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New York Jets: Do Not Put Too Much Stock Into Preseason

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody is pumped that the Jets will take the field tonight for the first time since their ugly loss in Buffalo to close out 2012. Because of that enthusiasm, we might be tempted to put a ton of emphasis on what happens tonight and what it means for 2013. Here's a word of advice, don't.

Most people realize that you can't read anything into preseason records since most of the playing time goes to backups and fringe players. A team's preseason record indicates very little about its quality. The same goes for those back of the roster guys fighting for a spot. While there is an odd Victor Cruz whose preseason domination of backups is an indication the guy is the real deal, there are probably over one hundred David Clowney's for every Cruz.

Even in the limited playing time first teamers get, be careful about drawing conclusions. The first team reps will be important for the Jets in deciding a starting quarterback, but success for Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez is not necessarily an indication success will be coming once the regular season starts. Neither side does a tremendous amount of game planning for preseason games. Your opponent is not trying to exploit your weaknesses and take you from your comfort zone. In many cases, the opponent will keep some of its best stuff out of preseason so as to not put it on film for regular season opponents. Coaches experiment with personnel and schemes in ways they never would in the regular season, and players do the same thing sometimes with technique and playing style.

Unfortunately, preseason is kind of a glass is half empty affair. The things we do learn tend to be bad ones, such as a bad tendency a player worked hard to shake in the offseason but still has not been able to. There are some extreme cases like your first team offense not being able to get into the end zone at all in preseason against basic defenses that provide cause for concern. There are also injuries. Preseason doesn't help you in the standings, but your team risks losing a key player. Ultimately, the real way to win in preseason is to avoid injuries.

There isn't anything wrong with being excited. Just keep things in perspective. Every year we see people declaring the Jets are going to be a contender after a good preseason game or in panic mode after a bad one. Unless we see a major injury or something looking really terrible, it is likely neither reaction will be appropriate tonight.