A Much Better Plan for Preseason

Watching Cooper Rush botch the majority of passing plays that took place in the preseason opener was mostly frustrating because of the ripple effect that spread out from his incompetence.

What can be evaluated from that game in the way of WR and TE play? Precious little.

And for Dallas, the biggest question that needs answering is, can Dak hope to move this offense down the field and score with the revamped WR corps? Is Fehoko ready to contribute? Is Houston as good as he appears in practice? And at TE, Will Jake Fergusson contribute this year in a meaningful way?

The solution would be to have Dak play in every preseason game. Except, of course, this risks injury to the most important player on the roster.

Numerous teams around the NFL face a similar dilemma. In an era where offense dominates and a team has little chance of doing anything meaningful without a well-coordinated, potent offense, teams are still sitting their starting QB throughout much or all of the preseason games. This virtually guarantees that things will be pretty clunky for many offenses in the season opener and possibly for the first few weeks as they zero in on which players need to be on the field to make things work with QB1.

Red Vest to the Rescue

It doesn’t have to be that way. Teams should have the option of putting the red vest on any or all QBs that they send out to the field in preseason for all three games. If they want no QB in a the red vest, fine, no one gets the protection. But even if they want their 3rd-string field general to be clad in red, they should have that option.

As it stands now, teams are doing the bulk of their evaluations in training camp practices, where the QB is in the red vest and is designated as don’t tackle. But these scenarios don’t allow for evaluation in an otherwise full-blown game situation.

If a team is excited about a TE or WR or two and they would love to see him in a real game with the starting offense under the bright lights, wouldn’t it be great for them to do that and not risk their starting QB being lost of the year in a meaningless game?

Owners should like this idea, because they can actually market the preseason games as featuring their starting QBs—at least for part of the game. If the QB can’t be sacked, teams will be free to play around with different offensive line combinations, sub in different WRs and TEs, all of it.

It would be far better for all involved to run preseason this way. Right now, preseason is merely a tease. Football-starved fans tune in for a bit, then remember what an S show it is and change the channel.

How much better would it be to have the starting QB play the first quarter of all three preseason games, instead of playing just a few series in the "dress rehearsal" (if that)?

The only drawback I can think of would be that pass rushers wouldn’t get to sack anyone. They could touch the QB and have that constitute a sack, as long as hitting the QB or sacking him was a major penalty. It would make sense to make it a steep fine on the player, actually, to really discourage an overzealous defender from trying to make an impression.

I’m guessing this is where the league will end up with preseason, eventually. It makes too much sense.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.