BOURBONNAIS IL - JULY 30: Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears works out during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on July 30 2010 in Bourbonnais Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
I know that a couple weeks ago, a fair portion of you starting seeing the words "The Lockout" and in some kind of auto-pilot way either zipped right over the article or went into a full-on "Let's Get Football!" mode. Earlier this week, though, Matt Bowen over at the NFP took another look at how the lockout impacts the ability for rookies to pick up scheme and NFL technique. But I don't think we can limit the slack-cutting to rookies.
Positions the lockout is going to impact? Pretty much the entire class, outside of maybe the defensive lineman that can get into a rotation on game days and the late-round guys that cover kicks.
But QBs, WRs, O-Lineman [sic], DBs, etc? Positions that you can't just walk into as rookies as [sic] see immediate results. Those jobs take time with an offseason intact to learn the system, practice your footwork and start to develop as a pro.
Far be it from me to disagree with someone who's actually had to prepare for an NFL season.
But if learning the system is a key to playing NFL football - and let's not kid ourselves, a system is key to playing NFL football - there's two other groups of people impacted. Free agents who've had a few years in the NFL under one system and sign with a team that uses a different system may have a head start on their rookie counterparts from their technique and footwork, but they'll be just as behind when it comes to learning the system.
And let's not forget teams that sign new coordinators or head coaches. That's a whole team that has to learn a new scheme, and if a player can't learn it properly from the coordinator who devised it, he won't make nearly as much progress.
If you're asking me for a prediction of offseason movement this year (you're not, but humor me), the big name guys will make their moves, but more likely than not, the key acquisitions will be players that have had some sort of experience under the system in place.
It could be a sloppy first few weeks of football.