Soon and very soon, you'll start to read stories of NFL teams gathering informally and working together or, at the very least, conditioning together while the lockout/decertification saga plays out.
My hope is Dolphins players, which were scheduled to begin their conditioning program later this month, will be organized enough to come together as a team and work out. It helps team unity. It helps morale. It helps their conditioning!
The importance of this stuff cannot be stressed enough, I believe. No, we're not at the point where the club would be running practices. But one has to take the first step (conditioning) before one can begin to run toward the second step (football practice).
Former Dolphins wide receiver and current advisor to the CEO Nat Moore knows this and believes that team unity, even in the face of a labor dispute, is important. Appearing on Armando and the Amigo (you can listen to the podcast here). Moore addressed the topic:
"I tell all our listeners that just like in 1982, 1987 and 1993, eventually there will be some kind of resolve and the game will be played," Moore said. "This is just too great a game for the players and the ownership to not come together and come up with an equitable agreement. What that is? I cannot tell you.
"The thing I would caution players, coaches and everyone else is there's so much stuff out there in the media, of people that don't know. I could talk off the cuff but I don't know because I'm not sitting in those meetings. The thing they have to do is for the players to continue to do the things they would normally do. Don't get so caught up in this because eventually you're going to play football.
And in 1982, the two teams that stuck together, practiced every day, got together and go the actual content of what was happening in the meetings, those were the teams that played for the Super Bowl. So I think it's about the team staying together, continue to build a bond, and the players continue to stay in shape and doing the things they need to do to be ready when this things gets resolved because it will."
Moore was talking, of course, about the Dolphins and Redskins.
"Both teams, we were out 56 days, but we got together every day at Miami-Dade Junior College North and we got a report from (player rep) Jimmy Cefalo about what was going on in New York. And that kept everyone's minds at ease. In the meantime, we worked on practicing and staying in shape and working on the stuff we knew we'd be doing when we got back. And in the process, we were way ahead of everybody we played against. The Washington Redskins, with Joe Theismann and his group, they did the same thing. They practiced three times a week while we practiced every day. So think it's important that things you don't control, you have to be a professional and know what the job description is. Know that when you come back you're going to be competing against others to maintain your position on the team. You need to be ready."
There can be no denying the work can help. But here's the question: Who leads the workouts?
We know that Chad Henne said he'd call the workouts for the offensive players. But does the embattled QB have enough clout to tell other players on offense what to do and when? Would WR Brandon Marshall, who had his disagreements with Henne last season, snap to attention when the quarterback calls a workout?
And what about the defense? I know the defense has players that could covene a workout. Yeremiah Bell comes to mind. So does Karlos Dansby. I hope they would be willing and eager to get the guys working.
But it remains the offense that I worry about.
One thing that would help Henne get that group organized is that he still has Jake Long's ear. And Long has the respect of most, if not all, of his players. Maybe Long would be the guy bringing everyone together.
It is a test of leadership. It is a test of work ethic.
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