Perhaps the only thing worse than training camp for NFL players, at least mentally, is the week before camp. It's like a dark cloud hanging over their heads while the rest of the world seems to be enjoying the summer sun. The physical pain and mental fatigue of camp is unforgettable. That's why instead of enjoying the last bit of free time they have before the marathon of an NFL season starts, most players liken this period to the dread of knowing root canal surgery is scheduled the next day.
"I have just kind of been on edge mentally," said Giants center
Players dread the brutality of multiple padded practices, the monotony of the daily meetings, and the grind of working from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. for six straight weeks. Compounding the physical agony of camp is the psychological discomfort of leaving their home and their loved ones, sometimes for a single bed in a college dorm room. Late night phone calls are really the only semblance of family time for a solid month.
Not so for the Washington Redskins, who have taken the unusual, but not unprecedented, step of letting veterans with four years of service or more sleep at their own residence during camp. The Skins are among a growing number of teams that hold training camp at their own year-round facility. As a result, they have the luxury of allowing players to sleep where they please.
This decision, as you might imagine, is very popular with the players. "I really think it is awesome because it allows you to mentally regroup every day," said
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the move, from a team standpoint, is that it ingratiates
The only real downside that I can see is that some players might get even less rest if they are constantly driving home at the end of the night, which in some cases could be up to 45 minutes away from where the nightly meetings are held. But sleeping at home is an option, not a mandate, so veterans can still stay in the camp facility if they choose. And even if they do tack on some time to the end of their day, knowing they are heading home will likely make it well worth it.
I think the biggest difference between what Ricky Williams did and the abrupt retirement of Derrick Mason is the circumstances surrounding those decisions. Williams pretty much decided he didn't feel like playing football anymore, and he was the Dolphins' best offensive player at the time, by far. I think people are more sensitive to Mason's situation, and rightfully so, because of the tragic murder of his close friend
The contract was smart from a financial standpoint if Cassel becomes the franchise quarterback the Chiefs obviously think he can be. But I had more of a problem with the Chiefs basically naming Cassel their starter for the foreseeable future without seeing what he can do with a new team and in a new system. For an organization that wants to promote competition at every position, giving Cassel that contract effectively eliminates any chance that he could be pushed for the position by
There is a huge variance depending on the facility. The only especially putrid visiting locker room that stands out to me right now is the one in Oakland. There is some sort of sludge that drips from the ceiling into the locker room, and a football team couldn't possibly be more crammed. I think, however, that is just how the Raiders want it, so no visiting team should anticipate an upgrade, ever.
Coaches' tape and game film are the exact same thing, and there is a huge difference between that footage and what the casual fan sees on TV. No football player or coach would ever really try to scout out their opponent from a television copy. The Coaches' tape has camera angles like the end zone cut, which is key for evaluating offensive and defensive line play as well as the respective gap responsibilities of blitzers. The other typical viewpoint on the Coaches' tape is the "All-22" look, which takes a much broader pan of the action so you can better diagnose both defensive coverages and offensive route combinations.
When you put it like that, it seems pretty incongruent, I must admit. But Stallworth made a mistake and immediately accepted responsibility for his actions. Vick was basically living a criminal lifestyle and proceeded to lie about it when questioned. Ultimately, Stallworth made one poor decision whereas Vick funded an illegal operation for years.