The Cleveland Browns play their 2021 preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons tonight and with playoff expectations riding high, we’re all just hoping to see everyone get through the game healthy.
Baker Mayfield and some of the starters will play, and that’s a scary proposition considering what happened Saturday night to Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins.
Dobbins left the field on a cart and the expectation is that the Ohio State product will miss the 2021 season.
I know there’s a sect that wants to see the starter’s play, but in December, will it matter if Mayfield and the offensive line play a few series against a Falcons team trending in the wrong direction?
In 2020, there was no preseason. The Browns got clobbered in the opener and that’s the ammo for some who want to see the starters get some reps. Never mind the Browns ended up going 11-5 en route to winning their first playoff game in close to 30 seasons.
2020 Cleveland Browns proved preseason not necessary
With the modern athlete spending more time than ever on being in shape, the preseason has become a relic. It’s really for the guys battling for jobs. The game itself is all about money of course, as the ticket to a preseason contest costs the same as a contest against the Steelers in October.
A lot of analytics involves making informed decisions off of data, which is why I’m surprised some starters will play. The risk of starting player getting hurt only increases with their presence on the field tonight.
In contrast, the team the Browns play in Week played their starters, with Patrick Mahomes going 20-29 for 199 yards and two touchdowns against one interception this preseason.
And if there were any guy you’d think a team would want to put in bubble wrap, he’d be everyone’s No. 1 choice. Alas, the Chiefs do things differently. There’s no right or wrong answer here, rather, just a difference in how teams prepare.
You’ve got to respect the Chiefs, but I just wouldn’t play Baker and company. Not after last year, when the team had it’s best season since 1994 without a preseason. To put it bluntly, it’ just not worth it.