Fleming: NFL training camps need go

ENGLEWOOD, CO - AUGUST 05: An array of equipment is at the ready during training camp at Dove Valley on August 5, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

ESPN.com’s David Fleming wrote an interesting piece recently, outlining 12 reasons why NFL training camps should go.

Here are a couple of his points:

1. The Colts are the winningest team during the past decade, right? After all that preparation in camp, they’ve had one winning preseason in the past seven years.

2. Inside their enormous, spotless weight room on the first floor of Reliant Stadium last summer the Houston Texans used a giant board to keep track of every single offseason workout by every single member of the team. By the time the season started the board was completely filled. That would be 100 percent participation. Remarkable. Here’s how that translated onto the field: The Texans started 2-3 and missed the playoffs for the eighth year in a row.

3. I’m sorry to break this to you, but in pro sports, chemistry is a myth. If you could build chemistry through suffering then the Raiders would be the tightest group in the history of the NFL. Winning builds chemistry, not the other way around.

4. At 40, Brett Favre skipped training camp altogether and he ended up having his best season ever, throwing for 4,202 yards and 33 TDs (against just seven picks) with a completion percentage of 68.4 and a passer rating of 107.2.

You can read the rest of Fleming’s 12 reasons here.

Fleming brings up several valid points, although I’ll point out that teams need training camp to install new schemes and get rookies up to speed as much as possible before the season starts. Many teams start slow over the first couple weeks of the season because players are still trying to get into the swing of things. So could you imagine how long it would take for players to be at full go without training camp? We wouldn’t see good football for eight weeks.

That said, Fleming’s point about the amount of time players spend in training camp and how it translates to wins and losses is just. In the end, talent and execution will always win out – not how many practice sessions Player X got under his belt in August. It would be nice if teams and fans didn’t have to hold their breath hoping that no starter gets injured during camp, too.

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NFL Training Camp Notes: Russell reports out of shape

Oakland Raiders:
– Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell admitted that he reported to camp “a little heavy.” Hey JaMarcus, I know Jeff Garcia doesn’t look like much but he’s gunning for your job and I highly doubt he reported to camp “a little heavy.”

– The Raiders agreed to terms with rookie first round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey on a five-year contract. Now he can get busy on trying to make Al Davis look good for taking him instead of Michael Crabtree with the seventh overall pick in April’s draft.

Michael Vick:
– Free agent Michael Vick told the AP that he is getting close to deciding on a team to sign with. It’s unclear at this point if Vick meant an NFL team, or a flag football team in the Newport News, Virginia area.

New York Jets:
– Running back Thomas Jones reported to training camp on time despite skipping voluntary OTA sessions this spring. While this certainly doesn’t mean Jones is happy about his situation in New York, it appears that he’ll be in a Jets uniform this season and will be one leg of a tripod that also includes Leon Washington and Shonn Greene.

– Speaking of Washington, the New York Daily News confirms that the Jets are close to finalizing a contract extension with the running back.

New England Patriots:
– As expected, Tom Brady participated in the Pats’ first training camp practice on Thursday and will avoid going on the PUP list at the start of the season. He did practice with a brace on his left knee, but he’ll more than likely will be sporting that for the rest of his career.

Kansas City Chiefs:
– Larry Johnson is apparently thrilled to be staying in Kansas City and will report to training camp on time Friday. Maybe Johnson and the Chiefs can burry the hatchet in training camp and have a successful marriage this season.

Baltimore Ravens:
– The Black Birds signed rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher to a five-year, $13.795 million contract with $7.8 million in guarantees. Oher was a steal at No. 23, but he’ll need to work on his run blocking skills at the next level.

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