With the lockout seemingly in its last hours, a few observations:
» Great day. The game is back. But it’s a little unsettling. What does it say about a society where a sports league gets a CBA before the government gets an agreement on the debt crisis? The answer will be in your next quarter’s 401k.
» Amazing how the media could report on the negotiations while at the same time patting themselves on the back. NFL Network and ESPN did a hell of a job, but they didn’t have to keep telling us they did.
» Is there any doubt now that the NFL is truly a deadline league? The true drop-dead date had to be Monday or Tuesday all along if the idea from the get-go was to keep the preseason schedule intact. Quite ironic since everyone seems to agree the preseason works for no one and that this one is going to be one of the first casualties of the new CBA. But who can be surprised? The only time anything seems to get done in free agency, signing rookies, coaching searches, anything, it always goes down to the last minute.
» One nice thing about the fast-forwarded timeline is that there isn’t going to be time for those numbing free-agent tours. It melts down to the two things that only matter in free agency: Money and playing time. The Bengals should do OK in the hunt for a running back even if they sign Cedric Benson. An appetizer at the Georgetown Applebee’s and a glance at offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s playbook designed to protect a rookie quarterback should guarantee plenty of work. Plus, Gruden loves to throw to his backs.
» The powers-that-be have changed the game dramatically with the new practice rules and reduced offseason. By the time this CBA expires a decade from now, we could be watching a game that more resembles flag football than what Paul Brown brought from the AAFC to the NFL in 1950. And that is the best thing for the health of players, which is what has to be the No. 1 priority of everyone in the league. The league and players should be applauded for it. But it is also going to make for a different game and it’s going to be riveting to see how the game evolves over this CBA.
» We’ll know when the new league starts. Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. It’s the day the Bengals officially tell teams they’re not trading Palmer.
» How many players do you take to camp? Do you take the maximum 90 for fear of injury? Or do you take fewer than 80 because you have to give the Opening Day players most of the reps because they have had none since January? Throw in a new offense and just how many players do you take?
» The new rookie pool is an intriguing item. The reports keep saying there is anti-holdout language, but that there is plenty of room to negotiate a deal. Those two don’t seem to follow.
Posted in Hobson's Choice | 33 Comments »