I wonder how the players feel after more than 100 days of training on their own, of managing their own diets, of preparing for an NFL season without the supervision of strength and conditioning coaches and their team's athletic training departments. Seems to me that a player is either in shape now or he is going to have a very difficult time sharpening his body with, in theory, about five weeks to go before training camp begins.
How motivated have the players been through this offseason? How many players will drop off in their production because they didn't approach the offseason with the proper self-motivation and discipline needed to keep a body at the requisite NFL level?
Conversely, how many players will make the leap because they have been ardent with their conditioning and their away-from-the-office regimen?
I insist that this is going to be one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent times with teams experiencing wild performance swings due to the limited practice time and the lack of razor-sharp conditioning from the players.
Of course, all of this is predicated upon actually having a season, and these next couple of days are going to tell us a lot about what we can expect in 2011. I'm optimistic, as you know. I expect to feel a whole lot better about the immediate future later this week.
- Is the idea that the Eagles would add a receiver, any receiver, all that crazy? I don't think so. Chad Hall was the team's fifth receiver last year. The team added Sinorice Moss prior to the work stoppage. Can that position be upgraded? Maybe. I think Hall will be a much better player than he was last year now that he has his NFL legs, and Moss has always intrigued me, but there stand to be some quality players on the streets in free agency.
- Who is going to end up as the gem of the 2010 draft class that we don't know about? Certainly Brandon Graham and Nate Allen are quality talents who have bright futures. We saw Jamar Chaney emerge as a rookie. Clay Harbor, Trevard Lindley, Riley Cooper and Keenan Clayton and Kurt Coleman showed some ability in their first NFL seasons. But I'm excited to see Daniel T'eo-Nesheim. I know he didn't do anything in 2010 and he didn't have that burst and that energy expected. I think he had some ankle issues that are resolved and I think that playing for Jim Washburn is going to do a lot for the kid's game. He gets my vote. By the way, I think the draft class is going to turn out to be very, very good in the long run.
- Is it going to be more difficult for a new offensive line coach to teach the run game or the passing game? I wonder how intricate Howard Mudd's plan is going to be and, for the sake of bringing everyone up to speed quickly, if he will "dumb down" his approach from what he has done in years past. Mudd, of all the coaches, is the most interesting to me because it is so difficult to get an entire offensive line on the same page for a consistent 16 games of the regular season.
- How have the fans seen Andy Reid during this offseason? He has been extraordinarily accessible, personable and, at times, downright fun dealing with the media and the public. Seeing him on stage on Saturday night during Kenny Chesney's performance at Lincoln Financial Field was a pleasure. I do anticipate, though, that when the season resumes and Reid has a smaller window of time to get his players right, he's going to be efficient and all business and very task-oriented.
- And when I talk about conditioning, I think about the big guys. I think about the offensive and defensive linemen. I sure hope those players have treated their bodies right since last season ended.