With a wave of preseason injuries hitting high-profile players like Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, the idea of cutting back on the preseason has become a topic of conversation around the NFL.
In the wake of Nelson's injury Sunday, Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed his displeasure with the preseason, calling them "meaningless games."
Members of the Indianapolis Colts, however, had a different take, saying the exhibition games are important, despite the risk of injury.
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"I definitely think it's a necessary evil," linebacker Jerrell Freeman said, per the Indianapolis Star. "No matter how much training you do, whatever you do in the offseason, whether you have two-a-days practices, there's no substitute for playing in a game. You can't get in game shape without playing in a game. That's why (starters) get more and more playing time each week. In this third preseason game, we're going to be out there for a while.
"You hate to see guys like that do down, but you kind of have to do it."
Fellow linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who is entering his 10th season in the league, echoed Freeman's sentiments, saying the preseason can be as useful for players as it is for coaches who use the games for roster evaluation.
"I know for me, it would be impossible for me to go into a season without preseason reps, Jackson sais. "Just from a conditioning standpoint, getting your timing, getting a feel for things, there's only so much you can do. So, preseason is helpful.
"But it does scare you. Anytime a guy goes down like that, it's a constant reminder that you better take full advantage of your days on the field. A guy like Jordy Nelson, with how (important) he is in that offense, that's a huge loss for them. A huge loss."
Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams agreed the preseason is important, but said he'd like see a reduction in the number of games.
"My take on it is that I was a (rookie) free agent before and I needed those games to make the team," Adams said. "Now that I'm established, I can't now look at it like, 'Man, forget those preseason games!'
"But I think we have too many. I think four is just too many. I think a lot of teams can make their (roster) decisions after two weeks. You might have a couple guys who show flashes at the end, but other than that, they pretty much know."
(h/t Indianapolis Star)