Rams’ success suggests preseason isn’t needed

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As NFL teams attempt to strike the balance between exposing starters to injury in the preseason and preparing them for the regular season, some performances in Week One helped make the case that more caution needs to be thrown to the wind. One of the last performances of the weekend pushes the needle the other way.

The Rams, whose key players were kept in bubble wrap for the entire preseason, still managed to slice and dice the Silver and Black to the tune of a 33-13 season-opening win.

Of course, it’s possible the Rams would have won the game even bigger, or perhaps put the Raiders away much earlier, if the starters were ready to roll. The Raiders held the lead after the first half, even though the Rams are the more talented team.

“I think to be able to go through some adversity, I think says a lot about our football team,” Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters on Tuesday. “Really hadn’t had anything like that occur, obviously, just with it being the first game. But I think when you take into account the elements, the atmosphere, some of the unknown with what they presented offensively, even some different things defensively — the way that the half ended, they had a lot of momentum. I thought our guys just kind of really embodied that attitude of ‘never flinch and never blink’ and then they came out and they did an excellent job in the second half. I thought the coaches made some good adjustments as well.”

Even though the Rams’ slow start may have been due to the decision to keep players on ice in August, the trend is moving away from playing starters in the preseason and protecting them instead. As that continues, the preseason will become less and less compelling, making it harder and harder for the league to keep playing four preseason games.

24 responses to “Rams’ success suggests preseason isn’t needed

  1. …….As that continues, the preseason will become less and less compelling, making it harder and harder for the league to keep playing four preseason games.
    If that’s true, how would teams determine who gets to make the 53 player roster?

  2. The Rams were getting punched in the mouth the whole first half by a completely undermanned team.

    If Carr didnt throw those terrible picks they could easily be 0-1 even though they were the better team in all 3 phases by far.

  3. When are the back-up players supposed to get any real game reps? It’s the only game time a lot of them get after they are out of college. Until a development league is firmly in place, the preseason will be invaluable for players that make up the back of the roster.

  4. Teams at the top of a conference experiment in preseason, crappers game plan preseason. No fan of the Rams but they are definitely in the hunt for championship this year. Why would a top team care about anything other then experimenting and developing young talent in the preason? Even with a rusty half, they came together and won decisively. To be a top team, it allows you a few weeks extra of try outs.

  5. I thought it was clear Goff and the offense could’ve used preseason to fine tune and shake off the rust. He made several off target throws and wasn’t seeing open receivers. Better in the 2nd half, but even so.

    If McVay feels the injury risk wasn’t worth it, so be it.

  6. Not in favor of the starters not playing at all in the preseason. I think that is going too far. I believe it’s good to get some game reps to establish some type of rapport. I still remember Gruden doing this in the regular season when he had a playoff spot all sewn. He basically didn’t play many of his starters for 2 games. So what happens. The Bucs looked all out of sorts and lose their first playoff gm in sloppy fashion. So I think timing is very important. Even in the preseason. You can get your reps in, while being careful at the same time.

  7. Jon Gruden has taken all the joy out of this season so far. Why everyone thought so highly about Derek Carr is beyond me. The guy only got most of his yards in garbage time of games. He only had one good season and people went bat crazy.

  8. The Rams may have bubble wrapped their best players, but the Raiders gift wrapped theirs and sent him to Chicago.

  9. Mike you can’t take anything out of their Win against the Raiders, who may end up being as bad as the last Winless Teams in the NFL … they are dreadful!

  10. I think the Rams would have liked to have let the starting offense play a couple of series in the third preseason game. Scheduling them to play the same team they play on opening day was just bizarre. Goodell deserves credit for that bit of lunacy.

    But really, preseason games are just scrimmages to evaluate rookies, walk ons, and free agent vets who aren’t going to be starters. People make way too big of a deal out of it.

  11. I believe that was already known. The preseason is to put money into owner’s pockets more than anything else. Of course they would be more than willing to eliminate preseason games in favor of expanding the regular season.

  12. They’re 1-0, Mike. Let’s not get carried away just yet. They played one good half of football against a not so great team.

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