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Notes: Injury precautions influencing preseason starter usage across the NFL

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Thursday night reminded everyone that preseason games are real in the physical dimension.

Detroit Lions v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It seems like everyone is weighing in on whether or not Matthew Stafford ought to play in the third preseason game (we did too) for the Lions, so here is another take. This time, it is Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press making the argument that Stafford does not really need to appear in the game.

As pointed out by Mike O’Hara on WJR 760, a lot of the “first-team reps” that some fans would like to see from Stafford in a game setting have been addressed in joint practices where both teams are definitely using their starters. According to Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk, teams playing preseason games without their true starter taking any snaps is fairly widespread: twelve teams had not used their starting quarterback at all in their first two preseason games.

Birkett’s point about it being a “high-risk, low-reward venture” has already been made tangible for other teams in preseason Week 3. One of the teams that hadn’t previously used its starter was the Carolina Panthers, and their 2015 MVP quarterback “luckily” sustained what appears to be “just” a mid-foot sprain against the New England Patriots.

The Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon took note of another Thursday night injury scare for the Green Bay Packers when first-round pick Rashan Gary and presumptive WR4 Equanimeous St. Brown both left preseason action against the Oakland Raiders early.

Head coach Frank Reich’s decision to sit most Colts starters (including potential Week 1 starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett) for their third preseason game against the Bears had safety in mind:

Whatever happens under center Friday night, Lions fans should still have some stuff to watch for, even if the veteran quarterback making the plays is someone other than Matthew Stafford.

On to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • ESPN’s Michael Rothstein talked to Jamal Agnew and Josh Johnson about a financial topic that does not come up too often in the football world: school loans. Really nice window into the long-term planning and thinking both have done.