The Falcons had a long night in Houston, losing 32-7 to the Texans and possibly losing left tackle Sam Baker for the entire season.
So what does receiver Roddy White takeaway from that or any other preseason game?
“Nothing,” White told reporters after the game. “You get nothing out of exhibition games except for a lot of peoples conditioning, what shape they are in, and if they are able to go 60 plays or not. You learn how far your young guys have to go, grasping concepts and things you want them to do, but other than that the veterans go out and play. Everybody just tries to get through this thing and try to stay healthy as possible and make it to game one. Like today, our left tackle got hurt and we don’t know if he is going to be ready for the season or not. It’s stuff like that, that tells you a lot about these games. I know you can get hurt at practice but playing unmeaningful games and getting your left tackle hurt, I just don’t know. I don’t know what you judge from these preseason games. I’m not a fan about them, but we have to play them.”
Sentiments like that could make the NFLPA more likely to agree to a two-team expansion of the postseason in exchange for a one-week shrinkage of the preseason. It’s an issue that continues to percolate as the 2014 season approaches, especially since the NFL has sent fairly strong signals that it hopes to grow the postseason by 2015.
But with any preseason game, it’s possible that one team will be treating it as an extension of practice (like the Falcons apparently did last night) and the other team will view it as an important step in the growth of the team (like the Texans apparently did last night, after getting wiped out last week in Arizona).
Four weeks, three weeks, or one week, it continues to be a necessary evil for veteran starters, a proving ground for young players, and a critical tool for shrinking the roster from 90 to 53.