I read Killers article this morning on MLive.com. Killer believes that the players should be resting now and not engaging in any football activity. Enjoy the fact that their are no "pointless OTA's" to show up to months before football begins. He took criticism from some fans on his opinions on what the players should do. I would have written something too but Tom has always been allergic to responding to my emails so I didn't think there was a point... but I can do this on POD.
I personally don't think that any of the OTA's are pointless. I will even go as far as to say that I like the format of 4 pre season games.
The NFL gets more and more competitive every year. More and more players are coming out of college and try to make it in the big time. That’s why now a days you see fairly decent players being traded for later round draft picks... more and more "Gems" are showing up in the later rounds and the value of those picks is growing every year. Until anything changes, you are still only allowed a 53 man roaster. The way that teams are set up these days it makes that a very hard number to obey. Those 4 pre season games gives those other players who have something to bring to the table a stage to prove themselves and gives them time to show their consistency too. The OTA's are not pointless... the point of them is for the players to soak up as much information as possible while reestablishing team comradery and getting into sync. How much "wear and tear" and can you possible rack up from OTA's? Seriously how much? Let me educate Mr. Kowalski...
Football players statistically have a very short career and unfortunately... a shorter life span then the average citizen. One day you are a starting QB in the NFL and then you get injured... and then another Tom Brady comes along. Coaches don't "hold" your spot out of loyalty. "Out of sight, out of mind" they call it.
If I was an NFL football player on this day, I would be telling myself that I need to be staying in shape because if showed up to camp or get injured in a game because I didn't do a good enough job keeping myself in shape in the off season when I had the opportunity, somebody is going to come in I can guarantee you they worked harder than I did in the offseason and they are here to not only to take my spot... but to keep it.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s talk about the fact that there have been significant injuries over the years in the pre season. Michael Vick broke his leg in a pre season game. James Stewart was injured a few times in the pre season. Ki-Jana Carter injured his leg on the 3rd carry of his first pre season game and never fully recovered. These are all concerns! Bryant Johnson was injured in the pre season once too... though he wasn't playing football. It was a "golf cart" accident. Don't even get me started.
Injuries happen. You can't predict them and even when you do everything in your power to prepare yourself and to protect yourself they just happen. People sprain their ankles when they are playing basketball and accidentally step on someone’s foot; bigger guys like O and D linemen pull their hamstrings all the time. What can you do?
With all due respect to Mr. Kowalski, if I was an NFL player, I wouldn't be spending my days by golfing and BBQ ing it up... I would have plenty of time for that after I retire. Even though injuries can happen, they are less likely to happen when you are taking care of your body and committed to being a football player regardless if they are locked out or not. They players are only worth what they can do on the field and every day you take away from not committing yourself to being in football shape you are decreasing your own value.
Last year Sammie Hill was moved down in the starting rotation because the Lions brought in Corey Williams in a trade. Then when camp started, Sammie gave the coaching staff a reason to rethink their depth chart. He showed up in shape and you can tell that he committed himself to making himself a better football player. Now Corey is in Sammie's boat. We took Nick Fairly in the first round... one draft pick changed the course of Corey William’s career in Detroit. Do you think Corey is playing golf this morning? I would think that he is in the weight room right now and committed to being ready to give Nick Fairly a run for his money.
To conclude this I will say that the players are free to do whatever they want right now. If they want to play golf, go play golf. If they want to eat some BBQ, then they should go down to Famous Dave's and enjoy themselves. But if there was ever a time to gain an advantage... not only as a player but as a team, I would be taking this time to get to know my teammates all over again; getting into the weight room with a teammate and preparing for a big season. To relieve the high school days of showing up on the first week of August for conditioning and showing your coaches in how good of shape you’re in and how much work you have put in. Every single day that goes on that there is no football, it's taking away one more day of their career. The high life might be enjoyable now but I can promise you that a lot of things in life, especially things you love can end at the drop of a dime.
I agree with Killer that the players should be using this opportunity and to relish... I just think that the opportunity is to make yourself a better football player.