It could be just me, but some of the worst football ever was on display to open this 2018 season.
I don’t remember the current trend of teams keeping key players out of preseason action in order to avoid injury at such a volume as this year. The quality of the NFL week one 2018 product was questionable this year, and no division escaped. Could it be due to not enough preseason work?
The practice of teams keeping their front line players out of preseason action is understandable. The goal is to preserve the best players for regular season play. The drawback of course is that from what we’re seeing in this first week of play is less than ready players.
It’s not unusual to see players not quite razor sharp to start the season. Game conditioning may be contributing to poor tackling. This may be my biggest pet peeve. As a 49ers fan we’ve witnessed this way to often down through the past three or four years.
When a new coach is introducing and installing a new system to a team, time is needed for the players to grasp the playbook and learn enough to execute play some where near acceptable.
In week one of this season as 49ers fans we watched a team that didn’t really resemble the team that finished the 2017 season with five games in a row in bacon crisp fashion. We expected the 49ers to come in, and look every bit as sharp as we remembered from last year. What we saw was a lot of mistakes that we weren’t expecting.
The problem with my theme is that the 49ers didn’t really hold players out of the preseason. However, the starters didn’t play any games against hostile competition for any length of time other than a half in the third game of the preseason schedule.
Timing between players on both sides of the ball takes time, and most likely there is a minimum amount of time needed for the rapport between the respective units to get in sync.
The sad thing is teams that took every precaution to save their players for the regular season are still going down to injury.
It’s a matter of damned if do and damned if you don’t.
This issue is why young teams struggle so much more at the beginning of the season, than veteran teams that have been together for a few seasons already. Teams that are winning year, after year have their systems down, know each other well, and run like a well oiled machine.
Interestingly enough, a number of teams every year come out smoking hot, only to fade as the season progresses, as other teams come on stronger and stronger to finish the seson.
We have to wonder after week one what scenario the 49ers will fall into at this point.
With that said, I don’t think cutting back on preseason games, and extending the regular season is a good idea. If the season would have started, and counted two weeks ago it would have been really hard to watch.
The good thing is we’ve gotten week one out of the way, and I expect the 49ers to look better this week. In fact, not only the 49ers should display better form this week, every team in the NFL should.