The first round of preseason games are in the books and watching cameo appearances by starters around the league didn’t do much to make an argument against those who think that there are too many exhibition games.
Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth, the team’s NFLPA representative, knows that the league’s preference would likely be to eliminate two preseason contests in exchange for an 18-game regular season but he doesn’t think an extended season “is beneficial for anybody.” He does think that a move to reduce the number of preseason games, which he called “lackluster,” can work, however, and that joint practices between teams is the best way to make that happen.
“They say you don’t get the same evaluations [with a shorter preseason], but actually now with the new CBA, they don’t have a lot of time before the first preseason game,” Whitworth said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “You can create scrimmages and things all day long.”
The Bengals are coming off a week of practicing with the Falcons, so it’s no surprise to learn that coach Marvin Lewis agrees with his left tackle about the positives gained from working against another team.
“I’d think that would be something that people would look to do more of, because it would give you another good look, another way to evaluate,” Lewis said. “In this environment, sometimes it gets stale, repetitive, to play against the same people all the time. But to see that guy with the other color helmet on? Get ready.”
A shorter preseason probably isn’t happening without the trade for two more regular season contests, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see more joint practices anyway as teams look for ways to prepare under the restrictions of the new CBA.