PDA

View Full Version : School's Out For Summer (by Chidi29) - June 13, 2011



HometownGal
06-13-2011, 06:35 AM
By the time you read this, the NFL lockout could be nearing its end as talks between the league and union pick up. Of course, it seems perfectly possible that there will have been a WWE style cage match between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith instead.

Even if the lockout ends before training camp begins, the damage its left behind is severe.

Organized Team Activities, otherwise known as OTAs, have been lost. It may not seem like much since contact isn't allowed and no veteran will complain about missing it, but the rookies have suffered a big setback.

This was a time for rookies to get a foundation under their belts of the way the league works. Learn the playbook, day-to-day procedures, coaches expectations and styles, the list goes on and on. As Mike Tomlin said last year, "The purpose of the offseason is to instruct. Organized team activity days are just that. They're for teaching."

This lack of teaching will prove costly in the later round picks' quest to make the team.

Want proof? Look no further than last year's fourth round pick Thaddeus Gibson. Now with San Francisco, he got the axe to keep Aaron Smith's roster spot because he didn't have a chance to participate in OTAs. Rules stated that he couldn't show up until he graduated. Linebackers coach Keith Butler referenced the situation after drafting Chris Carter this April. He said that the team got "very little" time with Gibson early on and by the time training camp rolled around, he was far behind.

Sure, all rookies on the team will be at the same disadvantage but when compared to the veterans on the team, they're well behind. At least the veterans know the process from previous seasons and there aren't any coaching changes for them to adjust to.

Fans want Curtis Brown to be a starter this year, or at least make a significant contribution on defense, but that'll be next to impossible if he doesn't get his feet wet until August. Anthony Madison isn't remotely close to being as talented but the sheer fact he has more knowledge of Dick LeBeau's playbook gives him the upper hand.

Will Chris Carter suffer the same fate as Gibson? Will Baron Batch be able to make a team that is likely to only carry three running backs? How long will it take Cameron Heyward to get a contract agreed upon? He could lose even more time than the other drafted rookies. And don't even get me started on the undrafted players. Their already slim chances are dwindling away with each passing day.

The offseason is supposed to be about teaching. Instead, it's been nothing but empty classrooms.



2011 Steelers Universe

The Duke
06-13-2011, 01:05 PM
Excellent, and quite grim, view of the situation Chidi

This is a team that could easily fill up without having any of their draft picks past the 3rd round on the roster, so hopefully it does not get worse than it is already. Batch is one who could help us this year, but the rest are truly just picks for the future

The talent pool of the undrafted free agents is still pretty impressive imo, but seems very unlikely that any will be able to display much

Chidi29
06-13-2011, 01:42 PM
While I'm excited to hear that there's been progress made in the labor talks, we can't forget what we've lost so far. The season doesn't start with training camp; it starts in May with events like OTAs.

Even later round picks who could help us this year will be handcuffed by missing the teaching opportunities. Batch doesn't do much good if he can't pick up the playbook or learn how to play on return/coverage units.

And it's especially harmful for the conversion players or players like Keith Williams who will be taught a new position to give them versatility. Butler said it takes a couple years to transition from DE to OLB and the biggest change is with positioning yourself based on the formation you're facing. All of that is teaching and couldn't be done in OTAs and minicamps because of the lockout.

The Duke
06-13-2011, 02:36 PM
While I'm excited to hear that there's been progress made in the labor talks, we can't forget what we've lost so far. The season doesn't start with training camp; it starts in May with events like OTAs.

Even later round picks who could help us this year will be handcuffed by missing the teaching opportunities. Batch doesn't do much good if he can't pick up the playbook or learn how to play on return/coverage units.

And it's especially harmful for the conversion players or players like Keith Williams who will be taught a new position to give them versatility. Butler said it takes a couple years to transition from DE to OLB and the biggest change is with positioning yourself based on the formation you're facing. All of that is teaching and couldn't be done in OTAs and minicamps because of the lockout.

yeah, can't imagine them leaving an inexperienced Batch protecting ben on 3rd down

it truly sucks for the teams, but also the players themselves

LLT
06-20-2011, 11:59 AM
The situation may not be as bleak as it seems on the surface. I have now doubt that the rookies, who cant recieve their own playbook, can get their hands on a playbook issued to the Vets.

That fact, and taking into considertin that we RARELY play rookies very much, might actually give us a step up on those teams that are looking to bank this season on the shoulders of rookie play.

If teams are forced into playing only their Vets this next year....it can only work to our advantage.

Chidi29
06-20-2011, 01:53 PM
The situation may not be as bleak as it seems on the surface. I have now doubt that the rookies, who cant recieve their own playbook, can get their hands on a playbook issued to the Vets.

That fact, and taking into considertin that we RARELY play rookies very much, might actually give us a step up on those teams that are looking to bank this season on the shoulders of rookie play.

If teams are forced into playing only their Vets this next year....it can only work to our advantage.

I'm sure they've gotten looks at playbooks and the vets have been helping out as much as they can but nothing beats having a coach talk and teach so you know you're getting completely accurate information. Especially with the changes the coaches have made and will make throughout the offseason. Especially with the addition of Carnell Lake. Granted, the playbook won't be changed but I'm sure there are procedures and expectations that are different than Horton's that the vets don't know and can't pass on to the rookies.

If last year were any indication, our rookies will be more involved once they're ready. And not only does it hurt these players this year, it hurts them for years after. Butler said the transition from DE to OLB takes a few years. These rookies' growth have been stunted.

LLT
06-20-2011, 01:59 PM
I'm sure they've gotten looks at playbooks and the vets have been helping out as much as they can but nothing beats having a coach talk and teach so you know you're getting completely accurate information. Especially with the changes the coaches have made and will make throughout the offseason. Especially with the addition of Carnell Lake. Granted, the playbook won't be changed but I'm sure there are procedures and expectations that are different than Horton's that the vets don't know and can't pass on to the rookies.

If last year were any indication, our rookies will be more involved once they're ready. And not only does it hurt these players this year, it hurts them for years after. Butler said the transition from DE to OLB takes a few years. These rookies' growth have been stunted.

Oh..I agree that it will affect them. But those teams that are not rebuilding or relying on rookies this year still have a distinct advantage.