The purpose and structure of training camps has dramatically changed last 5-10 years

Some of us old timers remember the days of training camp at Thousand Oaks, Ca. Remember “The Landry Mile” conditioning run? Many will also remember those two a days in pads in Austin at St. Ed’s in the 100 degree heat under Jimmy. Or the scorchers in Wichita Falls too.

Most of us will remember training camp and preseason games as legit ways to see how well the team is prepared to start the season, what kind of talent we have etc. etc. Times have changed.

Because the modern TC purpose of conditioning, getting used to pads and game conditions as they used to be are long gone. Because of the latest NFL collective bargaining agreement, TC only allows so many padded practices, there’s no hitting the QBs, and pass rushing is very limited. The old blocking sleds are almost obsolete. And when the Cowboys start the preseason game in Denver next weekend, the team will have only had 7 padded practices. Again, times have changed.

These players stay in shape year round for everything except the contact so the way these camps are done is so different than what most of us grew up on.

For that reason, I put very little stock in these practice videos showing 1 on 1 matchups. For one, there is no real pass rush on the QB. Secondly, we don’t always know what they are working on. Sometimes they are actually working on learning new pass routes, blocking schemes, etc. and may not even be attempting any serious pass coverage.

Mike McCarthy made this point at a presser once last year. Someone asked him if he was concerned about DBs getting beat and he said something to the effect of – “Sometimes we are working on things offensively and the defensive coverage isn’t the focus.”

So as we watch videos and practice clips coming out of Oxnard, don’t get too high or too low on anyone. Things aren’t always as they appear in modern NFL training camps. We can get some hints but TC ain’t what it used to be.

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