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The difference between this program and others

I wrote a column about Bill Parcells and his devotion and belief in his offseason program in today's Herald.

It is a subject I've written about a handful of times already this offseason between the blog and the newspaper's pages. The reason for my coverage is that the program is IMPORTANT. As I wrote, Parcells believes one way to make the Dolphins better in the Fall is to have them get in shape in the Spring.

He is a strong proponent in free weights, as the column says. In fact, he has had a bunch of the machine weights removed from the Miami weight room and the dropping of free weights to the floor now echoes throughout the Dolphins training facility. Someone told me it's like working in a train station.

When I wrote about the topic before, a skeptic (read smart ass) suggested I was building up the conditioning program after tearing down the way Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson and then Dave Wannstedt worked their teams early before they collapsed in December.

The skeptic (read smart ass) said I was against hard work then but seem to be for it now.

Wrong.

The difference now is Parcells is working his team on conditioning and -- strictly conditioning. They're working hard at it. They're getting in shape. Football work will come later.

The previous coaches didn't work their teams as hard this time of year, but then turned it on during training camp to get in shape. They would go in pads twice a day in July and August. They would hit in camp almost every practice. And they would often continue hitting well into the season, even in November and December.

So what you had was a team that wasn't in as good a shape, getting in shape by hitting in training camp and into the season. What you'll have now is a team that is going to be in good shape hitting in training camp, but not as often and not as long. I doubt the Dolphins will be hitting during practice going into November and December.

I believe training camp and so much regular-season practice contact sucked the life out of some of those Shula-Johnson-Wannstedt teams. Sure, they started fast because they were razor sharp at the season's start. But the players' bodies could endure only so much contact and hitting before wilting. And so you had those forgettable December swoons.

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