A couple of days ago, old pal Sean McVay, the Los Angeles Rams coach considered to be one of the brighter people in the profession, announced that as long as he's in charge, QB Matthew Stafford "will never play'' in a preseason game, the risk/reward simply not worth it in his mind.
Ron Rivera is of a different mind.
“We’re gonna play our guys on Thursday,” Washington Football Team coach Rivera said of the NFL preseason-opener against the Patriots. “I’ll tell you that right now. I mean, it’s a great opportunity. It’s against a very good football team. Well coached. So, I’m excited about that potential.''
Rivera is no dummy, and he has his reasons. His Sunday statement regarding the plan for starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, 38, and other first-teamers is about timing and readiness and preparation - as outmoded as some believe that thinking to be.
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"I think that having the three games and then having a two-week prep period for the first game, it’s going to behoove us to play the guys a little bit more,'' Rivera said. "At least that’s my opinion.”
Is that opinion the correct one? Are preseason games really about coaching "tune-ups,'' or is the true lingering reason about owners' finances?
“What you’re looking for is the command, the command of the offense, command of what’s going on on the field and I think the respect of his teammates when he’s on the field,” Rivera said, specifically about Fitzpatrick's participation. “So, that’s what we’re really looking for. We want some success obviously, but the truth of the matter is, those things all come with time. This will be our first exposure, his first exposure as our first quarterback out there right now.”