Posted by Will Brinson
It's commonly believed that the lockout -- now more than 100 days old! -- will result in some pretty shoddy football whenever the 2011 season begins. In fact, our own Mike Freeman inked a column about this, pointing out that reduced playbooks and less conditioning will
But the opinion that the quality of football will suffer isn't universal; in fact, Freeman cited Falcons' coach Mike Smith as saying nothing much would change in that very piece. But Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers -- iyes, the same guy who's 'going stir crazy' amid the lockout -- has an entirely different, and somewhat surprising stance: he thinks the quality of the NFL's product will be "the best it's ever been."
"The level of play is going to be the best it’s ever been,” Rivers said, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Guys are going to be fresh -- mentally fresh, which is maybe more important than being physically fresh. For some guys it all runs together.
"Now, with it being how it's been, guys doing their different things, if it gets done like we hope, it’s going to be kind of like that lost toy you found."
I'd probably disagree with Rivers on his stance, but there's definitely something to his theory.
Football is about practice and repetition and whatnot, but it's also a job, and anyone who's ever held a job knows that never getting a break from work can cause mental stress and burn out even the most mentally tough of workers.
Of course, Rivers' theory is also contingent on the fact that NFL teams will get some training camp to prep for the season.
"Where the level of play could be hindered is if we don’t have a regular training camp," Rivers said. "If we get the regular four to six weeks, I think it's going to be as good as it's ever been."
If, as many people -- myself included -- believe, the lockout ends by the middle of July, it's entirely likely that we'll see teams get just enough practice time to test Rivers' notion.
And if he's correct, it's going to be pretty easy to forget this whole summer of discontent that's haunted the NFL.
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