08/21/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
This time of year, the debate always arises about the NFL pre season. Are there too many games? Does anybody care? Why not decrease the number of games? Does the pre season even matter?
Of course there are pros and cons to each side. But one of the biggest cons is injuries. And not just injuries, but the potential of a severe injury to a top player. But it seems that while the blame tends to be placed on injuries happening during exhibition games, most of them seem to occur in practice. Or as was the case with a few well known players getting injured this summer, due to shear stupidity.
So far this pre season we've had a few big time players suffer big time injuries during exhibition games. Minnesota lost starting offensive tackle Phil Loadholt to a torn Achilles tendon during the team's pre season opener. Jacksonville escaped such bad news when newly signed tight end Julius Thomas was injured in the Jaguars first pre season game versus Pittsburgh. Thomas sustained a fracture in his left hand, but he is expected to be ready to go by the start of the regular season.
But the most severe injuries of this 2K15 pre season have occurred during practices. Houston running back Arian Foster needed surgery to repair a groin injury he suffered at the Texans first practice in pads. Carolina lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a knee injury at a joint practice with Miami. Two highly touted rookie WR's haven't even gotten on the field yet due to injury. Baltimore's Breshad Perriman suffered a knee injury of the first day of practice. Chicago's Kevin White hasn't even been on the field due to a shin injury that will have him starting the season on the PUP list and possibly missing the season. Both were their respective teams first round draft picks.
And then there's the just plain stupid. First it was Jason Pierre Paul of the New York Giants, who sustained a serious hand injury on the 4th of July due to handling fireworks. He has yet to suit up this pre season for the Giants. And stupidity has also surfaced with the other team bearing the name New York, as the Jets lost quarterback Geno Smith for 6 to 10 weeks after his jaw was broken in a locker room fight.
So yes, there is risk and the chance of injury occurring during exhibition games. But at least in this years sample, most of the significant injuries have not occurred during games. Obviously the NFL can't cancel off season practices or scrimmages. And some who feel the length of the NFL's pre season is necessary feel more of these non game injuries would occur if the pre season was shortened because players would have less of an opportunity to get their bodies in game shape.
Whether fans like it or not, pre season games and training camps are necessary evils of the start of a successful regular season. Of course, those seem like a lot less necessary evil if one of the star players on your team suffers a season ending injury in an exhibition game.
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