By Seth McCaskill
The NFL preseason has long been known as the worst of the worst in terms of preseason exhibitions for any major sports league. Most of the games are played by backups, and the few times the starters are in the game, fans and coaches are holding their breath hoping none of their most valuable players suffer a serious injury, as there is always at least one. This year has been no different, with some valuable players suffering serious, and in some cases, season-ending injuries.
The most prominent have been Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith, who were all slated to be starters and a carry heavy loads before their season-ending knee injuries. Although these names have gotten the most attention, there are plenty of smaller scale injuries that could have just as much of an effect on their respective teams’ seasons. Anthony Hitchens, one of the few consistent stalwarts for an unproven Dallas defense, will be out until midseason with a tibia fracture. Colts 2016 first-round pick center Ryan Kelly is likely to miss the season because of a foot injury, Chargers’ touted rookie guard Forrest Lamp is out for the year with a torn ACL, and the Jets’ leader in receiving yards from 2016, Quincy Enunwa, had season-ending surgery for a bulging disc in his neck. These instances just add fuel to the ongoing discussion over whether the preseason is really necessary. Teams face a trade-off: do they play their starters and risk injury, or sit them out and play a bunch of players who won’t be on the roster when the regular season starts? Although there are many downsides to the NFL preseason, especially if you ask football fans, it gives players a chance to get ready for the season and provides coaches a chance to give their young talent and some hometown products a chance they might not otherwise receive. Although the preseason is not very exciting to fans, and causes some frustrating injuries, the positives outweigh the negatives, and this part if the schedule isn’t going anywhere.