Bill Belichick Says Having No Preseason Games Isn't 'Revolutionary'
One big change that will play a factor in roster building for NFL teams this year is the elimination of the preseason.
Those four games during the month of August are the perfect opportunity for coaching staffs to evaluate their talent by seeing how their players play on the field in a real-game environment.
But now they don’t get that luxury.
Bill Belichick, however, says that not having preseason games isn’t a “revolutionary” idea in football. He explained during his video conference on Friday.
"I think ever since the beginning of college football back in – well, I don’t know about all the way back when Rutgers started in the 1870’s – but that’s the way it’s been. You go to camp for three weeks, then you start the season. There are no preseason games, and you evaluate your team and you get ready to play. I mean, that’s what all college football teams do. So, I don’t think it’s anything that’s revolutionary here.
“This is just we haven’t done it that way in the National Football League for a while, and I certainly haven’t done it that way. I mean, I haven’t coached in college, but as a college player and growing up around college programs, I can remember those periods of time leading up to the start of the season. Teams had their scrimmages or whatever you want to call them and ways to prepare their team and at the same time evaluate the players. It’s a process that certainly goes into the early part of the season. This is just football, that’s all. I don’t really see it any differently."
This is no doubt an interesting perspective from the Patriots head coach. Yes, not having a preseason is normal for those in the college football realm. But it is a new norm for this at the professional level.
Whether Belichick admits it or not, the removal of the preseason makes things increasingly difficult for him as his team enters the post-Tom Brady era. Without game action, New England’s coaching staff must now figure out through practice reps whether Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham is the better fit to be the starting quarterback for the six-time Super Bowl champions, along with the many other positions battles that will take place during training camp. Because of that, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if Stidham is the Week 1 starter, since he has experience in New England’s system compared to Newton, who signed with the team a little over a month ago.
No preseason is just one more hurdle the Patriots must overcome. Luckily for them, every other team is facing the same hurdle.