I'm just full of opinions lately, aren't I? You know what they say...
Anyway, I caught this article two days ago and got to thinking. I know there are many of you out there who despise Mike Florio but if you really pay attention, he's pretty good at covering the legal scenarios and explaining their possible consequences. Using a conversation with Charley Casserly as the springboard for this article, Florio throws out some post-lockout conjectures regarding how teams will communicate during that period.
After March 4th players will not be allowed to have any contact with coaches and there will be no official OTA's or minicamps. We can assume that coaches will have detailed off-season workout plans and some parting words for their players before the deadline but it's out of their hands once the clock strikes midnight. It will be up to the players themselves to organize their own practices, keep motivated, stay physically fit and continue honing their football smarts. Florio thinks that in today's high-tech world this will inevitably lead to cheating coaches finding illegal ways to maintain contact with their players but either way, those teams that successfully execute their own off-season training should be in significantly better shape to compete when football actually resumes.
One of the key components will be the presence of a strong, trusting relationship between the coach and the starting quarterback, who undoubtedly will be relied upon to organize the unorganized practices, and to discreetly report back to the coaching staff regarding progress. In other cities, coaches will have to identify other team leaders who can be trusted to organize the practices, to preside over them, and to communicate with the coaching staff on a double-secret basis.
Which should be good news for Saints fans because, let's face it, we've got a damn good starting quarterback in Drew Brees and he's equally good at being a leader of men. In fact, he's so damn good he's already got plans in place...
Drew Brees plans on working with his teammates throughout the offseason: "Because there's a chance where there's no offseason in July and then August, ‘Hey, here we go. We've got a deal done. We're going to training camp and season starts in a month.' "
Damn, he's good! Teams like the Saints, Colts and Patriots - all who have very motivated quarterbacks with incredible leadership capabilities - should have a leg up on other teams when the lockout gets resolved. The Vikings and Redskins, on the other hand, may have some trouble.
And it doesn't just stop at the quarterback. Loomis, Payton et al. have made it their mission to field a team made up only of high character players. Wanna whip out your Archie Manthing in front of a woman in the parking lot of your apartment complex? Empty out your locker, that crap doesn't fly here. I'm not saying they're all angels but from a relative standpoint, our boys are Grade A.
I'll say one last thing with regard to Sean Payton and this is purely my personal opinion: I certainly wouldn't put it past Payton to bend or even break the rules of communication during a lockout. He's probably tinkering on something in his basement as we speak. And that's why we love him!
So if the NFL should come crashing to a halt in a little over a month, I think Saints fans can at least take solace in the fact that their team appears to have a good foundation in place to survive a work stoppage and be well-prepared to hit the ground running when football resumes.