Tonight, the NFL kicks off its preseason schedule with the Hall of Fame game. We're all excited to see football again, but what should you take away from preseason action?
Preseason football is a time for tryouts and experiments, not game plans and real game action. If the Broncos, for example, struggle with a very simplistic offense during preseason action, there's no reason to worry. Teams won't be giving away game plans that will be used in the regular season.
You should, however, keep an eye on individual matchups, especially in the trenches. Linemen either win any given battle, or they get beat. If one guy is repeatedly losing battles, that's cause for concern.
You should also be keeping an eye on backups; it's those players that have the most to gain or lose through the course of the preseason, and that's the guys that coaches are most concerned with, especially in the first couple of preseason games.
Ultimately, take preseason action at face value. Wins mean nothing. Seriously, winning doesn't matter. Look for improvement over production. Look for individuals making a difference. Most importantly, look for fundamental, sound play from teams to determine who may be in good shape and who may have work to do.
Preseason action is for coaches and players, not for fans. It doesn't really tell us much about how a team will perform in the regular season.