NFL teams kissing playbooks goodbye

Ravens QB Joe Flacco likes that his team has started using iPads to store their playbooks. (AFP)

Ravens QB Joe Flacco likes that his team has started using iPads to store their playbooks. (AFP)

Rob Longley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

Even though you will still hear the term “game film,” football has long ago moved into the high-tech world to help break down the X’s and O’s.

The latest innovation, it seems, has seen a number of NFL teams transfer the volumes of information carried in bulky paper playbooks to the sleek iPad tablets.

“There are things it’s good for and things that the paper is better for,” quarterback Joe Flacco told the team’s website. “You can put video on it, which is very convenient. It’s nice to not have to carry around a giant playbook all week.

“In all, it’s been an easy transition.”

Besides convenience, the new technology comes with other advantages. Beyond those X’s and O’s of specific plays, the coaching and technical staff can load video on to the devices to help visualize plays.

With high-tech comes security risks, however. Anyone who has been around a football team knows that hard-copy playbooks were closely guarded and players risked discipline for losing one.

“My biggest worry was someone intercepting (the info) through a download,” said Nick Fusee, the Ravens director of internet technology. “We’re using 256-bit encryption, which is Department of Defense level.”

PATRIOT GAMES

Given the Patriots’ track record for success with its personnel moves, every time one is made, the rest of the league must take notice.

And the AFC powerhouse squad has been busy over the cutdown period his long weekend.

Some were mildly surprised when two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather was released on Saturday, only to be scooped up by the Bears on Sunday. But there was some concern from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that Meriweather was too aggressive and thus too risky for the style of defence he likes to employ.

On Sunday, the Patriots added another body in Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters to shore up concerns on the offensive line. Waters, a rock on the Kansas City Chiefs’ line, will play the right guard position that was long held by Nick Kaczur. The Brantord, Ont. native was released earlier in training camp after struggling to stay healthy over the past year.

FANTUZ WILL WAIT IT OUT

Even though he made his way to Regina this weekend after being released by the Chicago Bears, talk of Andy Fantuz returning to the Saskatchewan Roughriders is premature.

While clearly frustrated with the fact he didn’t get a chance to prove himself with the Bears, the receiver said that he hopes another NFL team will take a shot on him.

“I’m excited to see if any other team would like to take chance and bring me in and see what I’ve got,” Fantuz said in a video posting on his website. “Either way, I’m ready to get rolling.”

With little playing time and reps — both in games and practices — Fantuz had just two catches in four Bears pre-season games. It certainly wasn’t what he was hoping for

“I can’t say it was a huge surprise,” said Fantuz, the Chatham, Ont., native who led the CFL with 1,380 receiving yards in 2010.

“It was a frustrating pre-season not getting many reps and much playing time. It seems like they were committed to the guys they had and that didn’t include me.

“Whether it was bad timing or a bad situation, it’s nothing I can control.”


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