The NFL preseason is more or less meaningless in terms of results, but it’s absolutely vital for every team in the league. One, it gives teams a chance to get their young guys some reps, and two, it allows them to keep their veterans – like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson – completely healthy.
Besides, those guys are experienced enough, and good enough, to just get their necessary reps in practice, right?
“Well, I think we’ve always heard there’s a difference between practice speed and game speed in the NFL, so maybe we have to take their word on that,” NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling told Paul Nanos, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But I think it’s telling that you’re seeing franchise quarterbacks really play a lot less this summer than they have in years past. Aaron Rodgers, especially. Romo has only played a little bit. Brady hasn’t played at all. Big Ben hasn’t played. I think everybody is just taking health as the paramount importance. Why not protect these guys?”
And, on the flip side, why not show off your rookies? Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, a fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, has been absolutely sensational in the preseason. He’s completed 39-of-50 passes (78 percent) for 454 yards, seven touchdowns (five pass, two rush) and zero interceptions.
Cowboys fans are already in love with their rookie quarterback, but should they maybe pump the brakes a little bit? After all, it is only preseason.
“I don’t think so. Let them enjoy it,” Wesseling said. “They had to go through the whole Greg Hardy thing last year. Let’s have some fun with Dak Prescott. Sure, the Cowboys have been coaching him up really well and allowing him to play with Dez Bryant and a great offensive line, which obviously helps him. He’s done a lot of play-action, he’s done a lot of boot-action, a lot of plays where there are defined windows, which make it easy for him – which is what we call great coaching. So I think he’s got a lot in his favor, but it’s hard to be any more impressive than Dak Prescott has been.”
Still, Wesseling knows that teams aren’t specifically game-planning to stop Prescott – or really any quarterback in the preseason. If they were, things might be a little different.
“Quarterback play, especially, is very misleading in the preseason,” Wesseling said. “That said, you can look for traits. He’s shown ball location, poise, athletic ability, a good arm. Those are traits that you would believe would carry over.”