The NFL’s decision to cancel the entire preseason because of the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt annoy coaches and delight most players. Coaches will miss the games to evaluate the roster, while the players will enjoy the break in August.
Yet, the fact that the preseason will not be a part of the 2020 NFL season isn’t great for all players.
Let’s look at three Rams who could have benefited by playing in the preseason:
Like fellow second-round pick Cam Akers, Jefferson is expected to play a lot as a rookie. However, unlike Akers, the lack of a preseason could hurt Jefferson. Usually running backs adjust to the NFL faster than wide receivers — running backs often have instant success, while receivers take a while to develop. Missing the preseason could push back the development of Jefferson and it shouldn’t be a shock if he doesn’t produce much early in the season.
Most starters don’t need much preseason play, but Kiser is unlike most starters. He is a projected starting inside linebacker for the Rams, but he has never played defense in the NFL. Kiser was set to be a big contributor last year, but he was lost for the season after suffering a pec injury in preseason.
The Rams now need him to shine with Cory Littleton in Las Vegas with the Raiders. They have high hopes for Kiser, who played special teams in 2018, but he is going to be challenged facing the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 because of his lack of experience. Kiser can catch up, but he may be mentally swimming for a few games.
The Rams’ current backup quarterback has never played in the regular season having been on the practice squad last year. Can you imagine if starter Jared Goff goes down against Dallas, and the Rams’ season relies on Wolford without any preseason snaps? It’s a scary thought and another reason why general manager Les Snead may need to bring in a veteran backup.