Is Preseason Too Long?

We have all been listening to it on ESPN; we have seen the player interviews. How many times did they show San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson on a cart being taken off the field when you watched the news? <br><br> How many times did the ESPN's and Fox Sports show over and over and over again Michael Vick breaking his fibula on a play that he should not have been in on?

This Camp has been like a Mash unit, we have had players going down with Heel injuries (Tomlinson, and Davis), to players going down with Groin injuries (Alexander and Wiley), to losing Players to back Spasms (Williams and Milligan). We have lost Receivers to broken fingers (Osgood), and other bumps and Bruises (Dwight, Gates, Parker, etc. etc. etc.). Four players have already gone on IR and two more could follow shortly. I could on and name all the injuries but you have all read them here on the SD Bolts Report. The Question is, Is Preseason really too long? Is it worth the players to play in this Game?

My answer is, No and Yes!!

Preseason is used to evaluate players who are trying to make this team. It is used to build a cohesive unit of players that will be playing a total of 16 Season games and maybe a few extra in the post season if the team is lucky. You cannot just evaluate these players with one or two practices and then decide well there you go they wont make it.

You have some players that are terrible in practice, but outstanding in games and vice versa, you have players that might be injured at the beginning of camp that don't get a chance to play till the last few games.

Now do I think Ladanian Tomlinson, David Boston or any of the Starters on this team need to play in these games?

No, I don't.

What I do think is, they need to use these games to evaluate the talent on this team that are trying to:

A) Take a starting position (Linebacker Battle), or
B) Make this Team (Players like Mattos, Hand, Kramer and so on).

Two a days may be rough on some of the older players, but remember these young players are not yet ready for the rigors of the NFL.

I don't care if they were your # 1 pick, the speed of the pro game is much different then the speed of college. They need these games to elevate their play to the fast pace of the NFL. They need these games to learn the playbook and to get used to running the routes. They need these games and these practices to make this team.

Without preseason players like Mattos, Osgood, Bogle, Hand, and Jacques Cesaire would not have a chance to make this team, Players like Leber, Moreno, and Brees would not have a chance to become starters on this team. Why??

Because there is no way they would be able to prove themselves in practice situations.

Do you think a coach is going to play a player just because they look good in practice?? Ryan Leaf looked Great in practice and we all know what he did during a game.

Here is my point and then I will get off my soap box:

Players who complain about preseason are player who:

A) Whine about everything
B) Are out of shape, or
C) Already have their positions locked up

Rookies and Free Agents need the Preseason.

Veterans trying to make the team and hold on to their positions need the Preseason and face fans need the preseason because we like to see what our teams are going to put on this field.

So back to the question is Preseason too long?

No, I don't think it is.

In fact, I think they should cut one week of practice and add one more game. That way you know who has earned their spot and who has not. As it is even with all the injuries, camp closing down, and preseason over, a few questions still remain.

Tom Criswell can be reached at

SD Super Chargers Top Stories