• Why Can't Players and Coaches Communicate and/or Practice?

    Can anybody explain to me who gains by the players and coaches being barred from communicating and/or practicing during the lockout? Who benefits? The owners may see it as a way to squeeze the players in negotiations, but all it really does it lengthen the period of time after a settlement that teams need to get ready to kick it off. Let the guys practice with the coaches. The coaches aren't doing anything, the players aren't doing anything. They should be getting ready to play games. They should be improving the product. They should be getting the rookies ready for a lightning quick start to the season without preseason games. This lockout is what it is. The negotiations are tough. But, the NFL product on the field should not suffer because negotiations are on-going. Let the players and coaches get ready to play football while the rest of the guys try to split billions of dollars.

    Comments 26 Comments
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      I think the reason why coaches aren't supposed to have contact with players right now is because the coaches are considered team employees, while the players are union employees. I suppose you could say that, technically, the players are also team employees, but there is a difference between being a union and non-union employee.

      In any event, the league knows coaches are in fact in communication with their teams. PFT had a piece on Raheem Morris even admitting as much. Whether they decide to aggressively pursue it or not, however...
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      But, that is not living in reality. These guys usually practice together with coaches from April on. Why not act like mature adults, acknowledge that this will be a strange year, and make a few exceptions to make the product as good as possible once they return.

      They are wasting valuable time with zero real benefit to anyone. I am going to guess the answer is liability, but even that can be waived if the players agree to do so.
    1. RSConn5's Avatar
      I think the owners just want the players to feel as isolated as possible.
    1. FrzzerBwler's Avatar
      Probably goes back to what Trumpy told you
      "When something makes no sense, it's about money"
      In this case whether it be liability as you said or cutting the coaches pay. Which may be the answer.
      "Ok front office employees you have to take a pay cut while the coaches do not"
      How would that go over?
      BTW the cutting of front office employee pay is plain wrong IMO. These are not the millionaires and how much revenue has been lost at this point?
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Cris Collinsworth View Post
      But, that is not living in reality. These guys usually practice together with coaches from April on. Why not act like mature adults, acknowledge that this will be a strange year, and make a few exceptions to make the product as good as possible once they return.

      They are wasting valuable time with zero real benefit to anyone. I am going to guess the answer is liability, but even that can be waived if the players agree to do so.
      I get what you're saying, and in the interest of full disclosure, I too don't see what the big deal is about coaches having contact with their players. To me though, this is one of those situations where, because a line has to be drawn somewhere, you draw the line there, if for no other reason than to eliminate any gray areas when it comes to management representatives having interaction with the players. As you stated, there could be liability issues, plus a potential conflict of interest. Since the coaches are not part of the players union, and are more or less an extension of the owners, the potential for problems seems like it could be too great.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I think it's a PR ploy. Everything the owners have done like this appears to be designed to provide a way to publicly visit blame upon the players.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by RSConn5 View Post
      I think the owners just want the players to feel as isolated as possible.
      This is it in a nutshell. The whole point of the lockout is to make the players uncomfortable enough to accept a lesser deal. Cutting the players off from team employees and facilities puts a psychological stress on the players ahead of missed game checks. While a few players claim to be enjoying the time off most of them are saying how unsettling it is not to be training in the classroom, weight room and practice field.

      I'd imagine this scenario also makes the specter of a lost season feel more realistic.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      This is it in a nutshell. The whole point of the lockout is to make the players uncomfortable enough to accept a lesser deal. Cutting the players off from team employees and facilities puts a psychological stress on the players ahead of missed game checks. While a few players claim to be enjoying the time off most of them are saying how unsettling it is not to be training in the classroom, weight room and practice field.

      I'd imagine this scenario also makes the specter of a lost season feel more realistic.
      Not saying I agree with it, but to play devils advocate, the thing to remember is the coaches are, for better or worse, a part of the management structure of the organization. Any contact between the coaches and players could be considered a conflict of interest and could undermine the whole concept of getting a deal done.

      As a fan of the defending Super Bowl champions, I would much prefer to have Mike McCarthy interacting and working with the players right now, during the off-season. He's proven to be an excellent off-season coach, better than most, and the development of our rookies is paramount to our sustained success. Not having any contact with the players puts a huge wrench into that development.
    1. DCFanatic's Avatar
      The real guys who are being hurt are the players who are coming off injuries and should be visiting with the team's training and rehab staffs.

      The owners are basically telling the fans that they are just as bratty as some of these players (contract negotiations) when things aren't going their way.

      I just heard that Raheem Morris said he's been in contact with his players frequently - http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2...em_morris.html .

      Are the Bucs going to fine him? Suspend him?
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      I think it's a PR ploy. Everything the owners have done like this appears to be designed to provide a way to publicly visit blame upon the players.
      I have to admit I thought the same thing. The players have been amazingly quiet and unified. It will be interesting to see if that holds if games are missed. That was when the real in-fighting started in 82 and 87.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by DCFanatic View Post
      The real guys who are being hurt are the players who are coming off injuries and should be visiting with the team's training and rehab staffs.

      The owners are basically telling the fans that they are just as bratty as some of these players (contract negotiations) when things aren't going their way.

      I just heard that Raheem Morris said he's been in contact with his players frequently - http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2...em_morris.html .

      Are the Bucs going to fine him? Suspend him?
      They should give him a raise. The coaches and 99% of the players are just pawns in this game.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Cris Collinsworth View Post
      But, that is not living in reality. These guys usually practice together with coaches from April on. Why not act like mature adults, acknowledge that this will be a strange year, and make a few exceptions to make the product as good as possible once they return.

      They are wasting valuable time with zero real benefit to anyone. I am going to guess the answer is liability, but even that can be waived if the players agree to do so.
      This is exactly correct. This is what SHOULD be done, but anytime the word "mature" adult is thrown around, that is exactly the issue. Young or old, there is no more difficult credence than to get a large group of adults to act mature.

      And I think the players are more than happy to let the owners put the squeeze on their communication with coaches, otherwise, they'd spend more time fighting the issue. The fact is players in the same system have a really good idea as to what's expected of them by their coaches, and while some specific Xs and Os may be lost, it shouldn't take them long to get caught up. So in essence, what the owners are doing is creating a severe competitive imbalance between the teams with stability, and the teams without stability.

      But if the players are being squeezed in that they can't communicate with coaches, ultimately, it's a PR battle they can work in their favor, so I have a feeling they'd much rather use that to their advantage than actually try to obtain the ability to work with their coaches.

      Another interesting question. Why are the players so willing to appear on the NFL-owned network? Wouldn't a boycott of that network, while providing a PR nightmare, do more to put the squeeze on the owners?
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      Liability has to be the biggest issue. No helmets are being worn. I have heard more than one player mention not being "protected or covered" by the NFL so the workouts are not at a normal tempo. The players that will benefit the most from these gatherings are the rookies who will start to bond with veterans and at least get mental reps in a new system. When you work at a tempo to avoid injury, a lot of times someone will suffer one. The nightmare would be a player blows an ACL in a non-contact drill and needs reconstructive surgery. Depending on the stature of the player this could be a disaster for the NFL. What a PR mess, a star player trying his best to stay ready for the upcoming season is out. Is he totally on his own? It probably depends on the team and player involved. If coaches were conducting the workouts it would seem to be more clear cut and defined.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      Even if the players did have access to the coaching staff, what they need is full access to the training and medical facilities, along with all their equipment. The coaching staff will have them training the right way, but that still won't prevent injuries. We see players lost for the season during training camp all the time. But alas, the loss of facilities come with being locked out.. =/

      In any event, the rumblings this morning that the framework of a new deal are pretty positive. Now I just need a job, so I can go get Packers/Chargers tickets..
    1. BuckeyeRidley's Avatar
      Awesome point Cris. This is one of the League isms that are just a way to try to keep the upper hand. Teams have a lot of things they kept from players when they were temporarily allowed to go back in the building this past spring. Its a control mechanism which is ridiculous and hopefully gonna end soon.
    1. ReaderM's Avatar
      The Lockout is a cessation of all League Activity and technically if Players and coaches got together that would represent an defacto league activity like OTA's and such, I can understand why players and coaches are not allowed to communicate. I don't like it nor the idea behind the lockout but I can understand the rule. What I wish though that both sides would show as a good sign of faith in each other would be to allow the resumption of OTA,mini-camp activities to progress. There would be no promises of games being played until an agreement was reached but it would do three things

      1) Allows for the potential of a watered down/sloppy play season to be diluted cause teams will have gotten in a lot of the proper work before games started

      2) Give fans a sense of optimism on negotiations & help to dissipated any anger they make have felt over the lockout by giving them an actual product to follow

      3) Increase the pressure on both sides to properly reach a deal,now that both sides are back to the table.After the resumption of OTA and other stuff, there would be additional pressure on NFLPA* Executive board from it's members to actually allow the progress to continue.On the owners side,if they are the one who are shown to be stalling at the table after players returned then they would divisively&unilaterally be cast as the villains from all sides and evaporate quickly whatever support they may have and probably have a impact on them in public sector as well.

      As for my thoughts on Raheem situation,response got long so just created a thread for it and would defiantly would be interesting to see what other people thoughts are on how it went down.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      It's not a legal issue?

      If they want a court-sanctioned lockout, can they permit contact?
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Cris, I think you haven't phrased it quite right. We all know that if the NFL wants a LOCKOUT then there has to be a policy of no contact, else you don't have a lockout.

      So the real question is why a LOCKOUT and why now?

      We all know that a LOCKOUT is being used against players to make them lose game checks as the litigation/negotiation goes on, so as to put stress on the players and try to get them to agree to a owner-friendly CBA/Settlement.

      So if a LOCKOUT is a given, the question cascades down to "Why now, versus something like Aug 31?".

      I think the main answer is "Work Rules". If the NFL proceeded to employ the players throughout the summer, then they would been required to stipulate work rules under which the now non-union players would work. I am thinking that would raise all sorts of bad issue for the litigation. The Brady suit can now attack the specifics of the work rules, if FA was on then the NFL would be pumping several hundred million in signing bonuses into the FA and draft players coffers before the LOCKOUT, and probably much more I haven't thought about.

      Right now the lack of work rules make the Brady case harder for the NFLPA, it keeps the players poorer, and probably a whole lot more I haven't thought of.

      They should be getting the rookies ready for a lightning quick start to the season without preseason games. This lockout is what it is. The negotiations are tough. But, the NFL product on the field should not suffer because negotiations are on-going.
      A LOCKOUT either in March or Aug, is exactly about valuing an owner-friendly contract OVER a well-played (or even played at all) season. There no reason to mitigate the major for the improvement of the minor.

      Executing half-a-lockout is taking two steps across the canyon.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      I was told today that Drew Brees paid for all the players' insurance so that they could work out together. Any truth to that?
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Cris Collinsworth View Post
      I was told today that Drew Brees paid for all the players' insurance so that they could work out together. Any truth to that?
      That's what the reports say. Brees also paid for the practice facilities and trainers.