A lockout of players by NFL owners is coming. The collective bargaining agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. ET and, as Shaun O'Hara said, the lockout "is going to happen."
Right now, I don't want to discuss all of the legal manueverings and bargaining ploys by both sides as the clock ticks toward the deadline. I want to try and focus on football. So, this morning's topic is how well prepared are the New York Giants to handle a lockout? Meaning, how much might the Giants be impacted by missing OTAs, mini-camps and possibly part, or all, of training camp?
When I think about it, and I have thought about it a lot lately, I believe the Giants are one of the teams best positioned to handle a lockout, and to return to the field -- whenever that happens -- with minimal difficulty.
Why? Stability. Within the organization, the coaching staff and the roster. I have to believe that the probability of a lockout, and its possible impact on all of the off-season and training camp work teams usually do, is a big part of the reason for many of the decisions the Giants have made since the 2010 season ended.
The Giants coaching staff will be intact whenever the 2011 season begins. Would you really want to be in the shoes of the Philadelphia Eagles if there are no OTAs, mini-camps or training camp? With an almost entirely new coaching staff working under Andy Reid and a new defensive system to implement? Or any of those teams around the NFL with new head coaches. How about Dallas, where Jason Garrett has never run a training camp? That can't be good for the Cowboys if, say, training camp is eliminated and there is maybe a two-week window to prepare teams for regular season games.
I have to think a team with a coaching staff that has been together, and that already has its system in place, has an advantage in any scenario where preparation time is limited.
I also think this is a big part of the reason why the Giants recently issued RFA tenders to several free agents, whether those tenders hold up in the new CBA or not, and have now re-signed D.J. Ware and Domenik Hixon. The Giants have a good football team, and roster stabillity can only help if there is a compacted amount of time to get ready to play meaningful games.
No doubt a veteran quarterback like Eli Manning, who knows his offensive system inside and out and has worked with his receiving corps for a while now, would have a huge advantage over a team with a young quarterback and lots of moving parts on offense. Same with the defense where, though there will be tweaks, Perry Fewell has a veteran group that already knows his calls and what he wants.
None of this means I want a lockout. I want football. I want to see the Giants at UAlbany in August, which almost certainly won't happen if there is a lockout. That is one of the highlights of my year, since I get to see the team every day for a few precious weeks.
It just means that I think the Giants should be in a good place whenever the NFL does get back to football.