer is on its way out the door and with that begins a new season of football. Every fan looks forward to the upcoming season with unbridled optimism, believing their team has a shot. Detroit fans BELIEVE that their whole team won't be thrown in jail and they can field a competent secondary. Denver fans BELIEVE that Peyton Manning will come back 100% and lead them to an AFC West division title. Miami fans BELIEVE that Ryan Tannehill was not a reach and will become the next Dan Marino.
As you can see there is a reoccurring mantra with every NFL team: BELIEVE. This belief is heavily scrutinized throughout the Preseason where anyone with a bad game "should be cut immediately" and anyone who shines is "the next big thing at their respective position". And it makes sense, right!? Starters get a good amount of time during Preseason and the role and depth players show their mettle after the starters leave. It's perfectly logical for a fan to take what happens in Preseason and expect the same success/disappointment to carry over to the regular season . . . right?
Hell No! No matter how good or bad a team shows themselves to be in the Preseason it's naive to think it'll immediately carry over to the regular season. Want an example? The infamous 2008 winless Lions, who became the first NFL team to finish with an 0-16 record , also had an undefeated preseason and were projected by experts to be in the conversation for the playoffs. The same goes for teams with constant success; the Indianapolis Colts under Peyton Manning were perennial losers in the preseason finishing winless a few times. Yet, under Manning they took their preseason pitfalls and turned it into post-season success. Look at some of the recent games played just yesterday. It seems unlikely that Blaine Gabbert's Jaguars will put up 30+ points consistently like he did yesterday against the Super Bowl defending champions, the New York Giants. Or for the Saints and Patriots, two of the most high octane offenses in the league, to combine for 13 points. The Pre-Season and the Regular Season are almost like two different leagues that are not translatable.
The same could be said for players who shine or struggle in Pre-Season. David Clowney, a former Jet's WR, once led the league in Pre-Season receiving; since then, he has been camp fodder around the league. Yes, Pre-Season helps evaluate players but those who are successful playing then don't always replicate the same success when the bullets are live.
In essence, every fan of football should just watch Pre-Season to enjoy their favorite team play as a little teaser before it really counts starting Sept. 9th. Don't be that fan who freaks out because your team's 1st round draft pick has been quiet or your starting QB has been shaky. Too many fans believe the sky is falling before the season even starts or that their team is destined for a SB run after an excellent Pre-Season. My advice: We won't know anything about anybody or any team til week 1. So, for now, stop stressing because football is back, and that's a good thing.