No team in the National Football League is immune from injury. The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly are not as they have now seen two of their top four draft picks go down in less than a week with serious injuries. The fact is that under the current system of four pre-season games, guys are going to get hurt and some more seriously than others.
David DeCastro’s injury was surgically repaired Wednesday and it is believed he will miss about eight weeks of action. Third-round pick Sean Spence went down last night with horrendous looking knee injury that has resulted in numerous torn ligaments and landed a spot on injured reserve for the rookie from Miami.
As is always the case following significant injuries, discussions were had in person and throughout social media about how these injuries can be prevented. Some want less preseason games or less practice time. The fact of the matter is that injuries are part of the game and you just can’t escape them regardless of how many preseason games you play or don’t play.
Coaches need time to evaluate. Not as much as they once did simply because of technology and the ability to see potential draft picks and/or free agents in digital form, but they still need time. Veterans need ample time to get ready for the new season as well so flat out eliminating preseason games is not part of the equation.
I have to believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has finally been convinced that moving to an 18-game schedule just isn’t a smart move and no, I do not advocate with a reduction of preseason games either. What I would really like to see is the preseason schedule reduced down to three games, maybe even two, but I’m trying to be realistic here.
One of the major problems for any training camp is that guys get tired of hitting each other or guys in the same colors so to speak. Why not move to a two-game schedule in the preseason but allow teams a week with another team that would entail drills and scrimmages against each other? Coaches would have discretion as to who participates and who doesn’t. This might at least cut down on ‘potential for injury’ but we have to understand these can happen at any time.
I really believe something has to be done to limit injury in the preseason especially if this commissioner is going to continue to plead ‘player safety’ any chance he gets. Let’s see if he puts his money where his mouth is but I doubt it. Let us also not forget the investment owners make in these players as well and we all know money rules the roost in the NFL.