To get the new labor deal done five years ago, owners who wanted certain financial terms gladly yielded on various non-financial terms like dramatically reduced practice time in the offseason and training camp. From time to time, poor offensive line play early in the regular season has been blamed on those limited reps.
A current NFL offensive lineman agrees with that, and said so while subbing for Peter King in the Monday Morning Quarterback column.
“If you want to find a factor that changed the game the most, look at two-a-day practices going away,” writes Lions guard Geoff Schwartz. “Two-a-days is a phrase that makes all footballers cringe. The current CBA, under the premise of player safety, did away with two practices a day. But that decision dramatically changed the game. Blocking and tackling will never be the same without two-a-days. Those are skills that need constant repetitions. I used to blame collegiate spread offenses for the general decline of o-line play but the loss of reps is mostly at fault.”
Could two-a-days return in the next CBA? Probably not, but that would be one way for NFL players to grow their piece of the pie. Assuming the owners would even be willing to trade anything financial for increased padded practice time.
Regardless, the issue of less practice time affects all teams equally, requiring every coach and player adjust to it and to find a way to compete with the other franchises who are all in the same no-two-a-day boat.