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Why Jets vs. Giants Isn’t as Important to Fringe Players This Year

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NFL: New York Jets at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Historically the third preseason game is a critical point for players at the bottom of the roster battling for a spot.

The NFL previously had its first roster cutdown after this game. Teams were required to reduce their rosters from 90 players to 75 between the third and fourth preseason games.

The league has changed things this year. There is only one cutdown. Teams will have to cut from 90 to 53 players after their final preseason game. They will carry a full 90 players into the last game of the preseason.

I think this move makes sense and was overdue. The third preseason game is usually the game where fringe players get the least playing time. The focus is generally getting the starters ready for the regular season.

The fourth preseason game is where fringe players get the most playing time. At most, the starters get one series, and frequently they do not even get that.

The move gives teams an extra look at their back of the roster players. In this day and age of reduced training camp practices, that extra time to evaluate is important.

It also means there is less on the line tonight for the players competing for the final roster spots. They do not have to show something big just to advance to the fourth preseason game.