The 3 rules for rightly dividing fall camp news

Steve Deace

1) "No news is Gary Gnus."

Apologies for the clunky Great Space Coaster reference, but when you just turned 46 and realize your best years are now behind you, nostalgia is addicting. Still, there's a reason why not getting a lot of news this time of year should always be considered a good thing (unless you know your team sucks going in, which in that case just means nobody cares). Because most of the hard news we'd be getting this month involves around drama and injuries, or injuries and drama. Neither is good, by the way. So the only news you want to see are practice leaks from connected websites. Or the kind of stuff that doesn't make it onto the lower third of any national sports channel.

2) Everybody reportedly doing well on your team means someone on your team is not, since they're only playing each other right now. 

All positives are a zero-sum game this time of year, because you're only playing each other. So if the offensive line is dominating camp, you should be at least slightly worried about your defensive front -- and vice versa for that matter. Likewise, if your receivers are making big plays each practice that's not a good sign for your secondary. Remember, everyone knows what's coming. Surprise is out the window when you're all using the same playbook and processes. Therefore, the ideal situation -- if your team is any good -- is for the units and sides of the line of scrimmage to go back and forth throughout camp. That shows depth and competition.

3) Consider that coach's pedigree when determining how much stock to put into the sunshine this time of year. 

When I was a kid I loved Sparky Anderson, the legendary Detroit Tigers manager. One of my prized possessions was a personally autographed photo he sent me, after I mailed him an invitation to a presentation I was giving in the sixth grade. However, as great as he was as a manager, Sparky was just as good of a promoter -- especially when it came to young players. Kirk Gibson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. He was very good, but he wasn't a generational talent like that. Torey Luvollo, Barbaro Garbey, and Darnell Coles were all going to be foundational players for the Tigers. Newsflash: they weren't. I say all that to say this -- you're going to get a lot of sunshine mainlined your way this time of year about unproven talent. Consider that coach's track record in being successful with such players in the past, and/or their tendency to blow things out of proportion, in determining how much to believe it.