If I asked you to draw me a picture, what would you require? Pens and paper are a given. Maybe an idea to help make your decision easier as to what to draw. Now let’s say I would like to hire you to draw all my pictures for my up and coming advertisement agency. I’ve seen your portfolio and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen, but I need you to step up in to the big leagues and help get this starter business to be the next best advertisement agency in the world. Now what if I hired four more people to compete with your job and I tell all of you that you can not draw with the lights on. Pretty tough right? I can see a lot of people working their hands to the bone and still not being as great as they could be if they had a simple light source to work with.
This is what I believe the NFLPA is doing to the OTA’s during this off-season.
Coming right off the heels of Pete Carroll and his Seahawks getting suspended for three days for having “live” tackling during their workouts, which is strictly prohibited thanks to the collective bargaining agreement, I sat and thought of what it must be like to have all this talent, much of it being physical prowess, and not be allowed to truly shine for a career that you have worked so hard for. Many of the players have worked their entire lives to get to this position in football and not having the opportunity to really show your strength early in the practice season has got to be frustrating.
I know that contracts have been signed and players have come to agreements, but that doesn’t always unsure that you will make it to the final roster. Preseason games are strictly to see what your players strengths are. If you are not pleased with your rookies performance or even your long time veterans, you have the ability to let them go. Why wouldn’t you give it your all in the OTA’s to show how you can be utilized on the field of play?
“We are as competitive as can be, we have a very young football team,” Carroll said during his press conference after being handed down the notice of violation. “Most of these guys have never been in an OTA practice, so this is their first time to get a smell of it.”
Coach Carroll’s ”always compete” mantra is drilled into his players heads. These guys are asked to push themselves as hard as they can, but without actually pushing back. Is it the team’s fault that running drills over and over again can make things a little heated. During an OTA session, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and cornerback Jeremy Lane got into a misunderstanding after the whistle blew. This escalated when safety Earl Thomas had jumped in to help. Several other players joined in the fray and the two had to be pulled off one another. Carroll had used this fight to talk with his players about competing hard, but staying with in reason.
“We’re asking these guys to work really hard and it really matters to them,” Carroll stated, “They want to make their plays and their statements, and I don’t blame them one bit. But there is a line that you can cross, and that’s what we talked about afterwards.”
So how can you be seen without being seen? I realize that this is the first true off-season since the lock out last summer and that things may get adjusted as time goes on. However making a team give up their workout time because they work out to hard doesn’t sit right with this writer.
The bugs and kinks will find a way to work out of the system eventually. For now however, we will all just have to deal with its growing pains. Let’s get this agreement some potassium so that it is easier to handle.