What NFL Teams Get From Training Camp


Training camps aren’t as nearly as grueling as they were a few years ago, which were a badge of courage for those that endured the two-a-days that seemed to go on forever.

The same collective bargaining agreement that has given NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell so much power in the Tom Brady case and all the other player-related situations, also ushered in an era of less practice time throughout the offseason and during training camp, but the same goals have to be accomplished and that is defining the best 53 man roster.

For defined starters, training camp is still just a mini-marathon of which a healthy survival and building to adequate cardiovascular conditioning for the regular season is the ultimate goal.  But for the bottom 37 (give or take depending on each team’s situation), they are not only trying to get through the slog healthy, but needing to make a move up the roster in some way or another; some solidifying a spot they had been expected to take, others trying for one of those last spots on the roster that come down to special teams play more often than not.

It is these last few roster spots that coaches go sleepless over, as they can be the difference between championships and just missing the playoffs.  These spots go mostly unnoticed by fans because all eyes are on the stars, but the depth of the roster is tested for every team over the course of the long 16-game regular season and for those teams that do the best job, even longer.

With significantly less practices to evaluate, the job of coaches becomes even more difficult in which to differentiate players.  The preseason games are always the best measuring stick, just as game film for high school players is always the best guide for college recruiters.  With that said, seeing players grind through double-days and watching more repetitions of defensive backs and receivers is of great value to coaches and management looking for consensus on players abilities and value to their team is of great value.  Players that like to spend more time away from the facility on things other than football related can now cover their escapades a bit more easily when the physical demand is not quite as great.  These players are probably rooted out most of the time, but the risk of a distracted player making it on the roster does slightly increase, which will most likely have a negative impact on the team and cause players, coaches and management to have to deal with the issue at some point of the season.

HBO’s Hard Knocks has long been my favorite show on TV, because it brings back so many memories of some of the great times and great struggles of my life.  Training camp is not a time for the weak-minded or weak-bodied and it spits out those that are deficient in either.  We are nearing the end of the process once again and as cuts loom soon, will be finding out just who some of those players are.

About Jeff Carlson

Jeff Carlson

Former NFL quarterback, training youth QB's in Tampa, Florida. Football Analyst for Bright House Sports Network and Football Insiders.