Preseason has not been kind to the Atlanta Falcons.
The current stars of Hard Knocks have been less than impressive in exhibition action, eking past the Dolphins and losing in a blowout to the Texans. More concerning than the box score is the season-ending injury to starting left tackle Sam Baker, who suffered a torn patellar tendon in Saturday night’s 32-7 defeat.
Asked to find a silver lining in preseason contests, Falcons receiver Roddy White came up blank.
“Nothing,” White told reporters, via Profootballtalk.com. “You get nothing out of exhibition games except for a lot of peoples conditioning, what shape they are in, and if they are able to go 60 plays or not. You learn how far your young guys have to go, grasping concepts and things you want them to do, but other than that the veterans go out and play. Everybody just tries to get through this thing and try to stay healthy as possible and make it to game one. Like today, our left tackle got hurt and we don’t know if he is going to be ready for the season or not. It’s stuff like that, that tells you a lot about these games. I know you can get hurt at practice but playing unmeaningful games and getting your left tackle hurt, I just don’t know. I don’t know what you judge from these preseason games. I’m not a fan about them, but we have to play them.”
Coaches will tell you that preseason is crucial for evaluation. It’s a necessary evil in terms of paring down a roster from 90 to 53, putting the spotlight and pressure on players that can help the team succeed. As White alluded to, injuries happen at any time, and Baker, who appeared in only four games last season, isn’t exactly Iron Man.
The ever-outspoken White has the right to voice his opinion, but ultimately will have to suck it up until the regular season begins.