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Will it be missed

May 25, 2011 - Mike McLain
It appears that there will be no offseason practices in the NFL this year because of the lockout, which might be a good or bad thing.

I've always felt that offseason practice sessions are excessive. It's more about coaches trying to keep up with each other than getting players ready for next season.

There's no doubt that the players need weight training to keep their muscles well toned. Slacking off in that area during the offseason could result in problems during the season.

But the OTAs (offseason practice sessions) and minicamps are a bit too much. You can't tell me that close to six weeks of training camp and four preseason games aren't enough preparation to prepare players for the demands of a 16-game schedule.

A player told me many years ago that "they don't have to pay me to play, but they have to pay me to practice."

That was true then, and it's true today. Players hate practicing, with the possible exception of quarterbacks. At some point the law of diminishing returns sets in. If you work players too much, they'll eventually lose interest and see a drop off in production on game days.

Some coaches work players hard throughout the season and some don't. The great Bill Walsh was known for conducting light practices, making sure to save the players for when it counts. If memory serves me correct, Walsh was a decent football coach.

Much will be made about the lack of practice time when the lockout ends. In reality, it might be a good thing. The players will be well rested, and well-rested players make for better games on Sunday afternoons.


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