Mon. Dec 30th, 2019

SF Sports

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The Interview

In this interview, you’re not getting dressed up in a suit and tie. You’re not shining your shoes. You’re not starching and ironing crisp creases into your pants and collared shirts to look the best. You are bringing yourself and the ability to compete. Some interviews take 10 minutes, some take 20-30 minutes. Other may take 30 minutes to an hour and a follow-up interview might ensue in a day or two. This specific interview is a four-week period. A four-week period where dreams are crushed and fulfilled all in a matter of a snap of the football. 

This interview is called “The Preseason.” In the NFL, you have a 16 game, 17-week regular-season schedule. You’ll have a four-round playoff for each conference to compete to be crowned a Super Bowl champion. But, before any of that, there is a 4 week period called “The Preseason.” Many NFL fans don’t like watching the preseason because “It’s not real football” or “It’s boring.” Another problem that has come up is that NFL fans don’t like the preseason because of the injuries star players could get in games that aren’t important to the overall success for the upcoming regular season.

Here are some notable injuries during preseason injuries that have shaken the NFL; Tony Romo went down with a back injury in 2016 that seemingly was the beginning of the end of his career. That’s when Dak Prescott took the reigns as QB1 and never looked back. Also, Sam Bradford went down with his second major knee injury that most likely ended the chance to become a star in the league. With a trade a few years later, Jared Goff was drafted by the now, Los Angeles Rams, a franchise that looks like a force again after years of disappointment. There are more notable injuries but, after these two injuries occurred, young, talented quarterbacks stepped up to the challenge and took the league by storm.

As I stated before, When Tony Romo went down with the injury, the Dak Prescott era began in Dallas. He had to fill some big shoes in replacing a QB that had seemingly been the face of the Dallas Cowboy’s franchise for some time. He quickly rose to the occasion and led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and solidified his place as the starter from there on out. Another player that used the preseason to showcase his abilities and without a doubt earned himself a roster spot and starting role for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is cornerback, Vernon Hargreaves. On the shorter end of the height scale, measuring in 5’10 and ¾ inches, this cornerback quickly let quarterbacks know not to pick on him just because he is small. He may not be an interception machine but, he’s not afraid to stick his nose in run defense.

The preseason is about showing up and performing and making the right decisions and being able to overcome adversity. You could have a good game one week and then the next could be bad. It’s also how you respond to the pressure and the situational awareness the game will throw at you as a player. This four-week period is a competition for each player on each team, to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster on each NFL team. The best players will make the roster no if’s, and’s or but’s. As previously stated, in these four weeks, dreams will be both crushed and fulfilled on in a matter of a snap of the football.

One of the most over looked aspects about the preseason is that these players that put on a uniform for a specific team, may not make that specific team. These young players are playing for a roster spot on any of the 32 teams in the National Football League. If one player gets cut because he doesn’t fit in one teams’ scheme or if there is too much depth on that roster, another team might call because that player fits into their scheme or provides depth for that position. 

These four weeks may not be watched or viewed by as many people around the world like the regular season or playoffs would but, these four weeks are the most important four weeks to any one of these football players’ whole career competing for a spot to play in the NFL. The last thing you want to hear is “Coach wants to see you in his office, bring your playbook.”

On any given snap, a career could be made or could be lost. This goes for every position on the field. If you are a quarterback that doesn’t have moxie in the pocket and forces throws into tight coverage, or a wide receiver that drops passes and doesn’t run crisp, fluid routes or an offensive lineman who doesn’t have a good base or footwork to sustain a pass rush from a defensive end bullrushing off the edge, the coach will be wanting his playbook back. 

If you are one of those defenders that wrap up while tackling, sees what he is tackling, able to shed blocks, and have great pursuit to the ball carrier or a quarterback who can transition through his targets quickly, has a feel for the pocket and doesn’t force passes or even a wide receiver who can run smooth, quick routes, cause separation from defenders and has a great field awareness the coach will most likely let you keep that playbook. 

Ideally, one of the biggest and most important attributes of any player on the field is the ability to communicate to each other in any situation. Communication is probably the most important attribute in any and every kind of workforce throughout the world. If you can’t communicate, you will be replaced by someone who is better at it than you are. All 22 players have a job to do, some may be different than others but, all have one similar attribute that each player needs to excel at, and that’s communicating with each other on the field. 

This four-week period of the season is a gold mine for some teams! Players will be cut if they don’t fulfill the needs of one team but picked up by another because that player is the missing piece to the puzzle. This four week long interview for these special players that are smart enough, talented enough, and have the ability to persevere through adversity.

It may not be the most-watched games of the season but, players are playing for their careers in these games! To these players, these opportunities are everything. They aren’t dressing up in a suit and tie. They aren’t shining their shoes. They aren’t starching and ironing out creases in their outfit. They are strapping up their shoulder pads, tightening their chin straps, lacing up their cleats, and showing the world they either belong or do not belong in the National Football League!

Featured Image – Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi returns a punt for a touchdown during the preseason. He was sleeping in his car at nights and begged the Cleveland Browns for an opportunity. Photo Credit USA Today.

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