So, why wasn't I surprised that the team released Jonathan Dwyer? He was playing too much in the preseason.
I think many people get confused as to what the purpose of the preseason is. Why would you give Dwyer that kind of workload with the attendant risk of injury if you are sold on him being one of, or the workhorse back in your system in the regular season? That's crazy. By contrast, Isaac Redman, and to an extent LaRod Stephens-Howling showed a little and were shut down. Yes, I know, they were 'injured'. I think if it were the regular season they would be playing.
And how would you justify getting rid of Redman without giving him a fair shot at competing for the job, and, just as importantly, not having the opportunity to audition for another club?
Once a player convinces the team that they belong what does it profit that team to continually put them in harm's way unless, as was the case with a Cortez Allen, they need the reps to prepare themselves for the season. All the veterans needed that, but not the kind of work that Dwyer was getting. Now, the argument could be made that they were testing his durability, but again, that supports the position that he was in audition mode, not preparation mode.
The agendas of team and those of fans can diverge during the preseason. Fans want signs of hope. They want a preview of coming attractions. Teams want to get out of this phase injury free if possible, get timing down, install upgrades, establish who's in and a pecking order, and hopefully keep somethings under wraps so they don't telegraph to opponents what to prepare for or attract too much attention to promising prospects that they might hope to develop. A deep veteran team which the Steelers were for most of the last decade can pull off both. They are perhaps too young and too thin to do that this year, but that does not mean they can't compete when the lights come on. It mere says that their margin for error is thin.
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