It’s easy to overvalue what happens in training camp. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers go through a lot of plays, and reporters and other observers can only get a partial view of some of them. The highlights are easy to see, but it’s almost impossible to know why they happen and who messed up, except in one-on-ones.
That’s why Dirk Koetter warned reporters away from overanalyzing highlight-reel plays and momentary ups and downs in training camp today.
“I don’t think surprised. He has made plays on the ball, he has also given up a couple plays too. I’m not trying to criticize, but you guys tend to make some big accusations based on two or three plays that jump out. I mean, there’s a lot of plays out there. Don’t base everything you report on two plays. There’s a lot going on out there.”
It’s good advice, and it’s also good to keep that in mind as we head toward the preseason, as well as Hard Knocks. It’s easy to overvalue flashy performance, overstate the extent to which players are struggling, and undervalue steady but unremarkable play.
Hard Knocks is especially prone to overreaction, because that’s what the show does: it turns the everyday reality of practice into a reality show with tense storylines and dramatic reveals—and that means dramatizing the importance of individual moments.
Instead, we should focus on the mundance and the long-term performance of players. A few flashy catches may be less important than consistently running routes well. A few blown coverages may not be the fault of the player you think, or may not be as important as the player’s performance on every other snap. These are things we really can’t know—so we should avoid overly strong statements based on limited plays.