The Most Overlooked Storyline of Training Camp

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think these are my early training camp thoughts:

a. And so you say, regarding all the training camp injuries: Why are teams so willing to risk injuries to vital players by practicing full-speed so often during the summer? I say: It’s the game. Would you want Miguel Cabrera opening the regular season in baseball having faced nothing but soft-toss in spring training?
b. “It’s back to normal,” Saints GM Mickey Loomis said as camp began. Observers said that’s exactly how it appeared late in the week at the Saints’ training complex, after the mayhem of 2012.
c. Keenan Lewis got off to a good start in his first practice as a Saints cornerback. He picked off Drew Brees in team drills.
d. Sedrick Ellis retires. There’s one of the most nonimpactful seventh overall picks ever.
e. Tim Tebow caught three passes in the first practice of Patriots training camp. I see him being in the mold of a utility player if he makes the team, active some weeks and inactive others, not playing one set position.
f. He won’t get the Mariano Rivera retirement treatment on his last swing around the league in 2013, but long-time Broncos PR czar Jim Saccamano, one of the great PR professionals I’ve ever encountered, deserves it as he works his last full-time season.
g. Great to see Brian Banks, the former wrongly incarcerated high-schooler from California, begin his camp journey in Atlanta. He went down to his knees to thank God for the chance just before his first practice on Friday.
h. Shouldn’t take Kyle Long long to win the starting right guard job in Chicago.
i. Eight Washington players suspended for drug violations over the past three years, according to the Washington Post. Not good. Sounds like it’s time for GM Bruce Allen to chat with his scouts about character.
j. The more Greg Jennings says about his former team, the more you realize it was time for him to leave Green Bay.
k. Jason Pierre-Paul (offseason back surgery) opened camp on the physically unable to perform list. If a player stays on that list after camp, he has to miss at least the first six weeks of the season. The Giants think he’ll be ready to play opening day.

2. I think it’s foreign to most of us that a player can significantly improve his speed, but Colin Kaepernick thinks he’s done just that this offseason. He trained in Atlanta with some speed technicians, including long-jumper Dwight Phillips. “I trained with a few Olympic runners and jumpers,” Kaepernick told me. “Just to try to get a little bit faster, a little bit better. Anything I could do to try to get a little bit better and stay ahead of the competition. I think the biggest thing was the form of running and how to be more efficient when I run. I feel like that has helped me to this point, and it’s something I’m trying to improve on more and more, but I think those few weeks with them were very valuable.” He said he improved his stride and “the way I contact the ground. There are a lot of details to running that I never even thought about. I just went out and ran. I think I can be faster. I think I can be quicker.” Not sure if we’ll notice, but talking to Kaepernick, and seeing how excited he was about his running training, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a tick faster in 2013.

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3. I think it’s amazing to me Matthew Stafford’s just 25. Born the same year as Russell Wilson (1988), Stafford will finish his fifth season in the NFL before turning 26 next February.

4. I think the star turn of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman may be just beginning. Not just because of his appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week (if you haven’t, read the first of a series of guest columns he’s writing for The MMQB). But walking through the terminal at Denver International Airport late Thursday, I saw a young boy with a “YOU MAD BRO?” t-shirt.

5. I think one of my favorite things about the first week of The MMQB came after our intrepid Jenny Vrentas wrote a revealing profile of the Eagles’ version of a CIA operative, sports science coach Shaun Huls. Now, Vrentas asked to interview Huls, and the Eagles turned her down. The MMQB sent a photographer to Eagles minicamp practice one day in June, and Huls uncharacteristically and conveniently was absent that day. So Vrentas wrote her story, and a day later received a nice thank you email from Huls. At the bottom of the email, sent from an Eagles address, was the same kind of thing you see at the bottom of many emails but which seemed particularly appropriate given the circumstances: “CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE.”

6. I think, speaking of the Eagles, give Chip Kelly credit for having an open mind, which I believe he does when it comes to his quarterback competition. “I think we’ve got to figure out who our quarterback is before we understand the direction of where our offense is going,’’ Kelly said after running his first NFL training camp practice Friday. “Tell me who’s going to stand in the pocket against a full rush. I haven’t seen them do that.”

7. I think we’re going to enjoy Marc Trestman’s use of the English language. Every team has a conditioning test at the start of training camp, to see if the players have reported in the kind of shape the job demands. The Bears, under Trestman, now call the conditioning test “an accountability exercise.”

8. I think I’m going to start calling the drinking of water “hydration ingestion.”

9. I think I love the fact that Bears GM Phil Emery closed the window on all contract discussions as training camp began. This includes Jay Cutler, scheduled to play the final year of his current deal at $8.47 million. To those who say you’ve got to lock up the guy at the most important position, I’d agree most of the time—and there’s a good chance the Bears will do it after the season, at perhaps a higher cost than it would be today. But when you’ve got a new head coach, it makes no sense to sign the quarterback to a franchise-altering contract when you really don’t know if the coach is going to want him to be his guy long-term. You think it’s likely, but you really don’t know. So the question is: Would you want to lock up Cutler at $19 million a year (or some such figure below $20 million) for six years, or would you like to have the season to judge whether to make him the quarterback for a long time, and then maybe have to pay a bit more of a ransom and commit to him for, say, $21 million a year? Give me the option any day, with as much uncertainty as the Bears have right now.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. It’d be hard to get used to having medium-to-loud music of all sorts playing at every camp and in-season practice, the way Seattle coach Pete Carroll does. His theory: It’s going to be noisy every week in the NFL, at every stadium, during every game. So let’s get used to dealing with noise at all times. Carroll’s an eclectic music guy. I thought a polka might break out at some point Friday.
b. It’s so much fun, and so energizing, to be part of The MMQB, with so many good people.
c. Story of the week from the outside world: This vivid and slightly disturbing piece by Ed Caesar of the New York Times magazine on the dangerous “sport” of base jumping. With the feeling of what jumping from thousands of feet wearing wing-like costumes is like described by a retired (lucky for him) base jumper, Ed McDonnell: “If you’re all tuned in, there’s ‘Yes.’ On the mediocre days, there are two other voices. One’s ‘Fear.’ Your body is screaming out at you, ‘Don’t do this,’ because it’s dangerous, unnatural. You’re there to conquer your fear. But there’s another voice that hangs around every now and again, and that’s called ‘No.’ Something’s not right. You can never put your finger on it—it could be something in your pack job, or the weather, or the people you’re jumping with, or your mindset. It’s just, ‘Walk away, don’t go jumping today.’ The difficulty is trying to discern between ‘Fear’ and ‘No,’ because they’re both telling you the same thing. ‘No’ is your sixth sense that’s trying to save your life.” Recommended if you’ve got 15 minutes to read something very good about something very unusual.
d. No one in baseball deserves big money more than Dustin Pedroia. That comes from someone who watches him 40 times a year and who is never disappointed.
e. Told you the Rays would be great. Man, they can pitch.
f. Poor, poor A-Rod.
g. Joe and Maddie Mauer had twin girls Wednesday. Good luck to all. And may I say …
h. Well played, Mauer.
i. Coffeenerdness: Two tries at a vital 6:10 a.m. Macchiato at two different Starbucks at the Seattle airport. Two fails. That’s my biggest Starbucks problem: the inconsistency of the espresso shots. Sometimes rich and perfect, sometimes bitter or watery.
j. Beernerdness: I’d been familiar with only one New Belgium Brewery beer—Fat Tire—before seeing the Rockies at Coors Field the other night. Now I have two I like. Ranger IPA is among the best IPAs I’ve had, flavorful and with the slight bitterness that characterizes all good IPAs.
k. I don’t say this because we had the pleasure of Olivia Munn on The MMQB Wednesday. I say it because it’s true: Last week’s episode of The Newsroom was the best in the short history of the show.

The Adieu Haiku

Pitta, Maclin. Shame.
Brutal July injuries.
War of attrition.

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227 comments
AnnabelLee
AnnabelLee

"In Baltimore’s improbable Super Bowl run last winter, ...".  What was so improbable?  They were SB contenders from the beginning.  As a matter of fact, they are SB contenders every year for most of the last decade.  Sure, they lost a couple of games late in the season.  Bet you would never use "improbable" when referring to your beloved Pats.  And SF is SB favorite this year?  Have you seen them play?  From the looks of their 2 losses so far this year the niners getting into the playoffs is improbable.  Slurp slurp.

Richard Long
Richard Long

Uggg, Ranger IPA?  Oh man, there are so many other good IPAs.  Spend a week in Bend Oregon and you will come to realize what good IPAs are about. 

Richard Long
Richard Long

While I don't usually buy into the non-football stuff, King is so right about airline gates.  I would bet the guy with all of the bags trying to cut in is traveling for his work, which means they will reimburse him for any costs of checking.  He just didn't want the extra hassle of going to get his bag.  Instead, he would prefer to inconvenience other people who bring on one bag for the overhead.  

DWJ08
DWJ08

This site is great. I don't go on the regular SI site anymore, and forget about ESPN. This site has all I need a little bit more. 

ChrisDudding
ChrisDudding

Love the new site.  As one of the stated goals is to allow us to consume sport information in whatever method we choose, can we please bring back the "print" function?  I don't mind if there are ads on each page, but right now printing the new site is a mess...

While we're at it, is there a way to subscribe via Kindle?

mtoews
mtoews

Read the article as always, agreed with some of what you said but not all, as always.  One point keeps getting stuck in my head and I cant get it out.  What does a kid wearing a "You Mad Bro" shirt have to do with Richard Sherman.  Just because Sherman has said a meme doesn't make it something that he owns.

"" 4. I think the star turn of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman may be just beginning. Not just because of his appearance onthe cover ofSports Illustrated this week (if you haven’t, read the first of a series of guest columns he’s writing for The MMQB). But walking through the terminal at Denver International Airport late Thursday, I saw a young boy with a “YOU MAD BRO?” t-shirt.""

tj90036
tj90036

thanks for adding a PRINT BUTTON!!!!

jimbor2223
jimbor2223

More garbage from Peter King. When will he show some "sack" and call people out.  Everything is roses in his article so he won't piss anyone off in the NFL. Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrinnnnng!

GeorgeJ.Day
GeorgeJ.Day

"Tim Tebow caught three passes in the first practice of Patriots training camp. I see him being in the mold of a utility player if he makes the team, active some weeks and inactive others, not playing one set position."

I would like to see Tebow molded into a player like the old Dolphins backup QB, Jim Jensen.  I can hardly remember a game in which Jensen played QB, but he seemed to do a little bit of everything else.  Jensen is one of my all time favorite Miami players because of his willingness and ability to play wherever the coaches needed him.

andrewm47
andrewm47

Hey, normally love your writing, from a writer's point of view, but...

"There’s one of the most nonimpactful seventh overall picks ever."

Really? Even though I am finally ready to admit that "impact" can be used as a verb, and that "impactful" (ugh) is now a word in English, that is unnecessarily ugly. Why not

"There's one of the lowest impact seventh-overall picks ever." 

gary41
gary41

On Harvin:  Labral tears of the hip, based on player's information and MR imaging, which was presumably obtained, either by Harvin or the Seahawks, vary in severity like virtually all injuries.  MR arthrography & arthroscopy are needed to really evaluate how bad the tear is.  Unfortunately if the tear is very bad, open surgery may be needed to effectively suture the pieces back together.  There is a lot of nonsense in the media about how one players cortisone shot was just fine in treatment of one hip problem, so this might be fine for others, often with inadequate imaging and evaluation.  There is also a feeling, based on ignorance among coaches, that players with grit can play through injuries.  It just doesn't work that way.  Playing through injuries results in more damage, which shortens useful athletic lives.  Both Harvin & the Seahawks want to do the right thing.     

RantsNRavens
RantsNRavens

The Dennis Pitta injury is going to present challenges for my Ravens, I'm not denying that at all.  But I will be so happy when the coming season is over and I can come back and tell everyone like King who keeps going on and on about what a bad deal getting rid of Boldin was how once again Ozzie was right to do it.  Young guys on the Ravens are going to step up, and Bolding isn't getting any younger/faster.  I'll always be grateful for how clutch he was in in their second Super Bowl run/win, but nobody was singing his praises during the regular season much, if at all, and the guy is clearly on the downside of a great career.  Good luck to him but not the Whiners; they are reflection of their head coach now, for better or worse.

Loren1
Loren1

So....regarding Anquan Bolden to SF. Is it too obvious to ask, this is one brother feeling a little guilt, and brotherly support to the other...and trying to help him get a SB trophy? No matter how you pitch it as a pragmatic move for Baltimore, there is no way that I can see it advantageous to give up a high impact receiver still with many good years of productivity, for such a low round pick. This is so remarkably skewed toward 49ers favor, that its almost irresponsible of Baltimore.

JPSmall
JPSmall

NO ONE better be actually comparing Jerry Rice and Wes Welker. His avg ypc is more than 6 yards less over his career; that's a lot of dump off stuff. Not to mention, he dropped a ball that probably would have won them a SB, even if it was a bad throw (still hit his hands). 

JPHolwell
JPHolwell

Most overlooked part of the first tweet of the week: a man with the name "O'Brien Schofield." That name makes no sense... O'Brien is a surname, a family name. It literally means: descendant of Brien. 

Sheesh... Names in this country keep getting weirder and weirder.

Maybe more concussions will help... And now back to football.

101philosopha101
101philosopha101

What do you mean no one's talking about? Everyone's talking about Anquan Boldin's huge gain for the 49ers and equally huge loss to the Ravens.  King, you need to retire, man...your writing is more than predictable, you are starting to lie in order to get some coverage.  I'm done reading your stuff.

Mike26
Mike26

So Percy Harvin is hurt (again) and disagreeing with management (again) over the severity/treatment of his injury?  Wow, I'm completely shocked by this turn of events.  Who didn't see this coming?

JKY220
JKY220

Jim Saccamano? Wasn't that Kramer's friend?

shawn p
shawn p

The most overlooked story in training camp continues to be PED use in the NFL. Where is the outrage, or is that reserved for baseball only?

avikingfan44
avikingfan44

For all those bemoaning lack of "Print" feature, I'm assuming it's not an oversight but a choice.  They've got sponsors ponying up big time to support the site and print feature that cuts ads defeats the purpose.  They may lose in the end because this ship sailed long ago, but I suspect it is all calculated.

Theo
Theo

I hope Alex Smith leads the NFL in completions over 20 yards and KC bans this fat, smarmy, beer drinking, non-running, fat bastard from their facility. What a complete turd of a human being. You give SI a bad name Mr. King. Your trite remarks and disgusting political forays make me sick. Your annoying view that we all want to hear how you think things should be astonishes me. Please hire new writers for your stolen from Grantland idea so we don't have to read the same damn article week after week. How did SI give you a new deal? What an awful decision. 

Starstruck
Starstruck

@mtoews I also hope that MMQB doesn't turn into yourfootballnerdness in desperation for article material. Personally, I think Sherman is an example of what is wrong with the NFL today: an emphasis upon the 'I' than cannot be found in 'TEAM'. Apparently there are no leaders in the Seattle lockerroom to reign in a Sound-Bite Seeking Mouth.

jb98311
jb98311

@tj90036 Ditto. That wasn't so hard now, was it? I will now return to reading MMQB. Thank you.

duckfan59
duckfan59

@jimbor2223 Then why bother reading it? I don't understand people who come on here just to say "what a lousy writer; I don't like his column." If you don't like him, don't read him and don't come on here commenting about it so we all have to hear your whining. Don't like Peter King's columns? Simple solution: Don't click on them with that little mousy thing.

Mike26
Mike26

@GeorgeJ.Day That's a good analogy, except that Jensen was all set to be the starting QB and then Miami drafted that weird-looking curly-haired guy and they simply gave him the job for the next 16 years for no reason.....LOL!

It would be a good thing for Tebow but he doesn't sound like he's interested in it.

Folsom49er
Folsom49er

@gary41 Good points Gary,

The Seahawks paid ALOT to get Harvin & if in fact he needs surgery then they have to look at the Big Picture which is beyond this season.

RantsNRavens
RantsNRavens

@Loren1 Let me know at the end of the season if you still feel this way, and if you truly believe Q was worth $6 million.

Saqalicious
Saqalicious

@JPSmall Agreed (for the most part - I still think the throw by Brady was more to blame than Welker dropping the ball). 

In addition to YPC, Rice also destroys Welker in TD's scored. Rice caught quite a few dump offs, but he turned those into long gains, not just 9 yard receptions.

Loren1
Loren1

@101philosopha101 

you're way too harsh...and pointless to be so critical. He means that SI hasn't covered it much, and it is an obviously head scratching trade. But since you're not reading this anymore...I guess you won't see this, right? heh heh. I bet you're still checking?

mystafugee
mystafugee

@101philosopha101 all NFL writing nowadays is predictable.  Ever since the NFL strong-armed ESPN into cancelling Playmakers, all these writers have been towing the company line.  Peter King practically sounded like the owner's PR person during the lockout.  

Mike26
Mike26

@shawn p Maybe because the NFL has been testing forever and baseball has "gotten tough" on PED's starting about 3 months ago.

duckfan59
duckfan59

@Theo Lighten up, Francis.
What, you're butthurt because he pointed out the obvious that Kaepernick is better QB than Smith? He didn't diss KC, just said SF made the right decision....which they did.

Phroggo
Phroggo

@Theo 

The orderlies are on their way, Theo, it's time for your sponge bath.

Loren1
Loren1

@Theo 

I think the rest of us have some conclusions about you, based on your rant. To call people names, because you don't like what a person writes? Dude, you obviously have problems and need anonymity to vent a problem life you live. Digusting political forays? Dude, a light hearted quip occasionally is nice way to remind that we can still laugh sometimes at serious stuff. Well, you yourself admitted it....you're sick indeed.  

Mike26
Mike26

@Theo Why are you here?  It's clear you have no superiority over Mr. King, yet harbor save savagely personal feelings towards his writing = writing that you are in no way required to read.  In the words of the great JoeCabot:  There is something wrong with people like you.

tj90036
tj90036

@jb98311 @tj90036 THEY TOOK IT AWAY!!!!   BRING ME A PRINT BUTTON!!!  BRING ME A PRINT BUTTON!!!!

posmoo
posmoo

@duckfan59 @jimbor2223

I love reading PK  BECAUSE he is the worst sports writer in existence. I enjoy collecting his stunted, incomplete, awkward phrases.

Here's are an example from this weeks episode of clunky cliched drivel:


"But walking through the terminal at Denver International Airport late Thursday, I saw a young boy with a “YOU MAD BRO?” t-shirt."


That's it. That's the complete sentence. it's like he has never taken a writing class in his life. Here's another one:

"Give me the option any day, with as much uncertainty as the Bears have right now." 

could you make this any more awkward if you even wanted to?


mystafugee
mystafugee

@Mike26 @shawn p The NFL tests are a joke, unless you do blood tests, it's too easy to get past.  To this day I'm still genuinely shocked when an NFL player flunks a test.  

Theo
Theo

@Phroggo @Theo @Loren1@Mike26Ah personal attacks instead of examples  . . . the refuge of the stupid liberal/Dem. You and the others above try and call me out but each of you just attack. Not very well either, I might add. Calling me sick? What a bunch of lemmings. Peter King is an obnoxious jerk and this format allows me to post my opinion. You fools attack because it does't agree with yours? I will feel nothing for your empty, meaningless ends. Each one of you and whatever loser brood you claim is a pox on society. Please stop voting. I'm sick? Good one idiots. 

Theo
Theo

@Loren1 @Theo Light hearted quip? Are you delirious? You are the sick one hiding behind anonymity you annoying worm. Please don't vote again you are contributing to the destruction of our country. What a foolish person you are. Peter King is a piece of human waste and should be dropped deep in a hole with you and the rest of your voting ilk. Sick? Imagine if I could be honest . . .

Theo
Theo

@Mike26 @Theo I'm here to call out sheep and make my feeling known. . .why are you here? Go about your business maggot and don't bother me.

DWJ08
DWJ08

@tj90036 @jb98311 Does Ctrl+p not work? It shows pages and pages of MMQB when I press that combo. 

Mike26
Mike26

@Phroggo @Theo Phroggo, in his defense, he's doing pretty well for a 7th grade-level writer....

Theo
Theo

@Mike26 @Theo @Phroggo @Loren1 What you did there? I don't see it . . . what a slurping fool you are. Keep coming and I'll continue to obliterate your foolish life.

Mike26
Mike26

@Theo @Phroggo @Loren1 @Mike26 What you clearly don't understand about football and professional writing is virtually all there is to know about them.

Phroggo
Phroggo

@Theo

I doubt that's a photo of you, Theo, because I find it hard to believe you played with a helmet on.

Mike26
Mike26

@Theo @Saqalicious @Loren1 I guess if you take pride in that type of "speech", go for it.  Most middle-schoolers are right there with you!

Theo
Theo

@Saqalicious @Theo @Loren1 Nope, it makes me a person who exercises his right to free speech. You two aren't too bright huh? 

Saqalicious
Saqalicious

@Theo @Loren1 "Peter King is a piece of human waste ..." yet Theo continues to read and comment on his articles.

Wonder what that makes Theo? A human waste fanboy?

Theo
Theo

@Mike26 @Theo Yet your original post tells me I have something wrong with me for expressing an opinion that differs from yours. Like I said before, your political party is known for attacking when you have no facts so I expect nothing less from you. No name calling kid but probably a better understanding of who you are through your passive aggressive trash than you do over umpteen beers after  day landscraping. Carry on . . . 

Theo
Theo

@Mike26 @Theo Do you mean a cogent point? Wow kid, you have to stop embarrassing yourself over P. King. Go suck someone else's nuts . . . 

Mike26
Mike26

@Theo @Mike26 You ARE 13!  I knew it!  

I'll leave you alone when you make your first salient point in a football post.  I won't hold my breath waiting...

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