Preseason has taken down two key players in Baltimore in 2016, and John Harbaugh is demanding that changes are made as to how the league carries out preseason.
It's been a relentless preseason across the NFL in terms of injuries. Teddy Bridgewater, Tony Romo, Sean Lee, Kenneth Dixon, and Benjamin Watson are just a few names of players who have suffered an injury in the 2016 preseason.
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Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke out about the adverse effect preseason games have on the health of players and how it directly affects each team's success rate. Although he is adamant that it's not in response to the injuries the Ravens have dealt with, Harbaugh is clamoring for the NFL to stop hosting preseason games every year.
"I know the league and the Players Association is working very hard and trying to figure out ideas to work out the preseason," Harbaugh said to the Baltimore Sun (via Jeff Zrebiec). "These are big, fast, strong men running around out there. It's not 25 years ago. … It's not the 70s anymore. These guys playing in these games -- it's tough -- and they're not meaningful games. They are important to get better, and they improve us. But we football coaches can find ways to get our guys ready and get our players evaluated without the kind of risk that a game necessarily entails."
Admittedly, he knows the higher ups have to make the end call on fixing how preseason works. Specifically, the union and the league would have to work together to come up with a tenable system that benefits rookie and veteran players, coaches, and front office personnel equally.
It's a flawed system and it's been derailing success for every team in the NFL for years. When asked how many preseason games would be a more appropriate number, Harbaugh was clear when he stated, "zero."
Aug 27, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stands on the field during the second half against the Detroit Lions at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Recovering from an Achilles injury from last season that had him out for two preseason games, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is in staunch disagreement with Harbaugh. He finds preseason to be a necessity.
"Anytime you line up on a football field and risk getting hurt, it's out there," said Suggs. "Truth be told, we need some of these games, just maybe not four; maybe three, maybe two. But we do need some of them. But other than that, people getting hurt, it's very unfortunate. But we know it's part of the game."
The Ravens have had a dazzling preseason so far, winning all three games they've played. Quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been out with a knee injury he sustained last season in Week 11, looked sharp in his preseason debut last Saturday. Baltimore is slated for a successful season if they continue to display the promise they have during this preseason.
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