We're pushing 100 days now with the NFL Lockout. Though there's some who are optimistic that a deal will be worked out in time for a normal training camp and preseason, there's others who are growing concerned by the day that there might be games missed in the 2011 season. We'll see. In the meantime while we wait, the number of practices that teams would typically be having during OTAs and mini-camps continues to grow. At this stage in the calendar year, most teams would have had between 15 to 20 organized sessions. For veterans, those sessions might not amount to much, but as has been discussed ad nauseum, the younger players and rookies in particular might wind up being quite affected by the missed time.
One semi-veteran who's not concerned about lost time just yet is offensive tackle Joe Thomas. Drafted with the 3rd overall pick in the 2007 draft, Thomas has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four NFL seasons. For the previous two years, he was named a 1st Team All-Pro. Pretty darn impressive start to the young man's career. Thomas joined 102.3 The Ticket in Denver on Friday to talk about the lockout, what his concerns are about missed time, and how the quality of play in the 2011 season might actually be improved down the stretch as a result of players not being worked out too strenously during the spring and summer months of this offseason.
If he thinks missing offseason workouts can be beneficial for players:
"It’s hard to say. I think it can be good and it can be bad. It’s been talked about a lot that teams that have continuity are going to be ahead of the teams that don’t. They’re obviously going to have a big step on everybody else, especially for some of the veteran guys and the veteran teams, the OTA minicamp, all the spring work and stuff like that maybe became a little bit too much and could be a little bit of extra grind on the body and the mind. Come January and February people were a little bit worn down and those same veteran teams and I think Green Bay is going to be especially rewarded for the team they have. You kinda take a step back and you get a chance to think about other things and refocus your mind and get your body a little bit fresh, think about the rehab and the stretching and the other things you can do in the offseason on your own is going to probably pay off because the season is going to feel shorter and your body is going to be healthier at the end of the year and I think the mind will be a little fresher. You may see, at the beginning the football not being as good, but at the end I think you may see guys that are more fresh and more ready to go after it."
Whether or not he thinks the offseason workouts are too much:
"You certainly don’t need as much as we had. Even in my rookie year by the time the regular season started I’m thinking ‘man is this thing ever going to start?’ I didn’t even feel like a rookie at the end of training camp because you go through six weeks of training camp, OTA’s, two minicamps, you’ve got preseason games, and the volume is incredible. It’s something you’ve never seen before. Probably more practices than you had in your entire college career up to the first regular season game. I think there is something to be said about keeping the skill set sharp in the offseason by having a few OTA practices, spring practices, and certainly I think training camp can get dialed down a little bit because six weeks is a lot."