Monday, July 25, 2011

NFL Lockout Finally Ending

We saw signs over the last few weeks that the NFL lockout was on the verge of ending, and it appears July 25 is the day.

Overnight, NFL Network/Fox Sports ace Jay Glazer reported that NFL owners and players had reached agreement on a ten-year deal, pending a player vote that Glazer labeled a "formality."

As noted by ESPN ...

Just as the NFL would not have called a vote Thursday in Atlanta without knowing it would pass in the way it did -- 31-0 with one abstention -- the NFLPA would also not be going forward without that assurance.

It makes sense. No one wants that kind of egg on their face, unless it's fried and tastes really good.

The league and its players have embarrassed themselves, and potentially stained the 2011 season, by grandstanding when they should have been talking, and not working nearly hard enough to reach an agreement before the pressure started to percolate.

Now, we're sitting in front of a situation full of uncertainty. If free agency won't begin until Friday, as reported by many, players will be signing contracts left and right while teams are going through the first practices of training camp. Rookies are immeasurably behind, as there have been no minicamps or team-organized workouts. Will even the first-round picks be able to pick up schemes and terminology fast enough to make an impact this season?

It seems that teams like Carolina and Buffalo and Denver -- who were really bad last season -- might be at a disadvantage compared to other seasons. The NFL prides itself on its parity, but a big part of that has been the way free agency and all the offseason workout time allows lesser teams to catch up quickly. Assimilate the rookies, get them used to your way of doing things, bring in some quality free agents who want to lead and show the kids how to win, and you have a dangerous situation.

Now, you don't get the time to bring a large-turnover team together during the long offseason. Teams will be putting themselves together as they go through the preseason. It's not ideal for anyone, unless you're a veteran team like Pittsburgh or Green Bay that -- generally speaking -- won't be expecting much out of the rookies and won't need to overhaul schemes on either side of the ball because of the success you've experienced in the past.

I mentioned this on KQ Monday morning, but I think you'll see 2010's bad teams leaning more and more on their coaches this year. Take Minnesota for example. There is apparently a new rule in this new CBA that expands game day rosters from 45 to 46 players, with the third quarterback on each team no longer listed as inactive.

If Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave play their cards right, this could be a tremendous edge for the Vikings. Assuming they sign a veteran quarterback to mentor/back up/hold down rookie Christian Ponder, Joe Webb will likely be the team's No. 3. In past years, Webb couldn't come into the game unless Ponder and the new guy were both hurt. Now, Webb can come and go as he pleases. That means the Vikings would be smart to concoct an offensive package of plays (Wild Norseman?) for Webb to engineer. Get him on the field and take advantage of his athleticism, instead of letting it all go to waste on the sideline.

1 comment:

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