Rookie thinks NFL practice is easier than it is at Alabama

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There’s a presumption that, at each new level of football, everything gets faster, tougher, harder. For NFL players who played college football at Alabama, that may not be the case.

Ryan Anderson, a second-round pick in Washington, recently said that training is more trying in Tuscaloosa.

“Practices there are a little bit rougher than [they are] here,” Anderson (No. 22 in the photo) recently said, via “We do a lot of banging around there, so it definitely prepared me physically and mentally for this grind that I’m doing now.”

It’s no surprise, given that the NFL reduced the number and intensity of practices in 2011 — and given that the NCAA has yet to put similar restrictions on contact in practice. Although the extra pounding at Alabama (which sometimes entails taking a pounding from former Alabama players who are trying to get back to the NFL) does indeed prepare a player for life at the next level, it also can prevent him from playing for pay for very long, if the damage done to the chassis in college turns the Jaguar into a jalopy.

That’s been one of the lingering criticisms of the Crimson Tide program under Nick Saban. Although Saban predictably has pushed back against the perception that “Roll Tide” is code for being rode hard and put away wet, Anderson’s effort to praise the program confirms the reality that playing at Alabama can be a double-edged sword.

44 responses to “Rookie thinks NFL practice is easier than it is at Alabama

  1. How is playing at Bama a double edge sword? Want to win, then go at it! Big difference between army infantry and green beret. Both are army but one is much more intense and historical.

  2. Don’t forget… As a reward, they get to carry firearms, drink and drive, be a menace to society, and only get suspended for a half verses St. Mary’s… Yes Saban is preparing them to be professional, as the highest paid professional it’s his duty…

  3. NFL coaches have to deal with a union who are somehow able to tell coaches how to do their jobs. Unions need to be eradicated from society.

  4. The argument is that playing college football at Alabama gets a lot of players the opportunity to play in the NFL but at the same time playing football for Saban also uses up more of a players ‘football life” as an amateur and as a result Bama football players have shorter paid NFL careers. They sure do recruit well and they put a lot of guys in the league, especially on defense. Not too many Tide quarterbacks make it to NFL other than McCarron. There was a guy a few years ago from Alabama that played well in big games…Namath.

  5. It always takes a few years to really tell, but I think the Redskins did really well in this past years draft.

  6. With 90 players on the field at an NFL training camp practice, the reps are limited thus a lighter workload for all. The end result has been that the quality of games for the first few weeks of the season has been poor. And I would love to see an injury study, because recently it seems like guys have been dropping like pins during the first quarter of the season – perhaps they are not as prepared.

  7. My neighbor’s kid is now playing high school football and their two weeks of practice before school starts began last week. Yesterday I ran into him and asked him how the three-a-days are going. He looked at me like I was crazy.

    We are raising snowflakes.

  8. I think the guy above makes a good point. The players in the NFL pretty much train year round, so conditioning isn’t as dependent on practice as much as it used to be. The veterans know what they need to do to get into game shape, and the college guys have been training hard to get drafted.
    So the reality is, practice is designed to develop cohesion and sharpen skills, and to allow young players to show they belong in the NFL. Tackling is one of those skills, and from what I have seen, tackling is bad all year long anyway, so forget about that over- rated skill. Most of the tackling is not tackling anyway — it’s more like bumping. The defensive player runs into the guy with the ball and tries to knock him down rather than bring him down. I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a DB wrap up a guy up and bring him down. They all use the bump method or arm tackle. I see better tackling in the Legends Of Football League than I do in the NFL.
    With more and more stress on the physical toll playing football causes, I can see a time when practices will drop down to just a couple of weeks before the season starts, and pre-season games are eliminated altogether.
    If they made it so the pre-season was limited to just a couple of weeks without playing any games and then just went right into the season, it would be a level playing field for everybody and no one would have an edge. The quality of play would automatically assume to be sloppier, but that’s debatable too, to me. We see sloppy play early in the season every year anyway. And many veterans — especially QB’s — aren’t playing in pre-season games anyway.
    I couldn’t care less if they eliminated the pre-season games and I would not worry about limiting the pre-season practices to just a couple of weeks. If it keeps the players healthier, that’s all that matters.

  9. I’d venture to say there’s probably a lot more off field training and conditioning expected at the pro level. Also likely a higher expectation of quality at a pro practice than the molding a shaping needed at the college level.

  10. Reminds me of the young, dumb mistake of saying the beer was cheap to the galley cook. Got the stinkeye from the other fishermen right away, and learned my lesson. If you say it’s cheap/easy today, it won’t be next time!

  11. I would never presume that an NFL training camp is harder than Alabama. First of all, the NFL expects you to be in condition when you arrive. Also, places like Alabama and Ohio State have so much talent, it’s not going to be catastrophic if a guy goes down with an injury. There’s another 5 star recruit backing him up. Anderson is on the Redskins, so it’s possible he was lining up against better OT’s at Alabama. In the old days, NFL camps were more rigorous because guys had off-season jobs and needed to get in football shape.

  12. Speaking as someone whose possible football “career” (yeah, who was I kidding) was over before it even got underway in college, thanks to a very nasty injury in practice as fodder against the first team even before my first ever chance at a collegiate game, I will say this in response to Ryan – in school you were just a commodity, in the NFL you are now a $5M investment by the Redskins, who also just gave you a $2M signing bonus, and so they aren’t going to try to break you on the first day but plan to to gradually raise the tempo and hope to get your body used to it.

  13. The NFL has become wussified – but Alabama is likely uncaring about its players and they are a virtual puppy mill for college athletics. Since a college player is not particularly valuable (outside of a few positions), a winning program with lots of recruiting potential can just go through players without much concern for their safety; the pros have lots of rules and money attached to players – teams cannot afford the Junior Galettes of the world which are frequent injured players who cash paychecks without adding anything to the team.

    Alabama has a history of players being used up after their time in the program is over and they aren’t well suited for the pros and don’t have longevity in the league for the most part.

  14. We have a Sunday hole-in-the wall here called the Freewinds. On Sunday, the place is packed (well, packed for the Rez) with about 60 football fans. Within those fans, are twelve or so fans of the team from Washington DC, the REDSKINS. None of us are offended by the name of a freaking football team, and neither should you. We’re red-skinned, not thin-skinned, and proud of it. I don’t even like the Redskins, but will say Hail to the Redskins all day and not feel degraded. Enough is enough.


    FB NA from Rez 254 Devil’s Lake North Dakota Ouchita’s Tribe.

  15. Maybe. The game punishment in the NFL puts college to shame. You can only best up the bodies so much. Let’s see what he says about the games.

  16. to add some context from the same source,”While Anderson said Thursday that Alabama’s practices were more physical than the Redskins’ have been (with the amount of contact regulated by the league’s collecting bargaining agreement), he has been humbled by the level of competition.

    “I’m not taking no reps against no freshmen that are just coming in from high school!” said Anderson, alluding to the Redskins’ first- and second-string tackles he’s trying to beat in drills. “All those guys are good, and they’ve got families to feed, man, so you have to go hard every play out there.”

  17. That’s probably for the best since their players have a lot less muscle mass when they get to the nfl for some reason.

  18. tripledipper says:
    Reading these faux-tough guy comments are HYSTERICAL. Old coots pretending to be men is sad.

    Every generation has it easier than the one who preceded them. Those “old coots” were more of a man at your age than you are

  19. tripledipper says:
    August 6, 2017 at 11:14 am
    Reading these faux-tough guy comments are HYSTERICAL. Old coots pretending to be men is sad.
    Sure, right sonny boy. News flash—– with any luck you too will age into an older man and will reminisce about the “good old days”. You will, that’s a fact. So enjoy your condescending now because much quicker than you could possibly know your time will come. Then you’ll be the one defending yourself against know it all know nothings.

  20. This is coming from a rookie who hasn’t even played an NFL game yet? Keep in mind, he was on a team that was loaded with talent. Usually every person on their OL was better than almost every DL they played. They rarely played any games that had more than a few DL that were even as good as them. That won’t be the case in the NFL. That’s why there are so many promising draft picks who end up being washed out. I’ll care a little more about what this guy says if he can actually get on the field. Until then, he needs to shut his piehole.

  21. We all know that NFL practices are too easy. The players got the easy time they wanted at a cost of earning less salary and a loss of freedom. Maurice Smith the impeddy dimp fancy hat aficionado sold them out.

  22. Sounds like Gruden is doing a GREAT job of getting his players ready for the season.

    Rookies saying college practices were more difficult, not knowing how to properly treat their QB situation, and finishing 7-9 this season will further confirm that dysfunction goes well beyond the White House in DC.

  23. this is one of those statements that maybe the player should think it but not say it. “I feel alabama prepared me for the nfl better than any other program in the ncaa would have.” might have been a better way to put that.

  24. So why is CTE an NFL issue and not an NCAA issue? I understand playing in the NFL is an actual career that pays out but why don’t any of the same rules apply at the college level if safety is such a big deal?

  25. Pro football rosters and depth charts have much less change from year to year than colleges. In college, half the starters are leaving every year, and you have many incoming freshman competing for positions on the depth chart. The colleges have to find out who can play and who can’t. Also, because they’re in and out so quickly in college, they keep the playbook simple. In the NFL, you have to have an expanded playbook if you’re going to keep up with the good teams, so there is more mental preparation required, and less physical.

  26. dangguy says:
    August 6, 2017 at 8:45 pm
    Let us not forget that someone gets older they tend to remember that they were better in memory than they used to be.
    Let us also not forget that someone young tends to think that they will be as good as their fantasies.

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