26 December 2011

To Rest or Not to Rest: Should Teams Rest Players?

We deal with this issue every NFL season as teams have clinched their playoff spots, division titles, byes, etc. should they rest their starters and how much should they rest them. Here are my thoughts.
I'm a firm believer of at least letting your starters play a half. I feel sitting them after a series or a couple drives could hurt your rhythm and timing, especially if you have a bye. I think that if the game means nothing, playing your starters at least a half keeps them in their rhythm for the playoffs because many times if teams rest their starters too much and then they are off for a week, they come out rusty.
Of coure there are exceptions to what I said before. If the game is a blowout for either team, no need to play the starters. If it's 24-0 in the second quarter, why bother playing your starters if the game is basically over already? Also, if a player has had injury problems throughout the season, he needs the most amount of rest possible because it's silly to play a key guy only to have him get injured again. This also ties into the injury thing, if your star quarterback takes a bunch of hits early on, might as well take him out and not risk a crippling injury.
Now of course, playing your starters could result in a rough injury. But that's any game of football, a physical sport is going to have injury repercussions potentially. But this is football, you can't just hide your best players even if the game doesn't matter in my opinion.

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