September 2, 2014

Are You Ready for Some (Bad) Football?

The NFLPA unanimously approved the new collective bargaining agreement yesterday, restoring the NFL in time for the regular season. But let’s be honest. It’s unrealistic to expect the same quality of football anytime soon.

After a lockout that exceeded 130 days, the Bengals practices could be ugly for a while.

Players have been locked out of team facilities for more than 130 days. They have been working out on their own, away from the eyes and screams of their strength and conditioning coaches. Rookies have yet to make contact with their coaches outside of the handshake and hat draft circuit. And in case you forgot, the Bengals don’t have their franchise quarterback. And there’s a new offensive coordinator along with a new offense.

Yikes.

So in this accelerated football season, expect a whole heap of growing pains. Hamstring pulls. Failed conditioning tests. Wrong routes. Missed assignments. Footballs hitting the ground.

If Andy Dalton can somehow get comfortable in this offense during this preseason chaos, it will say a lot about his future in Cincinnati. But I’m not sure anyone will be comfortable anytime soon.

Everyone is about to experience the equivalent of a college all-nighter, a cram session for the regular season.

Yes, football is back, but it’s not going to be the good kind.

At least for a while.