With an exciting draft in the books and summer practices looming, it’s easy to forget that this time last year there were legitimate concerns about whether a new NFL season would even happen. As another season approaches, we are beginning to see some of the tangible effects of the labor negotiations.
One main point of contention during last year’s lockout was what to do with rookie salaries, which had skyrocketed to the point that top picks had become far less valuable. They, of course, have instituted a slotted salary system, similar to the NBA’s rookie wage scale that certainly has affected contract negotiations this year. Gone are the days of the crippling, lengthy rookie holdout.
“Common sense says this should have been done years ago,” Casserly said. “The most ridiculous thing we all faced was rookies coming in being paid astronomical amounts of money in the first round having not done anything. The system was backwards, and everyone knew it.”
The rookies may be filing into NFL camps earlier, with new contracts in hand, but due to provisions reducing the amount of “organized team activities” and the elimination of two-a-day practices in training camp, they won’t get as much on-field time as they used to. While it may keep players fresher and was done for safety purposes, Casserly sees this as a detriment to a young player’s progression, especially quarterbacks.
“There’s an element of development for the quarterback position that you can help with more work in the offseason, classroom work, individual throwing work,” Casserly said. “The younger players, their advanced development. I think they get hurt in this.”
In Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins do have a young quarterback who could be affected by the amount of time he’ll get with his new teammates. It will be a unique situation entering training camp, though, because he has a firm grasp on Mike Sherman’s playbook from his time at Texas A&M. Fellow Dolphins quarterback David Garrard, who will compete with Tannehill and Matt Moore for the starting spot, recently said he’s never been around a veteran that knew the system better than the veterans. Casserly cautions, however, that the Dolphins’ first-round pick will have plenty of other variables to adjust to.
“He knows the offense that well, but he doesn’t know the Dolphins players, and he doesn’t know the defenses they’re playing,” Casserly said. “It will help him, but there’s still an awful lot for him to learn.”
It’s hard to tell when Tannehill will get his opportunity to start. Many expect that the preseason will give a good indication where each quarterback stands, but Casserly said that there might not be enough reps to go around.
“How do you divide practice time? More importantly, I think, how do you divide preseason time?” Casserly said. “I’ve never been in a situation that I was involved with where we could play three quarterbacks at one time in the preseason. It’s hard playing two because sooner than later you’ve got to have one.
“Even though he may know it, getting the reps to get a handle on the defenses and a handle on his own players, that’s where it will slow down for him.”
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