Football is back! Training camp started as mainstream media shifted their focus back to football. However, with training camp and preseason, which kicked off yesterday with the Hall of Fame game, comes a lot of tropes and false story lines to steer clear of and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
1. “Player X: ‘I’m in the best shape of my life.'”
This trope typically comes from a player that struggled the year before or sat the year out due to injury and they’re trying to assure fans that they are ready to go. They’re excited to get started and they can’t stop talking about how in shape they are so they say: “I’m in the best shape of my life.” It’s overused. So many players are in the self-proclaimed best shape of their lives that it gets exhausting. Not to mention, this is the NFL where players are expected to be in shape. Literally every single player in the NFL enters a season in good shape. It’s not special. So T.Y. Hilton will have to prove it on the field.
2. Rookie X has impressed in training camp
In this case, there’s a late round draft pick or undrafted free agent that has shown out in team practices. Kevin Tolliver of the Chicago Bears. This one isn’t necessarily blown out of proportion by the media more than it is by the fans. A useful thing to remember about these players is that they are doing drills with the second or third team. That doesn’t translate to success if they were to play with starters. It doesn’t mean they can’t be a good player, but it’d be useful to exercise some skepticism and not anoint bottom of the roster players for playing well against other bottom of the roster players.
3. “Blake Bortles has improved.” -Jaguars coaches
This one is one that shows up every single year. Every new year is the year that Blake Bortles is supposed to make the jump and show significant improvement and he has yet to do it. It’s also seen a lot with incoming second year quarterbacks,but, in those cases, it makes sense because there’s nearly always growth as a player from year 1 to year 2. Bortles is entering his fifth year in the league. It’s a little old at this point. It’s not impossible for him to improve, but we’ve heard that he’s improved every single year and have yet to see it translate.