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  • Published: Aug 2nd, 2015
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  • Comments: Comments Off on Thank the CBA for a lot of bad NFL football.

Thank the CBA for a lot of bad NFL football.

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Manziel Money

NOTE: On NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discussed the news of the day including details about the Brady case and broke down the Browns offense in detail. We discussed which players will make the roster and which will be cut.

The quality of play in the NFL is going down. That has nothing to do with the quality of the athletes. Every season the rookies get better and more athletic. Rather we can blame the CBA and the sloppy practice habits of NFL teams.

I have always believed that the success in the season is determined before the 1st snap of the 1st game. It is the mental and physical preparation that happens in training camp and the preseason that determines how successful the team will be.

Anyone that has watched the NFL channel training camp coverage has to be surprised at the amount of time spend just standing around. The current CBA reduces the amount of practice time dramatically. But the NFL coaches have not adjusted to the limits well.

One of the things that I have been very critical of the coaching the QBs get. One of the biggest issues is the lack of physical repetitions that the 2nd and 3rd QBs get. While “mental” reps help, there is no substitute for physical repetitions.

Back in the Dark Ages when I coached semi-pro football, we had a limited amount of practice time because everybody had jobs. Our practices would start at 6 PM two days a week and go until dark. We would set up both the first and second team offenses on each 45 yard line going different directions. With the coaches between the groups, each side would alternate snaps. That doubled the number of reps that each group got. That not only helped the QB but the WR, RB and defensive back groups as well. Meanwhile the O and D line groups were doing work elsewhere. Those groups were working back to back as well.

Given the lack of NFL ready QB prospects coming out of college football, the NFL has to do a better job giving reps and individual coaching to young players. The QB coach has to spend most of his time with the starter. Why not bring in a QB specialist coach to develop the younger guys at the position?

The NFL no longer has a developmental league. A league that generates 10 billion dollars a year should spend some of it to develop players. That would also help develop coaches and refs as well.

So when you watch NFL practices, watch for teams standing around. The more standing the less wins at the end of the season.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Thanks for your support.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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Questions in the NFC South and West training camps

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nfl

NFC South

Falcons

1. Is this the year that the Falcons finally put everything together and win the division? The team was a favorite in a lot of preseason publications last year. They are projected to finish 1st in even more this season. The O has been challenged by a lack of a solid #2 WR. WR Jenkins must get it done this year. The D has just been challenged particularly against the pass.

2. Will RB Michael “Burner” Turner return to his 2008 form? Last season he started slow and ended the season hurt. The team has others that can fill in but no one that can turn the game around with a single run like he can.

3. Will the DB play improve? The team ended up 28th against the pass. If HC Smith is going to get this team to the top of the NFCS, that has to improve a lot. One corner and one safety spot are up for grabs.

Panthers

1. Did the team make the right call in letting QB Jake Delhomme go to Cleveland and starting Matt Moore? Moore did well in relief of the horrible season Delhomme had last year. The team hedged their bet by taking ND QB Jimmy Clausen in the 2nd round. HC Fox shocked the team after the OTAs by announcing that there would be an open challenge for the QB spot.

2. Will the combination of RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart stay health this year? The two were healthy most of last year but both have a history of injury. The team will lean much more on the running game with a new QB under center.

3. Will the team be able to replace the sacks and QB hurries generated by Julius Peppers now that he is gone? The D backfield depended on steady pressure up front to be effective. The current group will struggle to get as much pressure without the double and sometimes triple teaming of Peppers that left the rest 1 on 1.

Saints

1. How well will the D play without some key losses? FS Darren Sharper is hurt and may not be ready this year. LB Scott Fujita and DE Charles Grant are gone and will be hard to replace.

2. Will the WRs stay healthy this year? WRs Lance Moore and Marques Colston both missed games last year. With a tougher schedule this year QB Drew Brees is going to need the top WRs on the field.

3. Will the Saints suffer the “year after” syndrome that other first time Super Bowl winners have? This year they have a tougher schedule, won’t sneak up on anyone and have had less turn around time than other teams. The coaching staff will have their work cut out to get the team deep in the playoffs again.

Buccaneers

1. Is Josh Freeman going to be the QB the team thought he would be when they drafted him? He started 9 games last year but had a 54.9 passer rating with 10 TDs but 18 picks. The team is not good enough to win unless he is in the 85-90 range this year.

2. Will any of the WRs step up to help Freeman? The WR lineup will change again this year but the team has no sure things at the position. TE Kellen Winslow is still suffering from injuries early in his career but the team will try to help Freeman by using 2 TEs a lot.

3. Is DT Gerald McCoy the Warren Sapp this year or is he Wendy Sapp? The team needs him to be the penetrating pass rush that Sapp did in the Super Bowl years. That can make up for an aging group of DBs.

NFC West

Cardinals

1. Can QB Matt Leinart finally justify his 1st overall selection in the Draft? In a word no. Leinart has been given more chances at redemption than a crooked Congressman. He has been handed the job twice and has not been able to keep it. As insurance Coach Ken Whisenhunt brought in big armed former Pro Bowl QB Derek Anderson. Leinart is due BIG dollars in 2011. If he fails this year he is gone. Look for Anderson to be the starter before the end of the year.

2. Can the team recover from the losses of key players this year? QB Kurt Warner will be the biggest loss. He is headed to the Hall of Fame. WR Anquan Boldin was traded. WR Steve Breaston is good but no Boldin. IB Karlos Dansby is gone and IB Gerald Hayes is recovering from back surgery. They released S Antrel Rolle. LBs Travis LaBoy, Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor are also missing. That is a lot of spots to fill in.

3. Will the older incoming players like G Alan Faneca (13th season) and Joey Porter (12th) have anything left? They should provide some leadership in the locker room but the team needs them to produce on the field as well.

Rams

1. How soon will the 50M man QB Sam Bradford be starting? The Rams fans have not had much reason to buy a ticket for several years. Sam is the “the man” but how quickly will he become the starter? Better question yet, how long will it take him to become an NFL Quality player. He is in the right stadium and division with a majority of his games to be played indoors. He does not have an above average arm. This team needs him to be the right guy.

2. Can the Ram O line protect a somewhat fragile Bradford? For the second straight year, the team took a T high in the draft. Rodger Saffold was regarded as a steal with their 2nd round pick. The team is still trying to decide if Saffold will play LT or RT with the other side going to 09 2nd pick overall Jason Smith. OTAs took a toll on the O line with 6 guys ending up hurt including both T prospects. Smith missed games last year with a knee. C Jason Brown and RG Adam Goldberg are OK but the rest including LG Jacob Bell and last season RT Phil Trautwein are barely adequate.

3. Will the D play better with a year under their belts with the D scheme? 2008 2nd pick overall DE Chris Long should play better having to think less than he did last year converting to his 3rd D in 3 years. He started to get it in the last few games of 09. The rest of the D will know the D better this season having the same D scheme as last year.

The LB group will be wearing OSU Scarlet and Gray. MLB James Laurinaitis is a beast and should have all fellow ex-Buckeye guys around him. Na’il Diggs will start at SLB with either Larry Grant or Bobby Carpenter playing WLB. The fact that all 4 played together at OSU should help in communications.

49ers

1. Will former 1st overall pick QB Alex Smith finally look like he deserved the money? Probably not. Smith started 10 games last year and had a semi-respectable 81.5 QB rating. He is in the last year of his rookie contract. Unless he plays better, he will be elsewhere next year. The team needs him to play better than that if they are going to contend for the NFCW title.

2. Will the O line be better? The O line has given up 150 sacks in the last 3 seasons. That kills drives and QBs. LT Joe Staley and C Eric Heitmann are coming along well but LG Davis Baas is hurt again. The right side is questionable at best.

3. Will the DBs play up to the rest of the D? The lock down corner they paid big bucks to LCB Nate Clements had a bad season. He was benched but worked his way back onto the field. RCB Shawntae Spencer should be better with a year of recovery from knee surgery. The Ss play the run better than the pass.

Seahawks

1. Will the Hawks have a good enough running game to take pressure off the passing game? Justin Forsett was brought in to compete with RB Julius Jones. Jones averaged only 3.7 per attempt despite starting 14 games last year. RB Leon Washington will likely be the 3rd down back if he is recovered from a broken leg last year.

2. How long will it take for the new guys to play together? There has been a ton of turnover by the new staff. For several years it was a bad old roster. The new roster looks better but it will take some time to make all the parts work together.

3. Can the O line protect their fragile QB Matt Hasselbeck and open holes for the running game? Long time Pro Bowler Walter Jones retired. Russell Okung takes over LT. Other than LG Ben Hamilton the line is below average. OL coach Alex Gibbs is a magician and he will have to do some neat tricks to make this line perform well enough to win.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,training camp,Super Bowl,Saints,Falcons,Buccaneers,Panthers,49ers,Rams,Seahawks,Cardinals

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Questions in the AFC East and North training camps.

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AFC North Training Camp

Note: We will look at all the divisions of the NFL with this same point of view over the next few issues of Fryingpansports.com.

AFC East

Bills

1. How effective with the QB play be? Trent Edwards is the leader going into camp but watch out for former 2nd round pick Brian Brohm. He has the talent to be a starter and Edwards has problems in the clubhouse.

2. “RB? We don’t need no stinkin’ RB!" Marshawn Lynch started his career strong but has made more news off the field than on it in the last 2 years. The Bills took RB C.J. Spiller with their 1st pick but did Lynch get the message? No and Spiller starts.

Dolphins

1. How good will the D be after losing some key players? DT Jason Ferguson retired and they cut LB Jerry Porter and S Gibril Wilson. The D played pretty well last year. Will it survive the losses?

2. How much will RB Ronnie Brown be able to contribute? In addition to an injury last year he faces a DUI issue. The Wildcat is much more effective with both RBs in the backfield.

3. How far has QB Chad Henne come or will former starter Chad Pennington become the starter again? Henne will be as good as the running game allows him to be.

Patriots

1. Have injuries and contract questions reduced Tom Brady’s effectiveness? Brady was clearly not performing at his "pre-injury" level last year.. Will he get back to the 2007 level?

2. Can the Pats O line protect Brady? The line has gotten old and the replacements have been less than stellar. Brady needs protection.

3. How far has the D fallen? Last year the D was exposed by a lack of youth and talent.

Jets

1. How will Sanchez do in year 2? Often 2nd year QBs have a regression. Last year Sanchez was at best OK. He was not asked to do too much. As the Ds focused on the running game, he struggled to get the ball down the field. The team traded for Holmes but he is suspended for the first 4 games. HC Ryan wants to throw more this year but can Sanchez deliver?

2. Will the Jets D continue to improve? The D took major steps forward last year. DE Marques Douglas was expected to do great things in 09 but was a bust. So was ILB Larry Izzo. The top newcomer CB Antonio Cromartie comes with a plane full of baggage. If the D is to improve, it will have to come from some guys on the 09 team developing,

3. Does RB LaDainian Tomlinson have anything left? I don’t think so.

AFC North

Ravens

1. How much will the D fall without S Ed Reed in the backfield full time? The D plays much more aggressively when they have the great eraser in the deep middle. How much can he contribute this year? Is a 6M price tag too much for a part time player?

2. Can the new CBs play up to the level of the front 7? This has the makings of dissention in the locker room if the pass D doesn’t play well.

3. How many balls will WR Anquan Boldin catch? For the last few years the team has not had a true #1 receiver. How much better will the O be? A lot!

Bengals

1. What happens to the running game if RB Cedric Benson is suspended? With QB Palmer having an off year in 09, it was the running of Benson that propelled the O.

2. Will QB Carson Palmer get back to his previous levels of performance or is age beginning to catch up to him? Palmer has not been the same since the injury in the playoff loss to the Steelers.

3. Will the lame duck status of HC Marvin Lewis hold the team back or propel them to new heights to keep their coach? The history of the team indicates that two winning seasons in a row are unlikely.

Browns

Check out my article on the Browns question marks on NFLDraftDog.com under team reports.,

Steelers

1. With QB Ben Roethlisberger being out for 4-6 games, how big a hole will the team be in when he returns. Will he be mentally ready to play? By rule, after training camp ends, he can have no contract with the team at all until he is reinstated by the league. Will the Steelers be out of the race by the time he gets back?

2. Can the running game get back to the old S teeler level without RB Willie Parker? A lot of the trouble in the last few years has been the lack of run blocking by the O line. Can that group come together without OT Willie Colon who is out with an Achilles’ tendon injury. I doubt it.

3. How much will S Troy Polamalu be able to play this year. Without him, the Steeler D is just average.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on ;and edits .

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