Safe and Slow sounds well...safe....but slow...
The list of players suffering injuries that keep them away from training but should/could be ready for week 1 has quit a few key starters on it. Be it Miller, Avril, Clem, Carpenter just to name a few.
The FO attitude is safe and slow. Don't rush a player back, make sure he is 110% fit so his injury will not effect his whole season, sounds like the prudent thing to do even if the player is urging the team to get back sooner.
Nobody can argue that this is the responsible, smart and safe course of action right?
Well, OK, yes it is all that but…
If the goal of this team is to do as good if not better then they did last year (11-5), i.e. aim for 12-4 or better than that entails the following:
Win ALL your home games. Yes, all of them, even the really hard ones.
Win half of your away games. Yes, even if they are played at the east coast at 10am.
That should do it.
Winning away games has not been our strong point, especially those played on the east coast at 10am. We have 5 of them including some pretty tough teams to beat – Texans, Falcons, Colts, Giants. The other 3 away games are at 49ers and the improved Rams and Cardinals, not a walk in the park either.
If we need to win at least 4 of those – Winning over the Panters is a must. It's the easiest of the 5 10am games.
Winning at home is what we do best and we'll likely win most of them but if we must win all of them then the hardest one is obviously the 49ers game.
So, the keys to a 12-4 season start with 2 must win games, away at Carolina and at home against the 49ers.
We play those must win games on week 1 and 2 of the season. Starting 2-0 is a good indication that we are on track. Anything else may be an indication that the road ahead may be a bit rocky.
Here we get back to safe and slow. The season starts in less then 4 weeks. Practicing together as a full team and having your players at full football form for the season becomes vital now. The first 2 games mean too much to be used to knock of the rust and cement the starting lineup. That's what the preseason is all about.
So, considering how important those first 2 games turn out to be maybe, just maybe, we should take it just a tad less "slow & safe"? Maybe a championship team can take a small risk and push it a bit? Maybe we should let players who feel they are already ready have a go at it a bit sooner?
What do you think guys?