Rather that write a lengthy preview that would echo the thoughts of others, I’m going to keep this simple.
For PE.com I wrote about the things I’ll be focusing on. One thing I didn’t mention was the OLB play. I’m not sure how much of that we’ll be able to truly evaluate in Training Camp. I think preseason games will be far more important for the OLBs. That’s when they can actually hit and tackle QBs. That isn’t to say I won’t watch the OLBs in camp. We certainly need to see how they play the run and how they look when they do drop back in coverage. Good OLB play is crucial in the 3-4.
Tim McManus put together a lengthy Training Camp primer that has links to all of Birds 24/7′s coverage. Tim has the practice schedule in there so that will be important for some to check out.
Phil Sheridan covers the angle that TC is much less brutal these days. Don’t misunderstand this. Many teams around the league have eased up on camp in the last decade. As Phil mentions, Korey Stringer’s death got everyone’s attention. Some coaches eased up on contact because they simply didn’t want to risk injuries. As for the conditioning side of things, players are now in the best shape they’ve ever been in the history of the game. Players train 24/7/365. Coaches don’t need to run them into shape.
We made the assumption that since Andy Reid ran tough camps and he was a winning coach that there was a direct connection. That’s not necessarily true. I don’t know that we can really know if the tough camps were good or not. We have some anecdotal evidence, but that is open to many different interpretations.
Jeff McLane shared his thoughts on some roster battles. For some odd reason, he didn’t address QB. When is one of the beat writers going to cover the QB competition? We have yet to hear much about that this spring/summer. Typical media. Ignoring the QBs so they can focus on other positions, like RT and Safety.
Ruben Frank talked to a couple of rookies about TC. It is funny to see Bennie Logan refer to Cedric Thornton as a veteran. All about perspective.
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Players are reporting today. Practice will start tomorrow.
There are going to be 30 guys in camp. This is a chance for the young guys to get their feet wet and get back into the groove of practicing. I’m sure Jordan Poyer and Zach Ertz are more fired up than anybody. They haven’t practiced since the rookie camp right after the draft.
The next few days aren’t crucial, but they do allow the coaches to work closely with the young players. Back in 2006 rookie LB Omar Gaither grabbed the attention of Jim J0hnson. Gaither knew the playbook really well and was a vocal leader during the opening days of camp. Later on that season Gaither became the starting WLB. Without the opening days of camp, that might not have happened.
I also wonder if the coaches like the fact they can shake off some of their own rust and get ready for the real deal.
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One of the French readers asked me to explain the difference in speed and quickness. The language barrier can leave some things a bit confusing.
Think of speed as how fast a player is when running 20, 30 or 40 yards. Think of quickness as how fast a person is for 2, 3 or 4 steps.
In football, speed is how fast you run. Quickness is more about initial movement. I hope that clears things up a bit.
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A note about the podcasts. Jimmy and I decided to not renew the site for the Helmet2Helmet Show. We can host the show here or at Bleeding Green Nation. There was simply no need to pay for an extra site. We have considered changing the name of the show. Originally we intended to cover all 32 teams and talk about college football some. The Eagles had such a tumultuous season that we never strayed from them. They were awful, but not boring.
Should we now give in and add the word Eagles or Birds or Green to the title? Should we just leave well enough alone and stick with the H2H Show?
We’re open to your thoughts and suggestions.
We also recorded one about the QBs and TC. Wait til you hear why Mike Vick shouldn’t trust Dennis Dixon. Really funny stuff.