The NFL is reportedly open to scrapping the entire preseason due to COVID-19, and Tiki Barber believes it's the right call – for many reasons.
In college, you don’t play any preseason games,” Barber pointed out on Tiki & Tierney. “You just pound up against each other. [You play] the spring game and . . . then you go on eventually and play Week 1 with everything at stake.”
Granted, a lot of elite programs load up their early season schedule with cupcakes, but that is not always the case. Alabama was scheduled to open the season against USC at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 5, while Ohio State was slated to travel to Eugene, Oregon, to take on the Ducks on Sept. 12. Both games have been canceled.
But if student-athletes can get by without a preseason, it stands to reason that NFL players could, too.
“I think the NFL can function just fine and maybe – maybe – more efficiently if they’re not forced to dumb down their playbooks and spend a week with the rookies getting them up to speed for the first preseason game,” Barber said. “Then you load in more of the game plan in Week 2, but the guys are’t really playing. It’s not until you get to that third preseason game where everybody is playing and it’s a dress rehearsal.”
Instead of going through the motions in training camp, Barber believes teams should take it seriously and prepare for the season that way.
If you’re asking me,” he sad, “I think four or five or six full weeks of training camp – but put the pads on and actually hit people; don’t powder puff this thing like they’ve turned training camps into – and you make that like preseason, I think they’ll be fine. [Some teams] might stumble out of the gate a little bit, but I think there’s ways around this. I’m not as worried about this as a lot of people seem to be [who are asking], ‘What’s the first couple of games of the season going to look like without preseason games?’ You’ve done it your whole life.”