I Shouldn’t Have To Say This, But Preseason Football Doesn’t Matter

I know I’m fighting a losing battle here, but there are way too many people who want to jump to conclusions based on preseason football. I’m not talking about the game outcomes – for the most part, I think people know those don’t matter. I’m talking about the individual player performances.

When a player performs well in a game, the reaction to that is often “well, that’s just one game. Let’s see how he does over a full season.” It’s a sentiment I’m inclined to agree with.

So if one regular season game isn’t enough data to jump to conclusions on a player, why is it that I see people making a big deal out of one quarter of a preseason game?

I couldn’t turn anywhere without seeing something about Mark Sanchez’s pick-six against Detroit. I’m not a Sanchez fan but look at his overall stat line from that game: 10/13, 125 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception. He didn’t get sacked in the game. Sure, it’s easy to look at the interception, but what about the ten completions, 125 yards, and the touchdown? Crickets.

Then there’s the predictable bashing of Tim Tebow for his awful 4/12 passing line to go along with three sacks. I’m not going to sit here and argue Tebow didn’t have a bad performance, but did you see Cam Newton’s passing line? 3/6, 16 yards and an interception. What about Russell Wilson and his 2/6 for 23 yards?

You know who had a great game in preseason week 1? Tarvaris Jackson. He completed 8 out of 9 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. Anybody who has watched Jackson play for any length of time knows he’s not a good quarterback. He’s downright painful to watch at times. But give him 9 pass attempts in the preseason and he might just turn in an efficient performance.

When a player performs in the preseason, he often does it with a bunch of third or fourth-string teammates who have never played together in their lives, and often gets less than a quarter to show what he can do. You might think Tebow/Sanchez suck, and I agree on Sanchez, but the preseason should not be taken as evidence one way or the other.

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