This offseason, every quarterback in the NFL has essentially been handed a mirror, with the results reflecting back who they are as professionals. Do you view this as time off? Or a shot to get ahead of everyone else? Do you have enough pull in the locker room to gather guys from all over the country to meet you on their own? Or do you not? Will you be ready to hit the ground running at the end of July? Or will you be chasing the effects of a lost spring and more restrictive summer practice rules for the rest of the year?
We’ve been here before, in certain ways, and some of the league’s current starters were around for that, too. Nine years ago, the lockout created a spot like this one for the league’s quarterbacks, then tasked with becoming quasi-coaches—and among the 32 starters from that season, eight remain starters now, with each carrying a lesson or two he took from the experience.
“There are a lot of similarities,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said late Tuesday afternoon. “I think the No. 1 thing, it’s on the players. And it’s on me to make sure I’m creating access for the guys to get the work done that they needed to get done. And that was the same in the lockout. We had groups of guys that got together in that lockout year. We were able to put on player-led practices.