The preseason kicked off last night and arguably the game's biggest star, Tom Brady, was on the bench, despite being 100 percent healthy. Did the Patriots do the right thing by sitting their superstar to avoid potential injury, or should they have rewarded the fans coming off the lockout by letting him sling it for a couple series?
Preseason or playoffs? Thought so...As much as I want the fans to see Tom Brady play, I have no doubt the Patriots did the right thing in protecting their franchise QB. Sure, it would be nice to see him sling a few, but it's way more important to see him do so when the games count. Tom Brady playing now, or Tom Brady leading the Pats into the postseason? Yeah, I thought so.
Foxboro fans deserve refundDear Patriots organization,
The lockout is over. How about throwing the fans a bone by allowing them to see Tom Brady play a series in the first game back from the whole summer of unpleasantness?
What was that? All of the handwringing about the potential lack of preparation available for the players, and Brady sits? And more to the point, fans were rather upset by that whole lockout thing. One of the key sticking points was that fans do not want meaningless preseason games (or more to the point, do not want to pay for them), yet those fans who shelled out Thursday night did not get to see Brady in action.
Hey look, football is back -- just not in New England yet. Those fans duped into returning to Foxboro deserve a refund and an apology from the Patriots for having the gall to sit the team's most popular player after the longest lockout in league history. Hard to believe a franchise that thought it was cool to tape other team's practices could be this clueless.
Have to prepare for worst-case scenarioAll bets are off for the fans when it comes to how head coaches decide to use preseason games. Bill Belichick has to get his team ready for the long haul and one aspect of the preparation is to see how they handle playing without Tom Brady. Remember when he got hurt in the first game of the season and Matt Cassel had to go the distance? Cassel is gone and the team has to gain some confidence in Brian Hoyer. Not a bad first step last night. I'm sure we'll see Brady in the next two games.
The college argumentPreseason games are football's version of a Civil War reenactment. They look real, but they aren't. There are grown men in uniform out on the field, but the games count for nothing. Preseason games are for rookies, undrafted free agents and "projects" like Timmy Tebow. They are not for Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson or anyone else considered to be important to their team's success in real games. With the imminent risk of a season-ending injury on every play, no real fan -- even one with a ticket to last night's game -- feels it's essential to see their team's star QB throw four passes in a meaningless mid-August scrimmage. If preseason games were so important, why don't they exist in college? If Landry Jones doesn't need exhibition reps, neither does Tom Brady.
Brady's not like Kolb, JacksonOf course it's prudent to sit Tom Brady -- and for most teams to sit their premier starters -- in Week 1 of the preseason. The only starters who have been with their respective teams for years that should play Week 1 are guys who aren't in shape, changed positions or are coming back from injury.
Now, veterans who've changed teams or are playing with new coaches, they should play some. Learning new schemes, gaining timing and adjusting to new players is important. That's why Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson and players like that need as much preseason time as they can get.
Most fans know that when they pay to watch in the preseason, they're not going to see much, if any, of the star players. They'd rather have the stars on the field when it matters, so I doubt anyone is too crushed that Tom Brady didn't play.
Too much risk for 10 snapsThis one is a no-brainer to me -- four preseason games is plenty and the remaining three will be enough for Tom Brady, the best in the game.
Fans know the deal with the preseason games, especially the first and fourth game. Could Brady have played and thrown a few passes? Sure. But if you feel there is risk involved, with the offensive line having so little time together in this lockout-marred offseason, then why risk it at all for 10 snaps?
Play Brady a littleI don't like seeing stars sit in preseason. It's not fair to the paying fans. Frankly, I'm sure Brady would've liked to play a couple of series. He needs the work like anyone else. In the '70s, teams played six preseason games and starters often went close to the whole way in some of them. There wasn't a huge rash of guys lost for the season back then because of the heavier preseason workload. In 2011, the only thing changed is the money invested. So, play someone like Brady a little. It's good for the game, the fans, and on top of that, the player's readiness for the regular season.