t’s a warning label that you refuse to read: Do not draw strong conclusions from NFL exhibition games.
The urge is always there to ignore the instructions, overdose and overreact. It’s especially difficult this year because the lockout left people hungrier than ever for football, but the teams are frighteningly unprepared to impress. There were no minicamps, no organized team activities, no news on how your favorite squad was coming together. No time for a meticulous, gradual process. And now, no time for patience, either.
Just throw it together and throw it out there. And judge — quickly and decisively. The season is only 19 days away. It feels like 19 hours away, but the quality of play suggests these teams are 119 days away.
What to do? Relax.
Everybody is kicking up dust about the Seahawks through two glorified practices. There are calls for a quarterback controversy between Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. There are major concerns about the offensive line’s youth movement, about struggling wide receiver Golden Tate’s mental state and about cornerback Kelly Jennings’ affinity for giving up the big play. Just the same, there are major crushes developing: third-string quarterback Josh Portis, safety Jeron Johnson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin, to name a few.
There’s nothing wrong with reacting to what you see, of course. If the NFL was concerned with tempering expectations, it would swallow the $1 billion it makes off the exhibition season and close those scrimmages to the public. But that’s definitely not happening, so you watch these meaningless exhibition games, hoping they provide something insightful. Or incite-ful. And even if they don’t, you figure out something to focus on, anyway. Just be careful not to put too much into it.