Saturday, August 28, 2010

Things I Do Not Understand...

Today Anwar Richardson has published an article about Stylez G White and his practice habits. Let's just say its NOT a glowing report.

"Stylez is my Allen Iverson, and he's not going to change," Morris said. "He's gotten better. He's gotten better the last couple of days and practiced (better) throughout training camp than he has in the past, but he is Allen Iverson."

Morris gave White that label last season because of his practice habits.

White, 31, has been known to pace himself during practices, to the frustration of his coaches. While they have worked hard to push his buttons, White does not always leave everything out on the practice field.

In fact, ESPN reporter Pat Yasinkas recently labeled White the "Biggest Disappointment" of Tampa Bay's training camp because of his practice habits and his lack of leadership skills.

"It's never acceptable, and he's gotten better, but like I tell him every day, we're going to tolerate him until we can replace him," Morris said.

"We have to challenge him at times because he sometimes cruises a little bit," Wash said. "At the same time, to put me at ease as a position coach, and obviously for him, it is important to put it on tape.

I myself took some shots at Stylez earlier this week about his performance in the preseason up to this point so you might be expecting for me to unload on him at this point. Well....not so much. I can't cosign a guy "cruising" in practice and I think his response of "its all overblown" was probably the wrong approach but both Coach Morris and his position coach Todd Wash acknowledge at different points in the article that his practice habits have gotten better. To my mind that means he is listening to the criticisms and taking them to heart, even if he still isn't perfect.

But there is SOMETHING that bothered me about the article and that's this.
Although he coasts sometimes, coaches are optimistic he is becoming a player who plays consistently in practice and will against opponents on Sunday.

No, that's not another quote about Stylez. Instead its a quote about the guy who starts opposite him at left end, Kyle Moore. When I read the article where that Moore quote came from awhile back I did a post on it because I was perplexed about how a guy could "coast" during practice. You see I only had two NFL position coaches for any length of time. One was Rod Marinelli, the other was Reuben Carter for my one year with the Jets. Now there were a lot of differences in the two men but they definitely had one thing in common. They were going to make sure you worked your ass off...or else.

So now it would seem that both of our starting defensive ends take it easy in practice from time to time. I truly don't understand how that could even happen in the NFL. Oh I can understand guy's not wanting to give it their all some of the time. Hell I'll be honest and admit there were days when my body was so sore and tired that I just wasn't in the mood. But I wasn't given the choice of dogging it or not. It never even occurred to me that I could possibly half ass it.


Because before I could get back to the huddle after loafing on a play, any play, either of the coaches I had would have jumped all the way down my throat and embarrassed the hell out of me and or threatened my employment status.


There's a slight chance I'm making too much out of this but I really don't think so at this point. One guy maybe I could let slide, but two guys (that we know of) is a pattern. At some point some kind of discipline or intimidation or embarrassment or just SOMETHING has to come down from the position coach whereby guys understand that loafing or cruising or coasting or whatever the hell it is you want to call it today is just not acceptable. I'm not talking about pushing buttons AFTER they loaf either. I'm talking about setting the standard before they ever touch the practice field so they know that anything less and there will be consequences.

You might recall that I noted that in the one training camp practice I went to the one thing I thought was sorely lacking was tempo, specifically from the defensive line group. Well now it appears that might not have been just an off day.

Here are some things I can still remember Coach Marinelli telling our group that maybe needs repeating to these young guys.

1. Learn to love to be miserable: Nobody cares if you're hurt and tired. Hell its football, you're SUPPOSED to be hurt and tired. But you are still expected to go out and bust your ass in practice. Whether you like it, or don't like it, that's just the deal.

2. Its better to be tired and low, than fresh and high: A lot of guys try to half ass it in practice so they can "save their legs" for the game. But so much that we do as defensive linemen has to do with staying low and having great leverage. Its almost a given that when a guy doesn't work hard in practice he starts standing straight up when he comes off the ball because he isn't used to forcing himself to stay low and do the dirty work. That kind of thing hurts. And those kinds of guys don't want that.

The effect is you get to Sunday and then you get pushed all over the field because as the old saying goes, low man wins. But the guy who works his ass off at practice, and fights like hell every play no matter how they feel, go into the game prepared. Oh maybe they aren't quite as fresh, but their technique and pad level still give them the advantage. And those kinds of guys end up being winners. Those other guys? ...

3. You can't practice soft and play hard: That is as real as it gets. Oh you may make plays but you will never be consistent. And at the end of the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, and your team counting on you to make the play, most of the time you won't be able to answer the bell because you haven't put in the time during the week. The NFL wasteland is littered with guys who had all the talent in the world but no work ethic. But just a little bit a talent with a lot of heart will take you a lot further in the game.

I know some of this sounds pretty common senseish, and maybe it is, but I'm starting to wonder. One half of our starting defensive line supposedly takes it easy in practice from time to time. It's hard for me to take anything for granted at this point.


  1. Stylez needs to step it up, no doubt. But c'mon, if he's acheived the ability to slack at this point, what does it say about our DEs? Give us some sacks tonight Mr. Iverson.

  2. When I captained commercial longliners one slacker could kill the whole crew literally.