Adam Schein of NFL.com posted this on Twitter after the Cowboys’ preseason opening loss at San Diego: “Never, ever overreact to the NFL preseason. Having said that, the Cowboys are the worst team in the NFC.”
Was that 27-7 Dallas loss a stinker? Sure. Does it matter? No. The Cowboys’ D was without Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Orlando Scandrick, Barry Church, Henry Melton, George Selvie, Terrell McClain and Rolando McClain. That’s eight potential defensive starters that didn’t play. The Cowboys O was resting Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar and Jason Witten.
That game – like all preseason openers – wasn’t about winning. It was about evaluating individuals – individuals who in most cases won’t be getting first-team snaps in Week 1 of the regular season. How little merit is there in evaluating team stats in a game like that? Consider that this same weekend, the 49ers and Patriots (both expected to be powerhouses) were inferior even to Dallas. The 49ers would be the worst team in the NFC, having scored just three points while getting blown out. The Patriots would be the worst team in the AFC as they were only able to muster six points while getting blown out as well.
And it’s not just one preseason game or just this week. The rule of logic being violated by Schein is made obvious every summer, like in 2005 when the Colts went 0-5 in the preseason with a combined score of 143-72 but then started the regular season with 13 consecutive victories, or when the 2008 Lions went 4-0 in the preseason with a combined score of 80-32, only to become the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 in the regular season.
My colleague Mark Lane, the man behind the research here, has coined an applicable phrase: What happens in the preseason, stays in the preseason. I trust Adam Schein already understands this as well as he understands the value of trolling. But just in case you don’t: His tweet was half-right. The half that labeled the Cowboys “the worst team in the NFC” is ridiculously presumptuous and designed to get attention for Schein, as opposed to shedding any light on what’s going on here at the Cowboys training camp. The other half of his tweet that says, “never, ever overreact to the NFL preseason?” That suggests Mr. Schein has half a clue.