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OTAs bits and boredom: Bennett, McCarthy and the league

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OTAs bits and boredom: Bennett, McCarthy and the league

With OTAs underway and the NFL spring league meeting in the books, we’ve finally reached the point of the offseason where the focus shifts from speculation to actual on-field action. Both the Packers and the league have provided some fun talking points so far this week.

These are my thoughts on some of the early-offseason developments.

Martellus Bennett’s media availability is appointment viewing.

I hold myself fully accountable for not paying close enough attention to Martellus Bennett until he arrived in Green Bay. Since becoming a Packer, the tenth-year tight end has lived up to his reputation as equal parts Renaissance man and loose cannon. During his media availability following Tuesday’s OTA practice, Bennett did not disappoint.

“I feel like I may not be a team captain, but I am the captain of fun,” Bennett quipped when asked what type of energy he brings to the locker room. The comment generated giggles among the gathered reporters, and stands as a perfect example of why he will be the most quotable man on the team in 2017, at least until Aaron Rodgers unveils his now nearly annual catchphrase.

More highlights from Bennett’s Tuesday comments include:

When told that Rodgers admires the confidence Bennett brings to the locker room: “Aaron said that about me? That’s nice!”

On conversing with and getting to know new teammates: “You want to water other people’s gardens, you don’t just want to be tending to your own garden all the time. So that’s when I feel most fulfilled as a person.”

When (jokingly) questioned on his driving speed, after he stated his drive from Chicago to Green Bay takes him two and a half hours: “I meant three hours.”

Bennett donned wide grin as he drew another large laugh from the assembled media, who had better get used to that for the foreseeable future.

Mike McCarthy is all about assimilation efficiency at this point in the offseason, and that is a very good thing.

When it comes to getting a new collection of players ready to go every year, the head coach wants to start fast, by means of starting slow.

“I think it’s important to get the needle moving,” McCarthy said after the first OTA workout on Monday, referring to the beginning of the offseason program. “[The point is] making sure we get everything taught the right way. You get things slowed down and make sure it’s corrected so we can build off it.”

Another thing McCarthy emphasized is the importance of the work at this point of the year.

Speaking of the transition between each phase of the offseason program, McCarthy said, “That part of the process has to be maximized each and every year.” He continued, “There’s a workload you can hit, and it's regulated, and that’s important. But to maximize the workload regulation over these four weeks is my goal.”

It may seem like a no-brainer answer from an NFL head coach, but it paints a picture of how teams approach this segment of the offseason from a teaching standpoint.

The NFL’s rule changes for 2017 are mostly good, but a little bit bad.

At the spring league meeting on Tuesday, the owners approved six new measures for the upcoming season, most notably a softer policy on celebrations and the shortening of regular season overtime from 15 minutes to 10.

The league’s stance on celebrations had grown noticeably more strict in recent years, and they finally acquiesced to – gasp! – what their fans wanted. Whether or not this goes a long way in dismantling the No Fun League movement remains to be seen, but at least players don’t have to worry about costing their team 15 yards or being fined for celebrating an accomplishment at their place of work, and that is win for all of us. Unfortunately for Antonio Brown, however, the two-pump rule is still in effect.

When it comes to shortening overtime, I just don’t really see the point. The main argument for the change centered on player safety, pointing out the stress put on players’ bodies when trying to prepare for the next week’s game after participating in an overtime contest. And while no one is arguing that an extra 15 minutes of playing an inherently violent sport isn’t taxing on the body, I mean, come on. Really? Five less minutes cannot possibly make the difference you’re looking for here. You know what would make a tangible difference? The three extra days of rest enjoyed by two teams per week by eliminating Thursday Night Football.

Other changes approved by the owners include:

Eliminating the first cut deadline during training camp, meaning teams can now keep 90 players on their rosters until two days after the final preseason game. This will make for some chaos, but bubble players will get one last chance to impress their teams.

Teams are now able to bring back two players from injured reserve. No more either/or decisions for teams with more than one injured playmaker.

Teams don’t have to guarantee final say on roster decisions in GM job descriptions.

Super Bowl LV is moving from Los Angeles to Tampa, and L.A. will host the next year.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Spock's picture

I've never cared for "scripted" TD celebrations, but don't feel that spontaneous joy should be penalized (that's how the Lambeau leap started, so it's an exception to my take on "scripted" celebration, LOL), so I like the loosened celebration rules from that perspective. Agree with the author about the 15 minute overtime and Thursday night football (which is not going away $$$$). Like the ability to bring two back from IR and elimination of first cut deadline (gives the players on the bubble a chance to do enough and gives the coaches some extra evaluation.) All in all, like the changes.

dobber's picture

Here's hoping Martellus Bennett stays happy...

Spock's picture

so, far, so good! I liked that Bennett gave his "tongue in cheek" comment about himself helping to loosen the TD celebration rules, then said he's not into the "pointing to my back of my jersey" type thing. Maybe he can talk to Davante Adams about that? :) I like the celebration stuff, hate the taunting stuff some players do. Prefer when it's a team/team mate celebration. Bennett is an interesting dude. So far, I suspect he may be more happy than not (fingers and toes crossed).

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

Wow, the 2 IR rule as well as the 90 man roster during all of PS give the Packers some options to reduce star injury and an opportunity to bring back more firepower for a late season run. Pretty happy with both those changes.

The shorter RS OT also favors the Packers, I believe. A quick scoring offense paired with a run stopping defense bodes well for controlling the shorter clock.

TD celebration rule rework sounds good to me, as long as Randy MOSSesque- Pantomime mooning is an automatic 15yds!

worztik's picture

Let's just keep him busy, 'cause as we all know, busy TEs are happy TEs... just sayin'... ;-)

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"Teams are now able to bring back two players from injured reserve. No more either/or decisions for teams with more than one injured playmaker."

Sounds like a win for player safety. Sounds like a win for teams who pay these guys. Sounds like a win for fans who want to see the best players on the field.

snowdog's picture

I was at the game of Mosses "Moon shot" . As the story goes , it was in response to the Packer fans mooning the
Vikings players bus before the game .
The Wisconsin band was playing on the field, when a trombone player stood right in front of then head coach Mike Tice on the sideline and played with the slide inches from his nose ! lmao

Tundraboy's picture


PatrickGB's picture

I would like an special IR designation for concussions. And would like to make concussion IR 4 weeks. Or at least find a way that it does not count on the player limit. I want to make sure these players get a serious chance to recover. My guess is that would ease the pressure to get the player back on the field or unduly hamstring teams who have multiple players concussed.
IF the NFL is really serious about concussions that is...

Tundraboy's picture

Makes sense.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Eliminating the 75 man cut down: "bubble players will get one last chance to impress their teams." I doubt that #76 to #90 are on the bubble.

It will make the 4th preseason game nearly pointless to watch. OTOH, it should reduce injuries to starters and rotational type players, since we won't see too many of them in the 4th game.

Ferrari Driver's picture

I always enjoyed Barry Sanders who was an immense talent who merely tossed the ball to the referee after scoring and drawing no attention to himself other than being a class act.

Handsback's picture

I guess I'm too old school, I never saw a problem with sudden death OT. If the other team has the ball, you play defense and stop them. If you don't they win.
The 2 guys off IR should help the Packers with all of their injuries every single year.
I could care less about TD celebrations. If I'm an Oline guy and fall on the ball in the end zone and win the game....that would be cause for celebration. Or remember the NE game against the Packers when the Oline guy from the Pats took the short kickoff and almost ran it back for a TD? (Another reminder of the Packers outstanding ST performance) If that had been me running the kickoff back, that would be cause for celebration, TD or no TD. So if its special, yeah enjoy the moment. Don't try to legalize it one way or the other.

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