Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting in shape

Albert Haynesworth is in hot water again after failing the Redskins fitness test. Like many in the league, the Redskins administer a general fitness test usually in the form of a shuttle drill, with a prescribed time to complete the test, a timed rest period given in between, followed by a repetition of the test. After completing his first run Haynesworth headed off to the bathroom. When he returned he was told that time had expired. Many however are questioning the true validity of it. Haynesworth is, by all accounts, in the best shape of his career. He will repeat the test on Friday and pretty much everyone seems confident that he will pass it with flying colors. Could this be Shanahan stamping his authority on the situation? Who knows. Another vet going through his paces is Flozell Adams, who joins Steelers on a two year deal. It remains to be seen whether Adams will start on the right side or if Max Starks will be shunted over there to make room for Adams at the left tackle spot. Finally someone has taken the shot on him though and I'm quietly confident that Adams will help the Steelers keep Byron Leftwich upright. Which of course is a certain recipe for me to end up eating my own hat by December. Chester Pitts rounds off the veterans-in-new-homes list so far this year, having signed a one year deal with Seattle. Pitts will replace Rob Sims who was traded to Detroit. Now, Sam Bradford has missed the start of the Rams training camp. Bradford is yet to sign a deal and so is not permitted to train with the team. Sources close to the situation have been telling various news outlets that a deal is close to being done and that Bradford should be wrapped up in time for the start of full team workouts on Saturday. Meanwhile, rookies everywhere have been putting pen to paper on various deals. Tim Tebow has signed a five year deal with the Broncos, that could earn him up to $33 million providing he meets certain incentives criteria, which I've heard would require Tebow to basically play like Peyton Manning for the next five seasons. Rolando McClain & Sean Weatherspoon are the other notable first round signees of late. There is one man who is very unlikely to end up in training camp however. Well actually there are three and they all play for the Chargers. Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson were pretty much guaranteed hold outs already, but now it appears Shawne Merriman can be added to the list. Merriman has claimed that it's not about the money and it's not about getting a long term deal done. Rather, he told the San Diego Union Tribune: "I'm only coming back to be the guy on the defense. I'm not coming back to be a guy. I want to be on a team where someone is going to be building a defense around me." So, simple demands then! Merriman also talked about a fear of being traded and wanting some security, presumably that which comes from having a defense built around you. And you can kind of, in a very loose way, see where he's coming from. The Chargers aren't exactly known for their dominating pass rush skills when Merriman isn't on the field. But to have an entire defense built around you? That's quite the ask. And what happens when you get injured? How does a defense built around one man function without that one man? For his age (26) and his price ($3.26 million tender) Merriman is pretty good value. The question is how his personality fits with the rest of your team. I think if I was in the hot seat at Chargers, I'd be quietly calling people up and looking to do a deal somewhere. Right, now all that's done, starting tomorrow I'm going to be whizzing around the training camps of the NFL. Not literally, obviously. Instead I'm gonna go through each division in turn starting with the NFC North and working clockwise, to take a closer look at what each team might be focusing on during the course of their preparations. Till then.... Have a great day everyone.

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