Scheduling a full season of games between 32 teams across multiple divisions and conferences is a logistical nightmare. And no matter how fair you try and make it, someone will inevitably feel slighted. While that’s a subjective claim and largely depends on how teams end up performing, sometimes it’s hard to deny that some teams get the short end of the stick.
Washington coach Jay Gruden certainly feels that his team got the short end when it comes to this week and next week’s games. This weekend, they’ll play the Green Bay Packers in a Sunday Night Football match up. Four days later, they’ll play a road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Playing a short week is hard enough on it’s own, but Gruden feels that playing the late game on Sunday before a Thursday game is unfair.
“I’m not sure anyone’s ever had to do this,” Gruden said. “The schedule-makers did us no favors.”
The usual protocol for a short week gives players and coaches the night off on Sunday and starts up on Monday. Given that players likely won’t get home from the game until midnight, they’ll have Monday off. Instead, they’ll do two-a-day practices on Tuesday and Wednesday before flying out to Dallas on Wednesday afternoon. Gruden’s biggest worry is injuries during practice.
“What if we get a couple guys injured and have to promote a practice squad guy?” Gruden said. “How will he get work? Or if we sign someone off the street? It’s a major concern.”
Thursday Night games get enough flak from coaches as it stands already. Scheduling teams to play Sunday Night games the week before is downright ridiculous, especially when the NFL claims to be working to improve player safety.