About the impending clash, Al writes:
I honestly don’t care if the Lions win or lose to Cincy. The 2nd exhibition means two things, jack and shit. All I want is to see the 1st string play well and no one get hurt. Even if the 1st team didn’t play well, as long as everyone came out of the game healthy, I wouldn’t all that uptight about the results.
I don’t intend to get too uptight about the results either, but I no longer hold the opinion that wins and losses in the preseason don’t matter, especially for a team with a historically shaky confidence level like the Bengals. I have dwelled at length here on the ridiculous rash of injuries that sabotaged last season, but equally important to last year’s 7-9 finish was that the team broke down mentally as well as physically. The most obvious sign of that was Ocho Bozo, but there were also Carson Palmer’s “we can’t win” comments at the end of the season, Levi Jones’ trade demands, and a mic’d-up Justin Smith caught complaining that “our stunts never work” on MNF, just to name a few incidents.
Preseason is usually thought of as a time for players to get back into football shape, learn new plays and systems, and “shake off the rust.” But it’s also a time for building confidence, camaraderie and esprit de corps. And waking up the morning after as a winner is a lot more conducive to that than waking up a loser, even if the game was “meaningless.”