Posted by Ryan Wilson
Opinions vary on the long-term importance of player-organized workouts. The lockout prohibits coaches and players from communicating, so until there's a new CBA, these informal training sessions are all we have. Or, if you're the defending champion Green Bay Packers, you forgo the workouts altogether and wait for the season to officially begin.
It's one thing for the Carolina Panthers to take this approach; they would immediately be ridiculed for not wanting to improve on last year's 2-14 season. It's something else entirely when the Super Bowl champs do it. It's akin to fans and media mocking the Raiders for taking on Randy Moss' baggage but praising the Patriots for doing the same thing a few years later. The difference: Bill Belichick has earned the benefit of the doubt.
Same deal with the Packers. And perhaps it's why we haven't heard much consternation about the fact that they haven't held informal get-togethers during the lockout. Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy, appearing on ESPN Milwaukee with Jason Wilde, addressed the issue Monday.
“I’m more interested in them being together as a group for Greg Jennings’ event or Donald Driver’s event," McCarthy said. "I think that’s as important as them going onto the field and trying to manufacture a practice. I think anytime you have a group of people, especially professionals, there’s other factors involved that obviously have to deal with risk. Part of our business in the training environment is risk assessment.
"It’s important for these players when they do come together for the first time that there’s a progression you go through as you get ready as a group. I know in my heart that every one of them has been taking care of business on an individual basis, and I know some of them have gotten together in small groups. They’ll be ready.”
Seems perfectly reasonable to us.
It also parallels the observations Browns tackle Joe Thomas made this week when he said that fewer OTA and minicamp sessions during the offseason might be better for the players in the long run.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning called the workouts "better than nothing," which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for their effectiveness.
"It's kind of the best we can do under the circumstances," Manning said Monday, according to the New York Daily News. … "[The sessions were] really to just kind of get some of the young guys out there, to get Jerrel (Jernigan, the Giants' third-round pick) and some of the draft picks, to get them to meet some of the guys, learn a little bit of the terminology," Manning said. "You get worried. You don't know how long this lockout is going to be, where if it goes too long they'll never be able to catch up and it'll be a wash of a year for them. You're trying to prevent that."
Manning's less concerned with the veterans. "You can get your timing in training camp," Manning said. "We've got guys that have been there before."
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