Coaches want to talk about future changes to offseason program

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Ever since the last collective bargaining agreement cut deeply into the amount of time coaches have with players in the offseason, coaches have been grumbling.

But now, a few of them are doing something they hope will be more productive that just yelling about kids these days and how it used to be better back in their day.

According to Albert Breer of, a group of four coaches (Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Saints coach Sean Payton and Panthers coach Ron Rivera) met with a group of league officials to discuss possible future adjustment to the work rules.

In the last CBA, offseason programs went from 14 weeks to nine, and only five of those weeks can include on-field work. Two-a-days during training camp went away, and contact during OTAs was limited. Coaches see a direct correlation to the lack of chances to develop players and declining play (while the league keeps telling us games have never been closer or better). And players are now forced to hire outside trainers to get themselves ready for seasons.

“We’ve had guys ask, How come we can’t work out with you guys?” Rivera said. “Those are the rules. We have guys that have to hire people to work them out. We can’t. So they’re spending their money on people working with them, as opposed to working with us. That’s just the way it is.”

Of course, it’s one thing for coaches and the league to talk about ways to add back to offseason programs. Getting players to go along with it will have to be collectively bargained in 2020, and that’s going to require more than just them thinking it’s a good idea.

It’s going to take trust, and after the last round of negotiations between the league and the NFLPA, that’s hardly a given.

“I understand all the politics behind it. There’s more than meets the eye, but it’s not American, it’s not common sense, it’s not right,” Harbaugh said. “The league has been great so far, the PA has been great, and I think in the next CBA it’ll get adjusted, I hope in a good way. If we can get past the bickering and the taking of sides—it’s not a poker game here, we’re not hoarding chips.

“Why don’t we just sit down and say, what’s good for everyone involved here? It’d probably take about an hour to figure the whole thing out, if everybody put agendas aside.”

It sounds so simple when he says it like that. But it’s rarely that simple, and that’s why they’re starting years in advance.

11 responses to “Coaches want to talk about future changes to offseason program

  1. I’m not sure exactly how the cba works, but would it possible for the players to agree to return to 14 weeks of otas, 2 a days during training camp, etc. in exchange for having reduced or no marijuana testing?
    As a side note, I find it ironic that the players request and expect more money but at the same time they ask to work less.

  2. Let’s be honest. It’s more than politics, it’s business. The owners locked the players out because they wanted to increase their own share of the revenue and reduce the players’ share. The main compromise to reducing salary was less time requirements in the offseason, when players mostly weren’t being paid for anyway except for limited workout bonuses.

    One can argue that the players get paid enough to work 365 days a year. The counter is the owners were stringent on reducing salaries (by keeping more revenue and slowing the growth of the salary cap), so mandatory hours go down and quality goes down.

  3. A big enticement to players, if hurt working out with us you’re covered. If on your own, its on you. 2nd a work out bonus in offseason is standard for all players as a per diem per day. Also housing and food per diem flat number all players. The older ones may scoff but young players will be there.

  4. Wow, what a picture That look is the expression he gives just before he complains about something. Was it taken during the Ravens-Patriots playoff game when Belichick took advantage of the “tackle eligible” rule?

  5. Starting players barely make contact in training camp and preseason and suddenly injuries occur left and right the first month of the season. Shocker.

  6. I do believe that most lower paid younger players would welcome the opportunity, but it would be incumbent upon the league to severely punish coaches like Petey Carrol who violate the rules and say oops. Without severe-severe sanctions to ensure the logic behind the rule- players would be stupid to agree to it!!

  7. With the owners past history, they will take advantage of this.
    The players had to give something up to get reduced off season time.
    If they decide the old schedule is better for all concerned, the owners will make them give something else up for the return.

    Hopefully, the coaches, which are neutral, will talk both sides into simply changing it without bargaining.

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