While the fans and media throw around the term "meaningless" in reference to this weekend's game, the players aren't. Nor are the coaches. Marty Mornhinweg taked about why.
"It's certainly important to the football team. We have an opportunity to go 5-1 in the division and dominate the division. We have a chance to go 8-8. There are some team and offensive things that they can accomplish together, and they are proud guys. I think they'd like to do that. There are some individual things that can be accomplished with a pretty good game. [snip] The reason is that this is important to the guys. These guys are pro football players and they're paid to play the game. There are only a certain amount of games in their career. They're working hard on the field and they're doing a heck of a job with the preparation. Throw in some character there and they're in pretty good shape."
So... amongst all that, there are a few good points in there. For one, some players do have performance incentives so this game is very meaningful for their finances and they certainly don't want to sit. Some guys like Jason Babin have a chance to get a franchise record or lead the league in sacks.
But more than anything, I thought his point about guys only having so many games in their career was telling. If these guys care enough about football to make it to the NFL, then they don't want to sit on the sidelines. And as a coach, how do you tell them to turn that off?
But then again, if LeSean McCoy tore an ACL in a game like this... Angry mobs might march on the NovaCare complex.
How would you play it? Would you rest starters to prevent the chance of an injury for next year? Or do you let the guys loose to do what they do?