Preseason Predicaments

It is a problem that plagues the NFL year after year: the preseason injuries. One short play can ruin an entire season for a player. Coaches are faced with a difficult issue: do they allow starters to play in preseason games to practice for regular season? Or do they bench starters to keep them safe and healthy for regular season? In some ways, preseason is a conflict of interests. You have top players with their spots assured on teams playing against players battling it out to make the cut. That can be a recipe for injuries.

The Bears’ defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a concussion in the first preseason game. Thankfully, he was cleared to play in the Bears’ season opener against the Bengals.

Vikings’ Kevin Williams suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s preseason game against the 49ers. Williams was hit with a low block by a Joe Looney, a back up guard for the 49ers. An MRI concluded Williams is suffering from a hyper extended and sprained knee, and his return for the season opener is questionable. Skeptics saw this as a dirty play on a defenseless player. However, Looney claims he did not purposely hurt Williams, he was just trying to finish a block.

Packers’ DuJuan Harris suffers from a similar issue. He re-injured it in the preseason game against Seattle. The Packers have running back Eddie Lacey to start in the September 8th game if Harris is unable to play.

Bears’ coach Marc Trestman is choosing to bench most starters in their upcoming preseason game against the Browns. This will both keep starters safe and allow the team to evaluate players on the bubble.

As preseason winds to a close, coaches will have to choose if playing starters is worth the risk.


3 thoughts on “Preseason Predicaments

  1. Anna Tarullo

    Fantastic question. Whether to play star players or not at the risk of injury is a question relevant to all arenas of sports, from the final minutes of an already-won college football game, to the one year of college that is required before entering the NBA draft, to pre-season NFL games. Out of all of these scenarios, NFL pre-season games seem the most fruitless to be able to have long-term effects on players and teams. It will be interesting to see that changes that will be made.

  2. bpatbend

    This is a question I posed on my radio show last week. With all the bad injuries the NFL has seen the past few seasons, would it be best for football to reduce the number of pre-season games? I say yes. The NFL is an evolving league that has seen changes in the past, and if any commissioner has the guts to do it, Goodell does.

  3. cpace2016

    This is a really interesting piece and you couldn’t have a better background than what has been the 2013 preseason with the ridiculous amounts of injuries it seems that there have been. My real “editorial” comment would be that the question posed in the lede probably could have done without the question mark before the “Or,” of course I do admit I’m not 100-percent sure what the style is for that. I would also like to say that a column written by Richard Sherman of the Seahawks would have been a lot better at driving the point home and came from a players’ perspective, one that is too often silenced. You can find the column here: (sorry it wouldn’t let me hyperlink)


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