Gruden need not look far for the “geniuses” who restricted offseason schedule

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When he appeared last month on PFT Live, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he’d deal with the NFL’s restrictive offseason workout rules by complaining about them. And complain about them he is.

The complaints derisively refer to the people who made the rules as “geniuses,” but he need not look very far to find them. He works for one of them.

The “geniuses” are the league’s owners. More specifically, the “geniuses” are the owners who negotiated the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

In July of that year, as management and labor began to face the loss of significant revenue with the disappearance of preseason games, the NFL Players Association showed willingness to accept the financial terms on which ownership had been insisting for months. The players wanted a variety of terms that resulted in no expense, and the owners agreed. One after another, piece by piece, the league surrendered items like padded practices and offseason workout time in order to get the monetary arrangement the NFL coveted.

The coaches and other football personnel weren’t involved. When they learned of the changes, they weren’t happy. As one source put it at the time, the players secured everything but the right to have someone else play for them.

The coaches who have coached from 2011 through 2017 have had no choice but to deal with it, and Gruden has followed the game closely enough to know about it. But it’s now affecting him for the first time as a coach, and he doesn’t like it.

Other coaches who have made the adjustment to the restrictions aren’t shedding tears for Gruden. Sure, they’d all like to have more of anything/everything when it comes to access to players, but they’ve had no choice for seven full seasons but to make it work.

Gruden will have to make it work at least until the next CBA negotiation. Even then, the owners may not be willing to give up money in exchange for enhanced work time.

So Gruden can complain all he wants (and we like it when he does), but real change is possibly several years away, if it ever comes at all.

15 responses to “Gruden need not look far for the “geniuses” who restricted offseason schedule

  1. So Gruden only needs to look at the 32 owners?
    Not also at the players and the NFLPA leadership?
    Though both parties negotiated the agreement.
    Each giving up things to obtain other things.

  2. If Gruden wants someone to blame he should point his turkey hole at his best buddies – all the players he’s so fond of – rather than the owner he works for as it was the NFLPA who wanted those restrictions. Or he could just do what Pete Carrol did in Seattle and repeatedly ignore all those workout rules for slaps on the wrists.

  3. I’m sure the players restricting the offseason until they do nearly nothing has absolutely no correlation with the drastic increase in ACL tears since the CBA.

  4. Welcome back John. The only person who will be at the facility all day and night will be you. The days of old are long gone. Good luck with the 14 padded practices and 3 hour per day max on field practice sessions. Im sure you read the CBA before coming back to coaching lol

  5. With the money they make they should have to work year round like everyone else, even if the time is spend sitting in meeting rooms studying.

  6. The new market inefficiency is coaches willing to push there teams harder in practice then they would have when they had more of them.

    What I mean is back when they had 2 a days and the like, practices had a certain pace and intensity. They didnt push to hard so that players could come back and practice again. Now though that shouldnt be a worry. They can only practice a certain amount of time. Yet most coaches havent adjusted the intensity. A lot of them have even went softer. The effects are obvious. The decline of crisp route runners, form tacklers, line play, db play etc. has been stunning.

    There are some coaches who have figured it out. Coaches who take every minute they are allowed to take. Those teams are the ones you see at the top of league. There are some outliers like the Steelers. Talent will push through, but you could also say the reason why maybe the most talented team in the league cant push all the way through is bc when there going against those hard practicing teams like Reid’s Chiefs, Coughlin’s Jaguars, Belichick’s Patriots, or Mularkey’s Titans they are not prepared physically, mentally, or fundamentally to perform week after week at playoff intensity against teams who have been practicing that way all year.

    The Eagles and the Cowboys are perfect examples of what these opposing philosophies will get you. No team is as soft on its players as the Cowboys. Like the Steelers they are 1 of the most talented teams in the NFL, and like the Steelers they take days off of their already minimal allotted practice days. They are 1 of about a 3rd of the league that doesnt tackle in practice anymore, and there practices are more about talking through what they need to fix then building it through muscle memory. Dont take my word for it just listen to Charles Haley, who says Cowboys players cant do 2 drills without getting winded and having to take a break before attempting a 3rd.

    The Eagles though practice harder then any team in the league. Andy Reid has always been known as running the toughest practices, and Doug Pederson has not only followed his lead but enhanced it. Doug has his players running tackling and form drills more often seen in the 90s. He has them tackling to the ground and hitting constantly. Getting the players ready for the season and the skills memorized in their muscles. The Eagles have also kept Chip Kellys sport science, strength and conditioning, sleep and nutrition, and some of his practice techniques like being in perpetual motion, having every unit going at the same time, not having players watching and waiting for reps and the like in place. For all the mistakes, ego, and predictability the 1 thing he did right and really changed the NFL is how teams optimize their players abilities off the field and how to best take care of their bodies.

    During the season he had his players wearing pads and tackling during the week. (at their request) something unheard of in the modern NFL. If you go back and look at training camp stories you will see many criticizing him for his tough practices. Claiming he would lose players.

    Although you may think Im just some fan claiming these things bc I would like to think my team works harder, you can find these stories all over the internet. If you do not want to do that, then maybe you will listen to an active player from another team more or less confirm my assertions. Ndamukung Suh and the Dolphins practiced with the Eagles this year. After seeing how hard they worked, how they hit and competed with them and each other, and how they ran from drill to drill said he would play for free to be an Eagle in 2018.

    The Eagles even with few big name blue chip nationally recognized players, had what I would say was the best tackling cb, safety, and lb units, the most fundamentally sound d-line unit when it came to setting the edge, being in position, manning your gap, and pass rushing, and most fundamentally and technically sound o-line units in the NFL.

    That was all done bc of how they practiced. They werent the most talented team in the NFL this year but they were the best team, from wire to wire, more bc of what they did off the field then on it.

    Now the Eagles arent special they didnt invent it. Even though they have always practiced that way they did not have the right man at the top to put it to use, but other teams did. The Panthers made it to the Superbowl bc Ron Rivera, a Andy Reid and Jim Johnson disciple, built 1 of the most physically dominating and soundly technical teams in the NFL that year through his hard charging practices. The Seahawks 1 of the best multi year defenses in recent NFL history are notorious for there tough practices. Even going so far as breaking the rules of the cba bc of their intensity.

    The evidence is clear, the teams that have adjusted to the new cba and ratcheted up the intensity of their practices as a supplement to replace as much of the reps and work, that they would of had under the old cba, as possible, are the teams that are getting the most out of the talent they have, and have(for the most part) been the ones who have consistently been in title contention each of the 7 seasons since its been signed.

  7. For clarification Im not saying the teams that practice hard are always in it, Im saying the teams that are in it always practice hard.

  8. Who really cares at this point. Its over and done until the time comes that it can be changed and that is years away. Figure something out, he certainly is paid enough to pay someone to figure it out for him if he can’t.

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