Mike Rice’s blog: No reason to panic
Jim Saccomano’s blog: Preseason time, not panic time
My Spidey Sense hath detecteth a theme here.
Not much sense in repeating what’s being uttered elsewhere in Broncos blog-land. But unlike my esteemed blogging brethren I’m not going to counsel you not to panic. First, I’m not much of a counselor; just because I say “y’all” doesn’t make me Dr. Phil. Second, on a social-observation level, I enjoy observing the panic, because I don’t understand it, at least not when it comes to preseason football. After all, if a regular-season or playoff contest is “just a game,” then what is preseason, anyhow?
I surmise the best observation on the preseason came in Domonique Foxworth’s blog. He quotes his defensive coordinator, Bob Slowik, who says, “Preseason doesn’t count, but it matters.” A letter-perfect sentiment. Foxie and Slow … smart men both. Former O-lineman Mark Cooper offers a similar sentiment in his blog and responses to commenters.
As an observer, I go into every preseason game with one thought above all — let’s get through this injury-free. That’s what made Saturday’s game so frustrating. The on-field action wasn’t great for the Broncos, but the result was reflective of two teams with different game-planning philosophies in regards to their first team. That happens.
Preseason “matters” in that you want to see cohesion, chemistry and a the afore-mentioned lack of injuries. It “matters” in that you want to evaluate individual players for purposes of grouping them together for a season-long whole. It “matters” in that you want to get a glimpse at guys who might help down the line — or that you figure out which ones won’t help in the regular season. Certainly, preseason “mattered” to Terrell Davis back in 1995, when he landed a haymaker on kickoff coverage in a game at the Tokyo Dome to first capture Broncodom’s attention.
But if preseason “counted,” the Buffalo Bills would never have gone to four Super Bowls or won six straight division titles from 1988-93. Their preseason record in those years? Eight wins and 19 losses, with nary a winning August in that time. They went 3-1 in the 1994 preseason — and promptly finished the regular season 7-9.
This isn’t to say the win-loss results of preseason games weren’t always unimportant. But you have to go back to the AFL-NFL preseason games in the late 1960s to find preseason results that dripped with meaning. The single most significant Broncos preseason game, IMHO, was on Aug. 5, 1967, when the Broncos defeated the Detroit Lions 13-7 at University of Denver Stadium. Thirteen nights later, at the same venue, the Broncos defeated Minnesota 14-3.
But since then for the Broncos? Nothing’s really matched that. Not in the preseason, anyway. Panic if you must, and panic in the comments. I only edit for cursing, over-the-top insults and, like Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek on “Celebrity Jeopardy!” we keep a no-ethnic slurs policy here. But I can’t join the panic attack. Maybe I’ve just been in the press box too long and take a broader, more distant view of things. But for now, I’m just going to wait it out and keep the panic button covered by a plastic lid for now.