Congratulations, NFL fans. The long wait while rich men argued over how to split up the money we’ll give them is ending. It was sort of like watching CSPAN. Only just slightly more interesting.
The free-for-all that is about it ensue is going to be fun, isn’t it? The Bengals will have plenty to do in that time, most of which has we have catalogued throughout the lockout. Godspeed, Bengals front office. The fate of the team rests in your hands. *gulp*
The going theory — at least at the moment — is that players will be able to enter team facilities again on Wednesday. The first pre-season game is in Detroit on August 12. Grab your calendar and do the math. That gives Jay Gruden just 17 days to install an entirely new offense to a group of 40 or so men he either has not met yet or are FAs/CFAs that are not even signed to the team right now. 17 days.
Now that is a job I do not envy. Fortunately Jay has experience in crash-course teaching from his days in the UFL. And he is going to need every trick he knows, considering it took Jerome Simpson 3 years to learn Bratkowski’s playbook.
There is a bit of blessing in a curse like this. Guys who don’t get it won’t last long. They can’t. Neither will the guys who don’t want to put in a ton of work in those 17 days. (Yes, Andre, I’m looking at you.) And carving a team out of guys who can learn and who will busts their tails ain’t a bad thing.