I bark about the fact that some fans put too much emphasis on the performance of the team in the preseason. However, the other night on the Inside the Jungle podcast, we had an off-show caller whose point made a lot of sense to me (thanks to listener Kyle).
Most reasonable fans aren't looking into the preseason performance and judging it on whether the team wins or loses. They want to see tight plays, good execution and no injuries. So when passes bounce off of A.J. Green's hands and Jeremy Hill fumbles away a decent carry, there is cause for concern.
I can agree, the sloppy play all around from the Bengals in the second pre-season game is concerning. The fan in me takes those feelings of "Oh no, maybe we are not that good" and temper's them with thoughts of motivation. The preseason is a time where players who may not have a chance in the NFL try and prove that they do belong. So players who are not in danger of being cut may have an issue with motivation.
I then think back to my playing days. What motivated me when I was younger? One big motivation was when the coach would allow us to end a practice or skip a drill based on the performance in the previous activity. So this is what I would like to see from the Bengals.
Marvin Lewis needs to tell his offense one simple directive: score two touchdowns. Then you can be done. Players will want to prove they can attain this goal. They will also have the extra motivation around being able to end their night early. The hope would be the offense comes out motivated and crisp and finds the end zone on the first two drives. Would a two touchdown night in the first quarter be enough to prove your players can gel, and that the team is ready? I think so.
So what I hope to see in this next pre-season game is a throwback to the days of youth sports where sometimes we prayed for rain. Motivate the players by allowing them to dictate how long they will be on the field, and if necessary, have some orange slices ready as a celebration.