Reducing padded practices from 28 to 16 just seems like a bad compromise by NFL owners

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Training CampPhoto: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I realize NFL owners had to compromise in order to get a 17th regular season game added to the new CBA, but reducing padded training camp practices from 28 to 16? That just seems like a bad idea.

To paraphrase Meatloaf, I would do just about anything for an extra regular season game, but would I really do that?

Turns out, the owners are willing to do that. What is that, you ask? Reduce padded practices in training camp from 28 to 16.

Wow.

Of all the things that were included in the NFL’s proposed new CBA that is currently up for a vote by the players, a reduction in padded practices is what popped the most for me.

I guess I shouldn’t care about it, but wouldn’t a reduction in hitting cause ineffective tackling when the bullets are live? Besides, haven’t the already reduced padded practices greatly eroded tackling in recent years? Wouldn’t less padded practices limit the development in chemistry between quarterback and receiver, running back and offensive linemen (plural) and offensive lineman and offensive lineman (singular)?

I get it, the owners really want that extra television and in-stadium revenue. The players really don’t want to work more for less (at least not the highly-paid superstars). The word has been out for a long time: Football can be detrimental to a person’s health. The NFL knows this. The players know this. The public knows this. Asking an employee to put his body and brain through even more than he already does? That just seems wrong.

Therefore, what better way to compromise than to ask your employees to put their bodies through less when the cameras aren’t rolling and the sponsors aren’t paying?

But a total of about 24 hours less? That seems like a bit much. Listen, I’m more pro players than I am pro owners, but above all else, I am pro quality.

This new proposal already suggests taking away one preseason game. I understand that, but that’s one less session in-which to evaluate your players to see where they’re at. In my opinion, that wouldn’t matter at all if the amount of padded practices remained roughly the same. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has said more than once that what he and his assistant coaches see from a player in training camp is just as important as what they see in a preseason game.

Now you’re going to ask them to make conclusions based on 16 padded practices instead of 28?

I realize there will still be practices in shells and practices in helmets and shorts during training camp, but how many game-like situations can you simulate under those conditions?

How much time will a youngster now get to prove himself to his coaches? Are coaches going to make future evaluations based on their gut? Is a rookie’s draft pedigree now going to weigh more heavily into deciding if he stays or goes?

For that matter, how crowded will training camp be on days when the practices are padded? Will fans have to fight to find a parking spot or a good vantage point on the hillside?

This proposal of a drastic reduction in hard-hitting training camp sessions might seem like a good idea to the owners. But to me, it feels like they’re selling out the integrity of their game just to gain an extra week of revenue.

Finally, remember the scene in Rocky II when Mickey tells Rocky that a boxer must train hard for 45,000 minutes in-order to prepare for a 45-minute fight? Let’s just hope this drastic reduction in padded training camp practices doesn’t have most NFL players looking like bums at the start of the regular season.

2020 NFL Scouting Combine, Day 3: Schedule, how to watch, streaming information and more

NFL: CombineTrevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NFL combine is moving to prime time for fans to watch all the testing.

For the first time, the NFL Combine will have their various testing events in prime time for the enjoyment of a larger viewing audience. With the new schedule, some may be tuning in to the Combine for the first time and may not be sure what to expect. If you fall into that category or have not been able to find a schedule for the event, BTSC is here to help!

All participants will perform six on-field drills regardless of position. With the exception of special team players, position groups will also have additional drills specific to their designated position. In all, 337 players were invited to the combine to showcase their talents. Some players may chose to skip some or all the drills either due to injury or their desire to perform them at their individual pro day.

Listed below is the schedule for this year’s NFL combine, which position groups are scheduled for each day, and the specific drills for each position.


2020 NFL Combine Schedule

TV: NFL Network
Online: Click HERE to create a Fubo Account and stream the entire combine

Drills for all participants:

40-yard Dash
Bench Press
Vertical Jump
Broad Jump
Three-cone Drill
Shuttle Run


Saturday February 29, 2020

4 PM to 11 PM: On-field workouts for Defensive Linemen and Linebackers

Position specific drills:
— DL: Run and club drill, Run the hoop drill
— LB: Shuffle, sprint, change of direction drill, Short zone breaks drill


Sunday March 1, 2020

2 PM to 7 PM: On-field workouts for Cornerbacks and Safeties

Position specific drills:
— DB: Line drill, Teryl Austin drill, Box drill, Gauntlet drill

Black and Gold Links: James Harrison has been in the news lately after his lashing of the NFLPA

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh SteelersPhilip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how James Harrison, yes, Deebo, is not happy with the NFLPA and the labor negotiations.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The NFL and NFLPA are working hard to reach labor peace for another decade, but James Harrison isn’t happy about it.

Retired Steelers star James Harrison the latest to come out against NFL CBA proposal

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Seeing as how he has been retired for two years, James Harrison doesn’t have a vote or formal say in the latest NFL collective bargaining agreement proposal. But as someone who was outspoken in his dislike for the previous terms between the league and its union, Harrison expressed a strong opinion against the proposed new one.

In a message posted to his verified Twitter account Thursday, the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker took aim at NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and said the league’s offer to the union “shouldn’t have even been on the table!”

“The NFLPA has the WORST leadership under (Smith)!” Harrison wrote while quote-tweeting the NFLPA’s social-media announcement that its board of representatives sent the owners’ offer to full player membership for a vote. “The same person who gave us that terrible deal in 2011 (Steelers voted no) just tried the same thing in 2020! This deal shouldn’t have even been on the table! Do what’s best for the players or go work for the NFL!”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Was the Steelers defense lucky in 2019?

Tim Benz: How the Steelers should address the dirty little secret about their defense

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The word “luck” wasn’t often used in connection to the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Especially relating to injuries.

• The team lost the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart.

• The starting running back sat out six games and parts of four others.

• The starting tight end missed two games and big chunks of two more.

• The perceived top wide receiver was sidelined for four games. The newly acquired free-agent receiver tried to play through a busted finger then got infected with a case of the “drop-rona virus.”

• The starting left guard had his lowest snap count since 2012. The starting center was suspended for two games because he intervened when an opponent committed assault on the field, and he missed much of the last two games because of injury.

Aside from that, the Steelers offense was just chock full of good fortune last season.

So while the offense dragged itself to mediocre on its best days, the unit on the other side of the ball thrived.

It drew wide praise from a fanbase and media contingent excited to watch a ball-hawking, sack-producing, big-play-making defense in Pittsburgh once more.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Kevin Colbert sees the bright side of the Scouting Combine and changes made to it.

Steelers G.M. looking for bright side to Scouting Combine changes

By: Darin Gantt, ProFootballTalk

People on the football side of the football business aren’t known for embracing change happily.

But they also know that the business side of the football business has created a new dynamic for this year’s Scouting Combine, so they know there’s only so much they can do.

Via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert tried to make the best of the switch to on-field drills switching to late afternoon and nighttime slots, when they used to begin around 9 a.m. The NFL made the change this year to create more television inventory, giving that precedence over the scouting function.

Everything that is happening is new for all of us,” Colbert said. “Everyone has to adjust. It’s a bigger event. As you can see, it is growing at an unusual pace. We understand that, and we acknowledge that. But we also acknowledge that football is the most important thing we have to get done here. There’s a ton of medical business, football business, character business that we have to tend to while (the Combine) grows.

“We understand that it can grow, but we understand that there will be changes that we have to be able to work through and make it the best Combine we can be.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Social Media Madness

Kawhi: 'Sky's the limit' for healthy, inspired Clips

3:44 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — Doc Rivers wasn’t able to run the LA Clippers‘ morning shootaround, so he asked one of his players a few hours before Friday’s game how the team looked.

“One of our key guys [said] don’t worry about it, we’re locked in today,” Rivers said. “So I didn’t know if I believed it, to be honest, because you have to see it.”

It took only five minutes for the Clippers to show their coach how focused they were and to give the Denver Nuggets a terrifying glimpse of their championship potential when at full strength.

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Racing out to a 17-4 lead and never looking back, the Clippers played what Rivers called their most complete game. They steamrolled the Nuggets 132-103 in a matchup between the two teams vying for the second-best record in the Western Conference.

“I would

Malone rips Nuggets as 'soft' after blowout loss

3:00 AM ET

LOS ANGELES — After suffering their worst loss of the season Friday, a brutal 132-103 beatdown by the LA Clippers at Staples Center, the Denver Nuggets were left reeling.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone called the team “soft.” And Nuggets guard Monte Morris said that if the team wanted to take the next step toward being a title contender, “we can throw it out the window if we ain’t going to show up in [these] games.”

While the game marked one of the Clippers’ most impressive performances of the season, it was also an eyebrow-raising defeat for the Nuggets, who entered as the No. 2 team in the Western Conference standings — one spot ahead of the Clippers.

“We were soft tonight from beginning to end,” Malone said. “They didn’t feel us on either end. They got whatever they wanted. We couldn’t run offense because they took

Philadelphia visits Los Angeles, looks to break road skid

Philadelphia 76ers (37-23, fifth in the Eastern Conference) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (40-19, third in the Western Conference)

Los Angeles; Sunday, 3 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Philadelphia will aim to end its seven-game road losing streak when the 76ers face Los Angeles.

The Clippers are 24-6 in home games. Los Angeles is 19-4 when it wins the turnover battle and averages 15 turnovers per game.

The 76ers are 9-21 on the road. Philadelphia is 20-8 when it has fewer turnovers than its opponents and averages 14.3 turnovers per game.

The teams meet for the second time this season. The 76ers won 110-103 in the last matchup on Feb. 11. Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 26 points, and Kawhi Leonard led Los Angeles with 30 points.

TOP PERFORMERS: Leonard leads the Clippers scoring 27 points per game and averaging 7.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Montrezl Harrell is shooting 65.8 percent and

Brooklyn faces Miami, looks to end 3-game skid

Brooklyn Nets (26-32, eighth in the Eastern Conference) vs. Miami Heat (37-22, fourth in the Eastern Conference)

Miami; Saturday, 7 p.m. EST

LINE: Heat -7; over/under is 223.5

BOTTOM LINE: Brooklyn is looking to stop its three-game skid with a win over Miami.

The Heat have gone 24-9 against Eastern Conference teams. Miami has a 36-16 record when scoring at least 100 points.

The Nets are 18-20 against Eastern Conference opponents. Brooklyn is second in the Eastern Conference with 37.6 defensive rebounds per game led by DeAndre Jordan averaging 7.4.

The teams meet for the third time this season. The Nets won 117-113 in the last matchup on Jan. 10. Spencer Dinwiddie led Brooklyn with 26 points, and Jimmy Butler led Miami with 33 points.

TOP PERFORMERS: Butler has averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Heat. Bam Adebayo has averaged 10.8 rebounds and added 18.4 points per game

Portland faces Atlanta on 5-game road skid

Portland Trail Blazers (26-34, 10th in the Western Conference) vs. Atlanta Hawks (18-43, 13th in the Eastern Conference)

Atlanta; Saturday, 7 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Portland visits Atlanta looking to stop its five-game road losing streak.

The Hawks are 12-18 in home games. Atlanta averages 16.2 turnovers per game and is 5-16 when it has fewer turnovers than its opponents.

The Trail Blazers have gone 10-21 away from home. Portland is 6-3 in one-possession games.

The Trail Blazers won the last matchup between these two teams 124-113 on Nov. 10. Damian Lillard scored 30 points to help lead Portland to the win.

TOP PERFORMERS: Trae Young leads the Hawks with 9.3 assists and scores 29.9 points per game. John Collins is shooting 63.5 percent and averaging 26.1 points over the last 10 games for Atlanta.

CJ McCollum ranks second on the Trail Blazers averaging 22 points and grabbing 4.0 rebounds.

Valanciunas leads Memphis against Los Angeles following 25-rebound game

Los Angeles Lakers (45-12, first in the Western Conference) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (28-31, eighth in the Western Conference)

Memphis; Saturday, 8 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Jonas Valanciunas leads Memphis into a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers after a 25-rebound game in the Grizzlies’ 104-101 loss to the Kings.

The Grizzlies are 18-21 in conference matchups. Memphis leads the Western Conference with 57 points in the paint led by Ja Morant averaging 10.8.

The Lakers are 31-6 against Western Conference opponents. Los Angeles is 23-6 in games decided by at least 10 points.

The teams meet for the fourth time this season. The Lakers won 117-105 in the last matchup on Feb. 21. LeBron James led Los Angeles with 32 points, and Josh Jackson led Memphis with 20 points.

TOP PERFORMERS: Dillon Brooks is second on the Grizzlies with 2.0 made 3-pointers and averages 15.6 points while shooting 37.5 percent

Sacramento faces Detroit, seeks 5th straight home win

Detroit Pistons (20-41, 12th in the Eastern Conference) vs. Sacramento Kings (25-34, 11th in the Western Conference)

Sacramento; Sunday, 6 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Sacramento hosts Detroit aiming to extend its four-game home winning streak.

The Kings are 12-15 on their home court. Sacramento is 6-16 in games when losing the turnover battle and averages 14.4 turnovers.

The Pistons are 9-21 on the road. Detroit is 7-23 when opponents win the rebound battle and averages 42.1 rebounds per game.

The teams meet for the second time this season. The Pistons won 127-106 in the last matchup on Jan. 22. Christian Wood led Detroit with 23 points, and De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 22 points.

TOP PERFORMERS: Buddy Hield leads the Kings averaging 3.8 made 3-pointers and scoring 19.9 points per game while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc. Harry Giles III is shooting 62.0 percent and averaging 10.8 points