Coaches have different objectives for the preseason than players do.
Although a few coaches try really hard to win, be it due to ego or low self-esteem (we all know who those are), most coaches really don’t care about the preseason’s W/L record. They get it: it doesn’t count. And because starters play so sporadically, there is enough discontinuity that it is often only suitable for generally determining if a veteran is rounding into regular season form and if the depth guys are showing enough promise to make the 53.
For most of us, this makes for reasonably unsatisfying preseason viewing. The fan can only HOPE that the poor outcomes are the result of bland playcalling and not a symptom of suckitude. And yesterday’s game fell right in line with that.
On second-and-two and third-and one on Tua’s field goal drive, I was of course displeased with the failure to make the short yardage conversion, but more distressing to me, I was concerned/angry at the very weak playcalling. Given the interest in seeing the Dolphins generate some rushing yardage and Coach McDaniel’s advertised pedigree as a creative play designer, I’d kind of expected better. So, I was left with a bitter taste and a sinking feeling.
But then, in the fourth quarter, after putting up a reasonably bad three quarters of televised effort, and with a chance to go ahead, McD dialed up a great play-action fake that resulted in an open wheel route and a veritable waltz into the end zone. Apparently, there is just so much a man can take. It was clear that Coach had had enough of his team looking like crap in front of everyone, and said to-hell-with "playing close to the vest". Being shown a glimpse of "what can be", I felt a LOT better.
Now players, on the other hand, are all trying to do their best with whatever snaps they are given, regardless of score, quarter, or down-and-distance. Let’s compare two plays:
- Teddy, with ample time to throw the ball away, takes a sack in the end zone for a safety. I fully understand the difference between a veteran backup QB and a rookie backup. But a rookie could be just as situationally unaware as a veteran and take a safety like that.
- Skylar needs to call a time out and, in front of everyone, angrily chews out the player (forgot who) that was the cause for needing to burn the time out. Just the way he motioned the "T" to the refs made it evident how much he was spitting nails. Someone’s mistake had cost the team, and as the leader on the field, the rookie QB took the guilty party to task. Sound anything like Brady’s behavior? Or Rodgers? Or even Marino, who was well known for being demanding (putting it nicely)? I am not saying Thompson is one of those guys yet, or maybe ever. But he’s already a leader.
If there is an opportunity to get value for Teddy, I am now in the camp that says, "do it." As far as backing up Tua, the Skylar’s the limit.