Fasten your seat belts, the NFL is back and an agreement has been made. Adam Schefter is reporting that teams can sign Undrafted Free Agents tomorrow and as Jay Glazer reported: "Facilities open for biz tomorrow, camp starts Thurs for 10 teams, Fri for 10 and weekend for 12." (Redskins will be on Thursday).
What's a bit alarming to me are all the changes that have come in practices:
Under the terms of a new agreement, teams will be required to conduct only one full-contact practice a week during the regular season. No longer will two-a-days be part of NFL culture.
Say what? The sound you hear is Joe Bugel weeping. Although coaches and GM's have differing reactions, Charley Casserly had this to say:
It doesn't help the product. Bill Belichick, arguably the best coach in the NFL right now, runs more 2-a-days than anybody. Coaches have their own ways of doing things. This was a negotiating move that the owners get something back.
Yes...likely that the owners can switch to 18-games. I'm pretty confident now that's going to happen soon rather than later. I was unable to dig up the quote, but I remember multiple Redskins players, including London Fletcher, saying last year it took months for their bodies to get back into football shape, specifically the hitting. It's a shock to the body to take on the physicality of regular season games and even with a heavy a training camp, they don't hit their stride until week 2-3. What's it going to be like now? The playoffs? Get the gurneys ready at Fedex Field.
Mike Lombardi made another great point that strength coaches worry about the "fat" guys when they're only gone for four days on a BYE week. It's now been 7 months:
With the heat and humidity running rampant all throughout the country, no team can risk placing a player on the field unless they are confident he can handle the work load...don't be surprised to see as many players working out with the trainer as are working out with the team.
The Redskins had to send a strength and conditioning coach with Ma'ake Kemoeatu to Hawaii last year in their break before training camp last year. I'm not too optimistic on his chances of contributing early. OK, ever. Granted, in this ridiculous 100+ degree Redskins heat, with no indoor facilities, two-a-days would not have been on the table regardless. Plus, Shanahan said he doesn't use them anyway since all that time will be in team meetings. But, I just can't help but think with all the rules and fines now against hitting that we're headed more towards the Lingerie League. Games will still be exciting, but in all facets in life I'm a believer "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
The exact rules of "padded practices" have yet to be defined. Do shells count? We're not far from NFL-mandated "Steve Spurrier" training camps. Former Redskins OLineman, Ross Tucker, explained that scenario along with other Spurrier stories last week:
We go to Dickinson for training camp and his opening meeting was, ‘You know men, I played 12 years in the NFL and went to 12 of these here training camps and I can’t remember one darn good thing I ever got out of it. But you know what, Mr. Snyder wants us to be here, so let’s try to get something done.’ "
I don't ever want to end an article with Steve Spurrier, so, let's at least focus on UDFAs. Shanahan was still drafting quality players late in the 7th round, he surely has some more quality guys on his list.