For most casual observers, the NFL preseason is an empty-calorie appetizer ahead of the regular season entree. For some players, however, the preseason can mean the difference between making a team or being cut.
Baltimore Ravens receiver Breshad Perriman is a prime example of a player competing for his job. The former first-round pick has disappointed through three seasons, struggling with injuries and on-field play. The 24-year-old has participated in just 27 regular-season games, missing his entire rookie season.
Perriman needs a stellar preseason to keep a spot on the roster and push for playing time in the Ravens' revamped receiver corps. His effort got off to a rocky start in Baltimore's preseason opener last week in the Hall of Fame Game versus the Chicago Bears, when a pass from Robert Griffin III went through Perriman's hands and led to an interception.
The flub started to another round of criticism fired towards the former No. 26 overall pick.
"I don't care what they see," Perriman said earlier this week, per the Baltimore Sun. "I don't know what they see because I'm not interested in what they see, for the most part. If they just see [the interception], then that's fine. It doesn't really matter who saw it. I made two more plays after that. I could have made a play and scored, and they still would have focused on the first one. But I can't focus on that because then I'm really not going to be focused on my overall game. So they can pick and choose what they want to see."
Perriman earned just 10 catches for 77 yards in 2017 and was a healthy scratch in four of the final seven games of the season. So far, he's followed that up with an uneven training camp, according to reporters.
"He just needs to make plays in the game," receivers coach Bobby Engram said over the weekend. "I think Breshad has had an up-and-down career here, but the thing about it [is] he's staying strong, he's still competing, and he just needs to go out and make plays."