Go ahead. It’s okay. Pull back the curtain and peek out the window. Yes, that’s NFL preseason season coming around the corner, which means our punishment is soon over and our work can begin. However, don’t get too excited and out of control just yet. Remember it’s only training camp and the games are exhibition.
Yet, this is the ideal time to get a jump start on our upcoming fantasy football drafts. Be careful, because it’s very easy to get carried away with the thrill of finally having fresh football news. There will be a lot of stuff thrown your way; i.e. who is making strides. who is struggling to learn a new system and who is “recommitted” to making a difference for their team.
The characters may change, but the script remains the same.
What you should know
- The stars are stars and will be stars in 2010, so don’t worry about what they’re doing in camp and how little they play in preseason, unless they get hurt or arrested. Peyton Manning is going to throw for at least 3,500 yards and 25 TDs. That’s just the way it is, and he doesn’t need the preseason to prove it.
- The most productive preparation you can do is to prepare for the middle rounds of your draft and late-round fliers. Watch for those position battles and focus on those questionable rookies you’re wondering about. Will Tim Tebow have an impact this year? You’ll get a clue in these coming weeks.
- Ignore coach interviews. Every coach is going to praise their players and progress their team is making, especially the strides their rookies are making. I heard for three years how well Ted Ginn Jr. was improving, yet he seemingly regressed annually in the regular season.
- Tread lightly on the mainstream media coverage. I prefer to look up respective local media coverage. These reporters cover their team everyday. They see who is surprisingly getting first team reps, who is being used in certain packages and who is clicking with the starting QB. How honest of a perspective can mainstream analysts give from visiting a team during a one-day stop on a bus tour? This approach is especially useful with teams going through a coaching change. The local guys don’t shy away from being critical and know first-hand how the new leadership compares to last year’s coaching approach. If there are concerns we should be aware, these guys will tell us.
- Don’t get caught up on preseason performance. Remember teams use preseason to evaluate players, not to win. A majority of the offensive packages are vanilla and are only 25 percent of what teams will actually use in the regular season. If Tennessee suddenly is throwing the ball around the field, it doesn’t mean Vince Young is going to thrive as a passing QB. Chris Johnson will be the Titans’ offense, but it will be important to notice who Young looks to on his first and second reads. That may give us a clue who he has confidence in, aside from Johnson.