Training camp is exciting. It's where most of the information about
the team seems to come, honestly. The downside? So much of it's
You have the fluff pieces from the local media, for one. It's
essentially that time again, you have a story about where Steve Smith is
(he's awesome), the yearly story about how a formerly disappointing wide
receiver looks fantastic (the Keary Colbert-Dwayne Jarrett-Armanti
Edwards stories need minimal change, especially since the statistics
don't change much either).
And, you get hundreds of tweets about a single data point in a player's
practice history. Observations are great, even untrained eyes. If I
were there, I'd be the same way, so consider that if anyone's reading
this amongst the rapid-fire tweeters.
But nonetheless, I'd caution against putting long term implications on
players based on what was said in a couple tweets. Or who lined up
where for a couple snaps.
It's tough not to do it. I know a single disastrous snap in a real
game can damage a fringe player significantly. I know a small success
in a game for a hopeful player can be a great start toward full-on
success. But it's just one data point. Even less, honestly, if it
happens in the early stages of camp.
The truth is, I've only really seen a handful of examples of being
really fantastic in training camp and fan expectation turning into
realistic production - and those guys tend to be undrafteds that
happened to far exceed expectation. Fred Lane is an incredible example
- but for every Lane, there's a hundred big receivers that were going to
be the next Muhsin Muhammad, before Moose left - after he left, and
after he came back. Same Moose, and a hundred guys who looked awesome
facing the same cornerback day in and day out, and couldn't do anything
on a real field.
As well, don't forget - one guy's success is another's failure. When
you're on the practice field, someone's failure is your teammate's.
It's not a terrible sign if Greg Hardy's killing it out there, but that
naturally means the line isn't doing their job either.
So, temper expectations. It's so fantastic just to have football -
maybe we can verbally end careers later in preseason.