Due to the lockout, NFL players cannot use their team’s trainers or facilities to work out. This isn’t stopping palyers from getting together and planning their own workouts. Mark Sanchez invited his teammates to Southern California to work out. Michael Vick has summoned the Eagles to Philadelphia for practice. Even the newest NFL players who were just drafted a couple of weeks ago are preparing. The pending rookies do not have contracts and are prohibited from wearing official team gear. Most of them do not have the teams’ playbook. This is not stopping them from selecting trainers and working out. They want to be ready when the 2011 season starts. IF it starts.
It’s great that NFL players are conditioning on their own and planning small practices with other teammates. It is helpful for quarterbacks to connect with their wide receivers and throw the ball. However, it does not replace OTAs (organized team activities) or minicamps. Despite the players’ efforts to prepare, without the direction of a coach, equipment and support from the conditioning staff, teams will be behind the mark when the labor issues are finally settled. As Eagles running back, LeSean McCoy said, "It's tough when you don't have a facility to go to.”
Teams like the San Francisco 49ers who have a new head coach, Jim Harbaugh, are at a strong disadvantage preparing for the season. Teams such as the Carolina Panthers who drafted players with the expectation that they would make an immediate contribution will also have difficulty.
Carolina used the first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft to select Auburn quarterback, Cam Newton. Cam was drafted on the first day of the draft during the four days that the lockout was lifted. He was able to go into the Panthers offices the following day. Players selected after the first round did not have this opportunity. At least Cam got his playbook.
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