The offseason can get a bit boring. When writers are left to our own devices and attempting to meet the need for good content, even the best can occasionally fall victim to the cringe worthy trope. Given Chuck Pagano’s tendency toward cliché and coachspeak it is an almost certainty that you will begin to see some of these beauties make their way into a story or two. I am here to do my best to prepare you for that day because as a great man once said, “knowing is half the battle.”
“Player X has lost/gained weight this offseason, and so they will be vastly improved.” This is called the Eddie Lacy rule tentatively, but it crops up all around the league this time of year. Guys who were viewed as too heavy last season have lost weight, guys who got knocked around too much have put it on. Generally, this is used to describe a guy who underperformed and is attempting to attribute it to their weight in some way.
“Player X’s knee is fully healed and looks even faster/more explosive than before.” Most commonly uttered about guys who have suffered an ACL tear or something similar, but can really be substituted for any injury. Since we won’t see much of Andrew Luck he might avoid this one, but expect to hear it around the league with regularity. You should definitely take them at face value here because everyone knows that injuries typically result in you getting stronger. For evidence of this watch the movie Rookie of the Year.
“The game is really starting to slow down for Player X.” Again, said about any player who seemed lost at times during the previous season. T.J. Green will undoubtedly have this said about him, if only because he will necessarily be getting more reps at safety. At no point should you believe a coach who says this, as there is almost always an unspoken “I hope” that precedes it.
“I feel the best I have ever felt.” The player that says this is usually a seasoned veteran who suffered a lingering injury or less than ideal production last season. They are just practicing because they hope to try to break into the movie industry. If true, research should be done to determine how players who are hit for a living seem to feel better and better with the passage of time. Frank Gore will very likely utter those words, and at no point should you believe him.
“Player X worked with Guru X and has seen incredible results.” I feel like I am unfairly picking on Eddie Lacy here, but this is definitely right up his alley. In the division, Blake Bortles is another fine example of someone already generating this one. His throwing motion was dreadful last season. Just watching it might actually have further agitated Luck’s existing shoulder injury. Thankfully, said guru worked with him over the summer and now he will probably win MVP because that is all it takes to stop being terrible at football.
“Rookie Player X is really ahead of schedule.” False. They aren’t. And if they are, you don’t have access to the schedule. Maybe the coach was really only hoping they would show up knowing how to tie their shoes. Tarell Basham has this one written all over him. Doesn’t mean he isn’t good, but let’s pump the brakes during training camp.
“Team X is using cutting-edge techniques to help prevent injury.” This one always works out wonderfully. Usually, it involves a trainer putting the team on an intense program involving daily meditation to the soothing tones of Enya, hot yoga, 64oz a day of Kombucha, and watching “Dances With Wolves” on repeat. I’m all for innovation, but if you want to tell Johnathan Hankins he is switching to kale shakes for lunch I’ll be way over here.