NFL: Moving forward

Arizona Cardinals NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (right) catches a pass during an informal...

Arizona Cardinals NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (right) catches a pass during an informal workout in Minneapolis. (Reuters)

Mike Ganter, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 AM ET

Unexpectedly, the players did not vote on the proposal that the owners are expected to ratify Thursday in Atlanta. The players met in Washington on Wednesday and left the meeting without voting on the proposal. While that could be a setback, word has since come from those meetings that it was an information session where they were given details of the proposal and that when a vote is required to ratify the agreement, or not, the players can do so via conference call.

Here’s a look at the best guesses for a timetable going forward if indeed his proposal is ratified by both sides, but don’t hold us to it. A lot could change depending on Thursday’s events.

-- THURSDAY: Once the deal is ratified up to four executives from each team will have access to a seminar where the new deal will be broken down in detail.

-- FRIDAY: Players can begin reporting voluntarily and will have access to facilities, doctors, trainers and coaches that were off limits to them throughout the lockout.

-- FRIDAY-SUNDAY: The 30 teams will have three days to digest and familiarize themselves the new deal and the ramifications to their own respective situations.

-- MONDAY: A window opens for teams to sign their own free agents and rookie free agents prior to full-fledged free agency

-- JULY 28: Full-fledged free agency opens.

-- AROUND Aug. 1: Training camps open.

MINI-CAMPS ENOUGH?

We’re going to find out in the next month or so just how pivotal the off-season OTA’s and mini-camps are to the health of a football team.

Limited to player only workouts and their own off-season training, the fear is that players bodies will not be able to handle the strain a normal NFL training camp puts on them.

The alarmists point to the case of New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, whose long holdout last spring was followed by a couple of hamstring injuries that hampered him through much of the early part of last season.

These are not the days of players getting fat and lazy just because the game is shut down temporarily.

There’s too much money at stake for the vast majority of players to ever be able to justify shutting things down and becoming a couch potato.

But the specific and specialized training players would normally get over the course of an off-season was unavailable to them for the bulk of this one. The fear is that even the players that pushed themselves by themselves may have thought they were preparing adequately for training camp only to find that all that treadmill work wasn’t working the muscles they needed to be working.

A rash of hamstring and quad muscle injuries are being predicted once training camps open in the next 9-12 days.

Organizations are going to have to consider being very careful with just how hard they push things in the early going. That or the whole myth of the importance of a regimented off-season training program will be blown wide open.

AN EAGLE WILL FLY

The first trade just about every football fanatic anticipates once free agency opens is one that will find a new home for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Kolb had the starting job in Philadelphia for the first two weeks of the season before he became Michael Vick’s backup in Week 3.

He makes no secret of the fact that he believes it’s time he moved on and reiterated that this week on nationally syndicated radio show.

The expectation is that Kolb will eventually find his way to the dessert to lead the Arizona Cardinals this coming season. The question is the cost.

Undoubtedly, cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie will be heading to Philadelphia if a trade is completed but will it be strictly one-for-one deal.

A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesday suggested the team will be looking for a second or third round pick in addition to the veteran quarterback.

The fit for both teams is near-perfect. Arizona desperately needs a QB and even Kolb’s 3-4 career record as a starter is a step up over what they currently have. The Eagles need a bookend for Asante Samuel on the other side and have just unproven options on their roster.

It will be interesting to see just how much that second or third round pick holds this thing up considering there were more than a couple of rumours flying around that this trade almost happened on draft weekend when the league was temporarily open for business.

FALCONS' HEAD START

It’s impossible to know which team weathered the lockout storm better than another until we see them in action, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation.

And with pre-season games still at least three weeks away, the NFL football-starved fan will gladly take that speculation.

For the moment, we’re going with the Atlanta Falcons as the front-runners in this category for no other reason than their favoured climate and the fact that they won’t be working in a lot of new pieces.

The Falcons, being in the south, have had tremendous attendance at their players-only workouts which began in early May.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has had plenty of time with incoming wideout Julio Jones and which from the outside in was the only real concern about this team missing out on it’s off-season workouts.

It says here the less turnover a team has to deal with from either the playing side or the coaching side, the better off they’ll be.

Under that criteria, the Falcons should be very happy with their current lot in life.

 

 

 

 


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