We've made it: 20 consecutive weeks of professional football finally starts Sunday. That means 20 consecutive weeks of Monday knee-jerk overreaction is on the way, too.
Each Monday in this space, we'll try to calm the masses in a new weekly column called Knee-Jerk Monday. We'll try to point out when not to panic and what news actually matters. We'll get things started with some trends from the preseason.
The sky is not falling
Green Bay Packers' backup quarterback situation: Things didn't look pretty after the team dumped Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman. You never want to sign your backup quarterback the Monday before Week 1, but that's what Packers general manager Ted Thompson did when he brought Seneca Wallace aboard.
That's not a great sign, but what's really changed here? The Packers never were going to be a contending team with Harrell or Coleman as the backup. Their backup quarterback situation has been a problem since Matt Flynn left last year, not just the last few weeks. Yes, there is a ridiculous drop-off after Rodgers. That's also true of every top-shelf quarterback in the league and his backup.
Injuries to Rob Gronkowski, EJ Manuel and Santonio Holmes:Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone announced that "the plan" last week was to start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. Some outlets ran with the story like Tuel was projected to start, but rookie EJ Manuel always was going to be the guy if his knee injury healed as hoped. Manuel had a "full practice" Monday and looks on track to start in Week 1.
All the fantasy football league players who drafted Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes have to be smiling. Gronkowski already is practicing in full pads and 11-on-11 drills in New England. Holmes, meanwhile, is practicing again for New York. His supposed season-threatening foot injury magically cleared up once training camp was over. Contract year!
Mid-summer injury reports often get overhyped. Teams speak loudest with how they use their players, and all three of these players are making rapid progress.
Marshall has made some noise about his hip injury not being fully recognized, but he has looked better this year than last. His workload has increased. His hip hasn't been truly healthy for years, and he still produces. There always will be a little drama when Marshall is on your team, but this seems very tame.
Any preseason performances:They just don't matter. You think you know something after watching the preseason, but you just don't know. Teams that struggled in August will be great in Week 1, and vice versa. The preseason only matters for injuries and guys earning spots on depth charts.
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