Been trying all week to get these two pieces posted, gone so long I forgot my password.
After last year's restrictions, returning to a preseason sense of normalcy has fans, rookies, both drafted and UDFA, and veterans fully engaged.
Veteran's showed up to OTA's even though the NFLPA encouraged them to stay away and most teams voted to skip out. A quick informal count showed 70 to 75% showed of all players showed up. Although many had bonus money tied to attendance. The Athletic reported 200.
Drafted rookies got chance to show their skills at Pro Days (last years were cancelled mid-March), get a good start on learning playbooks, have supervised training, and build relationships. Except for a talented few, these are necessary steps because the transition from college to pros has such a steep learning curve.
The odds are already stacked against UDFA's. Marginal and/or unproven players need Pro Days, a full camp, and preseason games to earn the opportunity to compete and prove they are NFL caliber, get enough significant snaps to show coaches they can contribute, and when they invariably make mistakes, they can correct them.
For ALL players, one stat stands out. Last year's injury rate was 14% higher than the previous decade's average.
Fans need the preseason most of all. we have to pick our favorite roster long shots, pick apart the incoming draft class or puff them up, and of course, wonder what the hell is going on with the offensive line. Since we don't get any substantial training camp reports, we need preseason games to figure out, with our own eyes, what the roster battles are and whose winning them.
We all enjoy the fun of roster battles and speculating on who's in and out. But really, how many spots are truly up for grabs. Luckily, BoyGenius leaves us breadcrumbs to follow, if your not playing in the preseason games and not injured, your in. At least, that's been his history.
It looks to me that there are only 8-10 roster spots that are realistically open, barring anymore major injuries.