Since the NFL Lockout continues to drag on, we've been sort of frozen in time in the NFL calendar. The calendar unfroze for the 2011 NFL Draft and we even had one day of action when the lockout was temporarily stayed. However, with the 8th Circuit's decision to allow the lockout to continue pending their own decision, we're back to being frozen in time. This freeze means normal offseason occurrences are not happening. We have had no free agent signings. We've had no player trades. We've had no draft picks sign their rookie contracts (which might not have happened anyway). And of course we've had no minicamps or normal offseason training activities.
So what does that leave us with? Well, if you're Ray Lewis it means crime will soon be rising. Ray was referring to fans in the fall if football doesn't start on time. However, I'd say the odds would be higher for player's to start getting into some mischief. However, the players are doing what they can as most teams have started to organize player-led workouts. The Saints have seemingly led the way with most of their team in attendance, but even our Bay Area teams have gotten something going.
The Oakland Raiders reportedly had 34 players in attendance at a recent workout. The Raiders have a new coach in place, but Hue Jackson was previously the offensive coordinator so things actually might not be changing nearly as much as one might expect. The Raiders will have a lot of question marks when free agency actually gets going but for now players seemed psyched about how the workouts have gone.
The 49ers have been conducting workouts of their own on the other side of the Bay, although their participation hasn't quite reached the level of the Raiders or other teams. The good news for 49ers fans is that more players seem to be getting involved. The latest news is that Michael Crabtree has returned to the Bay Area from his Texas home and will be joining workouts soon.
The 49ers are also breaking in a new head coach, but their situation is arguably more difficult than the Raiders. The 49ers new coach, Jim Harbaugh, is bringing in a new offensive playbook that implements a form of the West Coast offense that will be a change from the Jimmy Raye/Mike Johnson offense of recent years. While long term that is a good thing, in the short term the players will need to learn this new offense on their own. Should make for some interesting workouts.
Until the NFL Lockout ends, we'll be using this stream to keep you up to date on the happenings for the Raiders and 49ers. Thanks to the power of Twitter, it's a lot easier to know what the players are doing on a regular basis. Whether they're heading back to school to work on some credits towards their degree, indulging in their non-football passions, or just having a fun night out at an NBA playoff game, we'll be here with updates. It's not quite what we were hoping for in the offseason, but it could be all the more entertaining to peek in on player lives. Make sure and check back throughout the offseason until the NFL Lockout is finally lifted.