Last month I called on NFL teams to skip the normal routine, and play their starters longer into preseason Week 4 to compensate for the lack of an offseason. A lot of them didn’t listen, and they’re paying the price.
Kansas City went into preseason treating it like a training camp day. Makes perfect sense then that the Buffalo Bills annihilated the Chiefs at home, making the Arrowhead faithful feel like they were watching preseason game No. 5 instead of their season opener.
Kansas City has a chance to get back into the regular season, but they have to go up against the anti-Chiefs — the Detroit Lions. Detroit took on the preseason like it owed them money; they ran their offense and defense like it was the real deal, and went 4-0 in the process. And they did took it to Tampa Bay in Week 1, another team that sat every starter in Week 4 and went with nothing but backups.
The Chiefs and Bucs have a lot of company. Atlanta Falcons committed a bold draft day move by giving up a ton to nab Julio Jones to bolster their offense, then went conservative in the preseason and finished winless. That trend continued as they were completely out-played by the Chicago Bears.
It’s a very different season this year, and most will agree the biggest losers of the NFL Lockout were first and second year players. Yet rookie Cam Newton looked so prepared one wonders if he had OTAs if he would have passed for 500 yards like Tom Brady.
At least the NFL veterans were supposed to be fine, right? They didn’t need a full offseason.
Tell that to Donovan McNabb who is a sub-100 yard game away from being benched for rookie Christian Ponder. Or maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers will want to hear about how a veteran coached team won’t miss what is becoming the most valuable part of the future in the NFL; the offseason OTAs. Pittsburgh gets to host the Seahawks who ran into what looked like the 1994 San Francisco 49ers. Tampa Bay will hope Josh Freeman and his offense woke up in the fourth quarter last week when they take on the Vikings, who will be desperate to right their own ship. So far neither of those teams have lost too many key players, like the St.Louis Rams; but wasn’t that the reason for resting your starters in the first place?