First of all let me say that the idea that Lovie Smith is a soft coach is merely a perception bandied about by the media. I don't really want to debate this. But Lovie Smith has been accused of being a "players coach" and some have called his training camps "too easy". Having attended camp every year since long, long before the Bears had even heard of a Lovie Smith (Back when they were the Smiths and we were the Grabowskis) I can say that Lovie definitely doesn't push players as hard as some of his predecessors.
Two a day's are a rarity under Smith and veteran players seem to get time off for any variety of a tweak or twinge. But now it seems as though every training camp may begin to follow the Camp Lovie model. Could this provide the Bears with an edge over teams whose coaches thrive on the two a days, nose to the grindstone coaching model? Let's talk it over.
First of all, according to NFL.com, here are some of the new proposed changes...
In the preseason, veterans can report no earlier than 15 days before their team's first game. A first day is limited to physicals and meetings, and no pads or contact are allowed in the second and third day of camp. As has been outlined elsewhere, there will be only one padded practice per day. Including walkthroughs, players cannot be on the field more than four hours per day. During the regular season, there can be just 14 padded practices for the entirety of the season, 11 of those sessions must be held in the first 11 weeks, and teams can hold no more than two padded practices per week. One padded practice per week is allowed during the playoffs, and all padded practices are limited to three hours max. Also, a bye week must include at least four consecutive days off, including Saturday.
Now what does this mean for the Bears. Well, camp and season practices should pretty much stay the same. But what about teams accustomed to more stringent schedules (I'm thinking of guys like Bill Belichick) and stricter rules. How will they adjust? Will this give the Bear any type of edge over teams who now have to rethink their training camp philosophy? Probably not. But maybe. Your thoughts?