The dangers of the NFL preseason were on full display Sunday night when the Giants played the Baltimore Ravens.
Five Giants went down to injuries, including two serious ones. As I mentioned yesterday, wide receiver Michael Jennings is lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon and safety Will Demps is out for several weeks with a dislocated elbow.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning did not get hurt, but he took a big hit in the second quarter. Coach Tom Coughlin quickly got him out of the game after that.
The question is this -- is the preseason too long?
Occasionally, the idea of cutting the preseason to two games and expanding the regular season to 18 is floated.
Is that a good idea or a bad one? I'm not so sure.
The worst thing about any exhibition game is watching players suffer serious injuries.
I don't blame San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson for skipping the preseason games. Running backs take enough hits during the season. You hate to see them take more during meaningless games. Ask the Redskins' Clinton Portis about that. Just last year he suffered a preseason shoulder injury that caused him to miss significant regular season time.
The preseason might be too long for the star players, and for most starters in general.
For the players trying to make teams, though, and for the coaches trying to evaluate them fairly, two games is probably not enough time. There would be no real way to get starters adequate playing time to be sharp for the regular season while getting extra guys enough time to figure out who can help you and who can't.
In the end, I think four games is probably the right number. Injuries will happen occasionally no matter how many preseason games are played.