June 23, 2024

Dan Campbell thinks a two-game preseason would hinder development of young players

As discussions continue around the NFL about the possibility of adding an 18th game to the regular season while shortening the preseason to two games, Lions coach Dan Campbell cautions that it could hinder the development of young players.

Asked about the schedule proposal at a Lions offseason practice, Campbell said the Lions have had success with young players because they’ve used the preseason to evaluate and develop those players.

“That’s another game, but if you reduce a preseason game you’ve got all these young guys you’re trying to develop,” Campbell said. “You look at what we were able to do with some of our young guys last year, and how important they were to us winning, but there’s a process to it. And so if you don’t get them developed or get them enough reps to where they help you, then that’s the only thing, that’s what you lose.”

Campbell isn’t the only coach who sees the preseason as an integral part of player development, but it’s the owners who will make the decision on the length of the preseason and regular season, as part of a negotiation with the NFL Players Association. And what usually wins out in those negotiations is money. If the owners are convinced an 18th game will bring in enough extra revenue, and the players’ union is convinced that their share of that revenue will be worth an extra week of work during the regular season, then it’s eventually bound to happen. Whether coaches like it or not.